Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Title: The Infinite Sea
Author: Rick Yancey
Narrator(s): Phoebe Strole, Ben Yannette
Series: The 5th Wave, book #2
Length: 8 hrs 13 mins
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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The hugely anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave.

For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse.

No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors—the Others—will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore—and others will face the ultimate test.

Readers will watch in awe as the Others give their answer to Cassie’s defiance.

Mild spoilers for the first book in the series, but no spoilers for this installment.

Considering how much I tend to love anything of the science fiction persuasion, I don't actually read all that much that fits in this category. I freely admit that it took quite a bit of coaxing to get me to even give The 5th Wave a chance last year. Once I did, though, I understood why so many were lauding it as one of the best books of the year. The sequel is no less amazing. In actuality, I might even consider The Infinite Sea to be even more brilliant and compelling than its predecessor.

We know the stakes. We know who we're fighting against. And we know who our allies are. Until we don't. Things are different in this second installment. It picks up where The 5th Wave left off, with the surviving kids holed up in a hotel, trying to figure out their next plan of action, waiting for Evan -- assuming he survived, and trying to come to terms with how these alien invaders infiltrated the human race and turned us against each other. And most of the book is narrated by Ringer.

Sure, Cassie still throws her two cents in every once in awhile, but this sequel really focuses on Ringer and her struggle. I wasn't really a fan of Ringer's in the first book, and that hadn't really changed at the beginning of this one. But I think that's the beauty of adding an additional narrator, along with expanding upon older characters (Poundcake!) and introducing a few new characters (Razor!). Where I wasn't able to connect with Ringer before, I was inexplicably drawn to her character in this book the more I experienced from her perspective. She isn't a nice person but she is a practical one, and witnessing her battle her own humanity -- versus doing what needed to be done -- did lead to seeing her character in a new light.

The new characters and perspectives had me so fully engaged in the story that I was repeatedly caught unawares by the direction of the story. I knew what was happening with Evan in the first book. I even suspected the deception employed at the base and what role Vosch played in it. This book, however, was anything but predictable. I barely had a moment to catch my breath before we were racing off after another unfortunate truth, something else so horrible it had heretofore been beyond the scope of possibility.

It probably helped that Phoebe Strole continues to be absolutely enthralling as the female narrator in this series. She portrayed Cassie as the hopeful survivor in the first book and does so here in this novel, too, but she also portrays the sharp-tongued Ringer and manages to make both characters sound unique while doing so. Ben Yanette was not the original narrator in The 5th Wave, but without listening to the two audiobooks side-by-side, I don't know that I would have actually noticed much difference. I think that listening to the audiobook definitely helps separate the characters' voices, especially with so many perspectives spread throughout the novel, and both narrators do a splendid job of giving each character their own voice. The audio helps make each voice more distinct than they might otherwise appear in the text, notably with the numerous allusions made by the characters to the infinite sea and the philosophizing that runs rampant whenever they do mention it.

This series is so different from all of the other YA sci-fi books I've tackled. It's brutal, ruthless in its exploration of human nature, and it strives to get to the nitty-gritty of what makes us human...and what it would take for us to lose our humanity. The author endeavors to explore not only the physiological affects of the alien infiltration on the survivors -- and the aliens -- but also the psychological toll it's taken on them all. Assimilation? Annihilation? What is the aliens' endgame? And will the survivors live to see it to fruition? I love that I have absolutely no idea, especially not with the curveball thrown at the end of this book. I only wish I had the next installment on hand so I could satisfy my curiosity.

GIF it to me straight:
Yes! Yes! YESSSSSS!!!!

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)

About the author:

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.

Find Rick:

WebsiteBlog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. I absolutely loved this one; so much so that it's difficult not to raise my expectations for The Infinite Sea. I'm not a huge Sci-fi reader, but I also that this was wonderfully done.

    Great review, Jen.

  2. I'm reading this one right now, and now I'm wondering if I should do it on audio instead, it sounds like Phoebe does an excellent job. I'm impressed that new characters and POV's worked for you and that the plot managed to surprise you. Can't wait to get back to it tonight! Lovely review :-)


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