The aliens in The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey are the scariest I have ever encountered. It’s not because of a terrifying appearance or superior fighting skills, it’s the way they use people’s humanity against them. After all, when there’s nothing left, when most of the people you know are all dead, when you can’t go back to your life and every day is just a struggle to survive, what’s left?
Is what’s left your will to survive? Survive just so that you can watch another wave of people die? Is revenge what’s left? Make those who rained down the apocalypse first through a deadly virus, followed by violence, pay for destroying your life and the lives of billions? Is love what’s left, love for any family or friends you have left, or the fellow survivors you meet? Is hope what’s left? Hope that you can rebuild your life, your world or even create something new. Is using the time you have left to make up for previous mistakes or shortcomings how you will use what’s left of the time you are alive?
It’s these questions that the survivors of the sequel to The Fifth Wave continue to ask themselves throughout this novel. Different characters each represent a motivation for survival and in fact the story’s chapters are told through the voice of alternating narrators, readers will find out which characters among Cassie, Sam, Ben, Ringer, etc. tell part of the story about what has happened since escape from the base. The technique of alternating narrators is something I wish more authors would do as the reader gets a richer picture of the storyline when told through the viewpoints, experience, and emotions of more than just the main character. I also liked that this second book did something else that’s fairly rare, it moved the spotlight over from Cassie to an equally strong female lead character, Ringer, and did it so successfully that I almost forgot that Cassie was the lead in the first book.
Any apocalyptic books is frightening by its sheer nature, but Rick Yancey takes the horror to an even deeper level than most do by his description of the insidious plan to use people’s humanity against them, he breaks a taboo even other books in this genre don’t dare. While there is blood and physical violence in the book, that’s secondary to the real horror. The real horror is that in order to survive people would have to turn away from the very heart of what makes them human, to go against their most sacred instincts…to be more specific would be a spoiler.
I am excited to see how the consequences from this book will play out in the final book of the trilogy.