The Infinite Sea, by Rick Yancey. Putnam. 320 pages. Hardcover $18.99.
Gainesville resident Rick Yancey, whose young adult (YA) novels have already won many awards, is truly a phenomenon.
How often is a full-sized hardback title from a major publishing house priced below $20.00? Rarely. Yet here is one from a bestselling author with a first printing of 500,000 copies. A sequel to the extravagantly praised The Fifth Wave, soon to be filming by Sony for January 2016 release, The Infinite Sea continues to explore the essence of humanity and its binding principles. It is an experiment in daring, devastating “what ifs.”
What is the importance of a promise? To the recipient? To the giver? To the social glue that makes civilization possible? Questions like these, many of which have biblical resonance, drive the action of this highly entertaining young adult novel. It is heartwarming to think of excited young readers discussing these issues, given flesh – even enhanced flesh – by the imaginative structure that Mr. Yancey has created.
As someone who has not read The Fifth Wave, I did feel myself at a disadvantage. Too much had transpired in the first book of the trilogy, events that could not be neatly encapsulated in the sequel but on which a full understanding depends. However, even while sensing this limitation, I couldn’t put the book down for long without diving into it gain. It is so compelling and addictive.
The characters we meet are a remnant of the seven billion humans who have perished in the cruel onslaught perpetrated by those known as The Others. Human civilization has collapsed, its values undermined, and its best qualities turned against it. Those who remain are a valiant team of children and young adults – none out of their teens – who hold the key, if there is one, to humanity’s redemption.
Their rat-invested, decaying motel is hardly a stronghold. Someone needs to lead them forward, as stasis is death. While they await the fulfillment of a promise made by Evan Walker, they realize that waiting is not quite enough. A determined young woman nicknamed Ringer takes off not only to find the missing member of their cadre, young Teapot, but also to assess the status of their larger surroundings. The remaining group members, led by Cassie and Ben, strives to forestall further disaster until Ringer can return with Teapot, information, a plan, and perhaps with allies.
What’s missing in The Infinite Sea (that might be clear in its predecessor) is the nature of The Others, the motives of these usurpers, and their reason for allowing this remnant to survive. One is led to imagine that before humanity is utterly destroyed, the aliens must gain further understanding of the human species to enhance their own chances for survival on this crippled planet. . . .
To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the December 18, 2014 Naples Florida Weekly and the December 25 Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Yancey