Book Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

As this is my first official book review, I figured I would start off each section with a short description of my criteria for ultimate book judgment. But first, quick background:
The Infinite Sea is the second book in The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey. The 5th Wave may sound familiar to you because, oh yea, they made it into a movie.

Plot
I don’t need an obvious plot outline or anything, but there are certain elements a book needs in order to be successful. I suggest taking a look at the following diagram and then inhaling anything written by Larry Brooks. He’s my story structure hero.

Story-Structure-spreadsheet-preview.jpg

I don’t want to ruin The Infinite Sea for you or anything, but it follows this structure beautifully and includes a wonderful and heart wrenching twist at the end that had me fist pumping like I’m from the Jersey Shore. You need to set the stage, give us a taste of the bad guy, introduce the stakes, fight back, struggle, and resolve. Do I mean deliver the story as a perfectly wrapped Christmas present? Not at all. The resolve doesn’t have to tie every little detail together, but it does need to hit the major questions.

For this, I give Yancey 4.5/5 stars, because no one can be perfect.

Character Development
If a character doesn’t change throughout the story, then what’s the point of reading it? We don’t want a character that fights through battles to emerge unscathed. That’s not realistic.

In The Infinite Sea you get a taste of several character’s viewpoints, which is rarely successfully done. This allows the writer to give you, the reader, insight into every character without someone having to say it or be overtly obvious in their actions.

I’ll give Yancey 3.5/5 stars here, because some characters development is a little too wishy washy for my taste. There were a few moments that get rated R for reasons that weren’t very clear and seemed rather out of character for those involved. In another case a certain character was never made out to be sacrificial, but suddenly became so after one insight into their mind. I think more hints at this aspect of his personality would have made the impact of the sacrifice more believable.

Diversity
This is such a big issue within every genre and every type of art. Spend 10 minutes on Twitter reading literary agent tweets and you’ll see tons of talk about promoting diversity in books.

While some of the characters aren’t outright described as being white (think JK Rowling and her recent defense of the black Hermione for the stage play), I would say a majority of the cast is. There are only a few major players (at the moment I can only think of one) who is of a minority.

At the same time, I would greatly caution writers who make a character another race or ethnicity just to achieve the “diversity factor.” People will see right through that (especially people of that race/ethnicity) and you don’t want to come across as fake. Think about the message you want to portray and why you want to portray it through that person. That should help you determine whether you are making a wise decision. I would suggest reading Rick Riordan for some help here. He is the king of diversity in my opinion.

Diversity is not just in color or creed. In this aspect Rick kicks it up a notch. He has both guys and gals as main characters, and he doesn’t force each into their respective gender norms. So taking that into consideration, Yancey gets another 3.5/5.

Overall Score
3.833333333/5, so we’ll make it an even 4/5 (also, if I did the math wrong, sorry not sorry). I enjoyed this second book even better than the first in the series, and I’m stoked for the third and final book to come out (5/24/16).

What did you think of this book?

 

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