Tag Archives: Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea

Author: Rick Yanceythe infinite sea

The 5th Wave, vol. 2

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Cassie and Ben have gotten their small group of survivors to temporary safety in an abandoned hotel, but they’re certain they can’t stay hidden there long. You can’t stay hidden anywhere long in a world that’s been taken over by hostile aliens inhabiting human bodies–aliens that have more tech than you can imagine and that hate the human race with an incomprehensible, unending spite. They send their best shot, Ringer, off to investigate a cave system–a potentially better hiding place, at least for a while–leaving the rest at the hotel to recover (Ben being pretty badly wounded) and hope against hope that Cassie’s alien boyfriend (long story) survived their escape and is coming to join them. But, as usual it seems, nothing goes as planned, leaving all of them in a desperate and continuing struggle for survival.

Honestly, while I generally enjoy Yancey’s writing, The Infinite Sea is a bit of a struggle for me to review. I mean, it was an exciting and engaging read, but I think I need to wait for the third volume to come out and then read all three volumes straight through together. As with The 5th Wave, the POV switches between various characters, making it a bit fragmented. Especially since the point of time also jumps back and forward a bit between characters. To complicate things even further, Yancey only rarely uses the name of the character in whose POV he’s writing, tending to use impersonal pronouns instead. Which I guess works with the whole dehumanizing theme he’s got going in the story–I really do appreciate the philosophical basis behind it–but it sure does make the reading more challenging. Also, there’s this whole Inception sort of mind games thing going on; plots within counterplots within even more evil alien counterplots. The characters don’t have a clue what’s really going on (and yes, some folks might have a good time figuring it out as they go along), but honestly the reader is often left struggling to comprehend. And (final complaint, I promise), I still find the whole Evan and Cassie thing to be a complete Twilight-type throw in that doesn’t really suit the rest of the plot . . . even though it is used to advance the plot in several instances. I still think Yancey should pick the Evan and Cassie story or the huge militarily-focused alien invasion story and stick with that one. But, in spite of all the above-listed complaints, I really did enjoy the story (even though it was sort of confusing at parts). I guess I’d just recommend approaching The Infinite Sea with caution, being prepared for a thrilling, mind-bending, intentionally fragmented piece of very dark science fiction.

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The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Cassie (short for Cassiopeia, of course) isn’t sure, but she might be the last human left on earth. Certainly, she’s all alone in the midst of the wreckage of humanity, post alien invasion. Not, as you might expect, and invasion of little green men, but instead of disaster, disease, and distrust, stripping people of their humanity and transforming them into killers. When she finds her life saved by attractive, kind Evan, Cassie must decide whether she’s willing to trust again. Definitely one of the toughest decisions of her life–and one that might cost her life if she chooses wrongly.

The 5th Wave was quite an experience to read. Chilling, frightening, intense, yet warm in unexpected places. The science fiction concepts are well executed, making the story not so much about what the aliens are as about who we are as humans. The multiple points of view help to reinforce that idea (although I personally found the boot-camp scenes less than fascinating, but that’s just me). Yes, there are elements of this story that are a bit Stephanie Meyer-like (although I would compare them more to The Host than to Twilight); however, they aren’t the main focus of the story. Overall, The 5th Wave is a well-imagined, revealing science fiction story that I would recommend, at least to those who enjoy that genre.

Warning: Cliffhanger ending. I’m expecting a sequel (which would be typical for Yancey), and I will be very disappointed if there is none.

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

the extraordinary adventures of alfred kroppAuthor: Rick Yancey

My rating: 4 of 5

Alfred Kropp, vol. 1

Take one part Arthurian romance, one part action movie, add one bumbling kid who can’t seem to get anything right, and you might get something vaguely resembling this book. Maybe. Rick Yancey’s ability to mesh story elements that seem impossible to reconcile is what really makes this story shine. The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp has the fast-paced thrill of a typical action story, complete with high-speed chases, shoot-outs, and blood splatters. However, what stands out most about this book is the skill with which the author weaves in not just the knights and swords of Arthurian legend, but the concepts as well. Right from the beginning, Alfred is faced with the choices between right and wrong. And after he’s chosen wrongly, he is faced with the choice again and again until he finally gets it right–a choice that might cost him his life. I would recommend this book for people on both sides of the divide–action or traditional romance–as it is a beautiful fusion of the two that somehow surpasses its parts to become something unique and brilliant of its own.

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