The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Title: The Infinite Sea
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave, #2

Cassie Sullivan has succeeded where no other human has: she outsmarted the Others and rescued her brother from Camp Haven. But no place is safe and though Cassie clings to the hope that Evan Walker survived the attack on the camp, none of her comrades are so sure. Knowing it is only a matter of time before Commander Vosch finds them, Ringer sets out to make contact with other survivors. But there are still unanswered questions surrounding the Others’ ultimate plan and when Ringer plays right into their hands, she’ll discover just how malevolent these beings are and uncover a secret that will change everything.

“‘He conquers who endures.’ Remember poor Teacup’s rats. What can they teach us? I told you when you first came to me; it isn’t so much about crushing your capacity to fight as it is your will to fight.”

Cassie and Ringer were two really great characters in the first book. I hate girl-on-girl hate, so I was disappointed to see these two butt heads the way they did. Although the beginning of the book would lead you to believe these two girls are far too different to ever see eye-to-eye, in the end Yancey draws a lot of parallels between the two so I’m hoping we get to see them become friends.

We find out a little more about Evan’s past–sure he can be frustrating because you want to know more about who he is but he’s so unwilling to reveal everything, but then in Cassie’s words he’s “gah.” Zombie is holding on by a thread and though everyone is looking to him to lead, he is just as lost as they are and I’m more than a little concerned for his well-being. A lot of the story is told from Ringer’s perspective as she sets out on her own. We get a look at this girl who can at times be distant and impenetrable. She’s a no nonsense kind of person who can be more perceptive than other characters, but she isn’t a perfect, she makes horrible mistakes and has a hard time accepting the value of certain relationships.

The 5th Wave series focuses on the idea that in this world survival isn’t a goal, it’s a daily struggle and at every turn there is a new danger. In The Infinite Sea the battles these characters have been through have taken their tole physically and now we begin to see the mental wear as well. No one has all the answers and distrust is hard to overcome. I’m a little confused about how the truths revealed in this book will play into the overall story, how it will affect the characters, and whether it’s a necessary development. In the end I couldn’t decide if the story had truly moved forward.

Anyone who read my review of The 5th Wave knows how much I am in love with that book, but I was a little disappointed with this sequel. Rick Yancey’s The Infinite Sea is considerably shorter than it’s predecessor. We jump right into the action and where The 5th Wave was excellent in its build-up, I didn’t feel that same kind of care was given to the story and all the characters in this book. Still, I might have shouted once or twice at the author and characters, “You can’t do that!” So I’m still very much emotionally invested.

Rating 4/5

★★★★

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave, #1

When the Others arrived, humanity was utterly unprepared. It was pathetic to think the human race ever stood a chance against a smarter, stronger, and far superior race. The 1st Wave left us in darkness, the 2nd caused a natural disaster that wiped out millions, the 3rd infected and killed nearly everyone else. Now only a mere remnant of humanity is left.

Cassie Sullivan watched both her parents die and the only family she has left, her little brother Sammy, has been taken away by a convey of soldiers who’ve promised to protect him and the other children who have survived. When the 4th Wave begins, Cassie finds herself all alone and hunted by Silencers. The Silencers are smart, they’re merciless, and they look just like us. The 4th Wave has isolated Cassie from any other survivors and all she can do is run. But Cassie cannot outrun the Silencer who is hunting her and just when she believes death is imminent, the stranger Evan Walker saves her. Cassie can’t trust anyone, even Evan, but she might have to in order to find her brother. What she doesn’t realize is the 5th Wave will be even more merciless than the ones before it.

“Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm. That’s about as far from the truth as their dying planet was from our living one.

The truth is, once they found us, we were toast.”

Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is one of those books that is just as good the second time around. The second book in this series, The Infinite Sea, is being released today, so I wanted to revisit this first book. Our protagonist, Cassie, is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever come across. She’s this fearless, determined girl who will do anything to keep the promise she made to her little brother. She’s lost everything and still she pushes forward despite those moments of doubt and hopelessness.

I love Evan Walker. My heart swells at the thought of this lost, puppy-dog eyed boy. Whatever humanity Evan might have lost during this war with the Others, he gains back through his relationship with Cassie. He clings to her because he knows she is his last refuge, his anchor, and his mayfly. Ben Parish is another character I was immediately drawn to. He’s this charming, reluctant leader who is haunted by a horrible choice he made when the world was falling apart, but grows as a character and proves to be a better person when given another chance. I’m also a huge fan of Ringer, who we aren’t introduced to until later in the book. If I’m ever in a fight for my life, I want this girl on my team.

Every character in The 5th Wave is desperate to hang on to their sanity and their humanity in a world that tells them that being human is a liability. Life has become one of survival, you do what you have to do, you show no mercy. But at every turn it isn’t this ruthlessness that shines through, it’s a person’s humanity. It’s the human race’s capacity to love and sacrifice, to know that there is something worth dying for that separates it from the alien race bent on destroying it. The enemy is smart, ferocious, and inescapable. I’m not sure if humanity will ever win this fight, but I am eager to find out what happens next.

The 5th Wave is a smart, action-packed, emotionally moving read. It balances story and character remarkably well and I literally have nothing bad to say about it. This is the second time I’ve read this book and I found it to be even more thrilling and heart-pounding than the first time.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Title: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated, #1

Even after two years of making contact with the L’eihrs, an alien race similar in appearance to humans, the foreign creatures are still a mystery. And for Cara Sweeney, prospective journalist, mysteries are meant to be solved. When she is offered the opportunity to participate in the L’eihr Exchange Ambassador Program, the chance to expand her blog reach and the scholarship money are hard to resist. What Cara doesn’t anticipate is the strain this arrangement puts on her relationships and the public animosity toward Aelyx, the L’eihr student ambassador, and herself. As Aelyx and Cara grow closer, social pressure begins to mount and the secret Aelyx has been keeping threatens everyone.

“While she took his first pawn, she worked up the nerve to ask a question, something she’d been dying to know for years. The problem was how to phrase it in a way that didn’t sound insulting. Clearing her throat, she leaned toward him and looked directly into his cold, steely eyes. ‘If I ask you something, will you tell me the truth?'”

As a character Cara is driven and quirky, she has a can-do attitude and isn’t afraid to shout what she believes. I found myself shouting my own support for her throughout the book. Aelyx, though a little rigid at first, eventually finds his own humanity while living among humans. I’m going to be a little nitpicky and say that it would have been nice for Aelyx to develop another meaningful relationship with someone other than Cara, because I felt that his character needed a little more depth.

And can I just say how much I love Cara’s parents? They don’t get a lot of page time, but it’s nice to read a young adult novel where the parents are actually present. Melissa Lander’s book could have done with a little more detail about Cara’s mother’s medical struggles which might have had me a little more emotionally invested in the story. I was most intrigued by Alienated whenever Aelyx described the dynamics of this home planet L’eihr, where an emphasis is placed on the people as a whole instead of individual needs.

If you’re looking for a book with a lot of depth then this one isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you want a fun and easy read, I’d say dive right in. Alienated can be sweet at times, funny, and make you root for humanity when in other books, you might just condemn it.

Rating: 3/5

★★★

Hover by Melissa West

Hover by Melissa West

Title: Hover
Author: Melissa West
Series: The Taking, #2

Hover is the second book in Melissa West’s The Taking series. Ari, our intrepid heroine, finds herself on the planet Loge after the aftermath of humankind’s failed attack on the Ancients, an extraterrestrial race bent on inhabiting Earth.

“I’m left alone before the wall, no choice but to push aside doubts and trust…there is no time for second-guessing…no time for fear. There is no time for anything but action.”

I had really low expectations for GravityWest’s first novel in the series, so was so very surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. Based on this I came into Hover with high expectations and ended up extremely disappointed. Thanks to a number of editing issues, Hover seems more like an amateur’s venture into writing than a serious literary attempt.

At times it feels like Melissa West’s characters have been hijacked and made to dance to a song not meant for them. The first-person narrative works against the story because it simply enhances the strong disconnect between the characters and the reader. Most characters are presented as two-dimensional which isn’t surprising considering how much time is spent defining them.

I had a big problem with the antagonist Zeus. Reading the first book, I expected more from him. I pictured a diabolical genius who manufactured dreams and whose foresight made it incredibly easy for him to manipulate others. This wasn’t the case in Hover and I found myself thinking how hard it is to be intimidated by a thinly drawn persona.

Why was I so let down? Could it be that I gave the author’s first novel too much credit? Or does this book completely fail to live up to the former’s potential?

Overall, Hover felt like a sluggish second go in the series and I have serious doubts about checking out the next one.

Rating: 1/5