I absolutely loved "The 5th Wave", so much so that I happily reread it before diving into "The Infinite Sea" since there had been some time that had pI absolutely loved "The 5th Wave", so much so that I happily reread it before diving into "The Infinite Sea" since there had been some time that had passed between the two and I needed a reminder. I wasn't disappointed - T5W was as brilliant the second read-through as I'd remembered. And while I stayed up all night to read "The Infinite Sea", it fell far short of the first book in the series.
The main problem I had with TIS wasn't that the focus shifted from Cassie and Evan or Zombie and Ringer or that really, not a lot happens, it was more the dual issues of Convoluted Plot and Cerebral Bad Guy Syndrome. Once Ringer is in the hands of the evil Commander Vosch, things began to go upended. I lost count of how many conversations the two had that basically retread the concept of Vosch saying "Guess why we're doing all of this to you?" with Ringer responding "Rage? Fear? Hatred?" and Vosch returning with "Nope, guess again." I wanted to scream - just tell us al-freakin-ready! Enough with the stupid mind games. I felt like we were getting an indefinite Bad Guy Monologue where he explains his Evil Plot, only he never does explain it to any degree of making sense.
And once I did manage to sort of suss out what the heck Vosch was up to - and to be honest, I still don't quite get it - the whole alien plot became hopelessly convoluted. Already we'd had twists and turns enough to have me wondering who was good or bad or who was trying to kill whom. Now none of it makes any sense. I can only hope that Book 3 untangles all of the knots and basically undoes what TIS did, which was render T5W basically meaningless. One of the beauties of that first book was how simple the whole concept was - aliens come to our planet and plan to eradicate all humans so that they can take it over. No need for long winded, complicated motivations.
Add in all of the internal angsting of Ringer and I got pretty tired of the existential navel gazing pretty quickly. While the book seemed short, it could have been cut in half if we didn't get so many pages of "what is a human/humanity and is a human without humanity still a human or an inhuman alien and is an alien with humanity really actually a human and which is preferable" etc.
My other big issue with this book is the fact that so many of the main characters suffer catastrophic injuries that would make it impossible for them to survive. They all rage with out of control fevers and broken bones and gunshot wounds and extensive blood loss that, given the lack of antibiotics and medical care, would end them pretty quickly. There are obstacles and there are laugh-out-loud impossibilities.
For the good: I did like the Ringer/Razor relationship, and I thought the action sequences were very well written. Yancey isn't afraid to go very, very dark (suicide toddlers). I'm really holding out hope that the last book in the trilogy is like a light being turned on so that TIS becomes retroactively understandable....more