January 19, 2015

Review: The Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Fifth Wave trilogy. I reviewed the first book here, and you'll notice that in that review I pointed out what I felt was a GIGANTIC plot hole that nearly ruined the book for me. In fact, the entire review is something of a rant; I ended by saying, "I may read the sequel, in the hopes this plot hole is fixed (but I sure won't buy it)."

Well. Now I have read the sequel, and all I can say is: The author is aware of his gigantic plot hole and addresses it, but I'm not sure his kinda-sorta "answer" is any good. In fact, he seems to be falling victim to a syndrome I absolutely hate--stupid plot twists just for the sake of plot twists, when said twists ruin the overall narrative. A recent trilogy by Andrew Fukuda, books I would have otherwise loved, is a prime example of just this sort of plotting idiocy. Complicating Rick Yancey's situation is the fact that the first book is currently being turned into a movie (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, I believe). As a result, The Infinite Sea reflects a sort of straight-to-film mindset that results in a tightly written, breathtakingly paced book (the action sequences were great in the first book, and continue to be here) and some smart characterizations that nevertheless handwave over the previously mentioned plot holes, if not actually deepening them.

To put it bluntly: I hope the author comes to a logical conclusion in the third book to the mess he's creating, because if he doesn't, the entire series won't be worth the powder and lead it would take to blow it to hell. The only reason I rated this book higher than the first is the characters. Cassie Sullivan, hero of The Infinite Sea, takes something of a back seat here, to a cool killer named Ringer who shows some quite unexpected depth. (I also wonder if Ringer will be whitewashed in the movie, as she's specifically depicted here as being a woman of color--Asian and Apache.) Ringer's emotional growth is very well done, with the exception of a weird sex scene. (I realize this is a young-adult book so you can't be that explicit, but let's just say sex scenes are not Rick Yancey's strong suit.) The book ends on a dual cliffhanger, with many unanswered questions left for the third book to resolve.

I guess it's a testament to Rick Yancey's characters and world that I still want to keep on reading, despite my growing reservations. However, how much better would this series have been if he hadn't created such ridiculous plot holes in the first place?

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