Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The Infinite Sea" by Rick Yancey

Though I rarely read YA anymore, I'd enjoyed Yancey's The 5th Wave, a violent alien-invasion dystopian. Like all genre YA these days, The 5th Wave was only the first in a series, so I felt obliged to try The Infinite Sea.

When we finish The 5th Wave, Cassie has rescued her younger brother Sam, who was being trained by the alien invaders (disguised in human bodies) to kill other humans. She was able to execute the rescue only with the help of dreamy Evan Walker, one of the aforementioned alien-invader-in-human-body types who, of course, fell in love with Cassie. When The Infinite Sea begins, Cassie is holed up in a dilapidated motel with Sam and his fellow soldiers: Ben (aka Zombie, aka Cassie's high school crush), Ringer, Dumbo, Teacup, and Poundcake. Cassie's waiting for Evan, and since they're all recent escapees, everyone's pretty tense.

My problems with The Infinite Sea began pretty early. To start, there's not much going on. After a daring escape, they're sitting around, waiting and arguing. And Cassie, who narrates the first section, is just a boring narrator this time around. She's still a bit conflicted about Evan, but all this ground was covered in the last book. Evan's narration (which is thankfully short) is equally annoying. His Edward Cullen attachment to Cassie comes off creepy, not romantic.

The story gets better when Ringer picks up the narration, and fortunately her section is the longest of the novel. There's new characterization to be had here, and she has a little more to do.

Nevertheless, Ringer's narration doesn't make up for a lot of the novel's issues. For one, the outlandish injuries just keep piling on and on. Nearly all the characters are mortally wounded--in multiple places--at some point, yet they all heroically trudge and fight on. One minor character's mortally wounded stand is so absurd that it comes off as comical rather than brave. The hyper-violence even started to bother me; it's gratuitous and occurs toward children as young as six.

Yancey also tries to address some of the criticisms of the first novel, namely the question of why the aliens would bother with a complicated multi-step extermination scheme of humankind when there's easy ways to wipe the whole population out at once. Over and over the characters wonder about this issue (it's as if Yancey's saying, "SEE--I meant for it to make no sense! It was all part of the plot plan!"), but an answer's never given (saved for the third book, I'm sure). The twist "reveal" that does occur at the end of the novel is pretty unexciting.

I was bored through the first half, and though the second half improved, I'm not sure I'm too eager to finish the series.

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