In which I rant about The Infinite Sea, the second book in Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave Trilogy.
If you haven’t read The Infinite Sea, then what are you doing here? Go away, this isn’t safe. There are spoilers ahead! Go read my review of this book, and then please do come back once you’ve read the book itself. Okay?
My experience with this book was a bit up and down. Overall, I didn’t like it as much as The 5th Wave, but that isn’t to say that I didn’t like it. Not at all. In fact, I really, really enjoyed it, and I’m excited to talk about it.
I have so much ranting to do about characters, so get ready.
So when I was reading The 5th Wave, I scribbled at some point: “You know whose POV we need? Ringer’s.” I felt like we could use someone a bit more logical. Because let’s face it: as sassy and stupidly brave and hilarious and utterly human as Cassie is, she doesn’t have the most rational of thought-processes. At all. And even though Zombie is absolutely my favourite character in the series, he doesn’t have that ability to follow a thought all the way through its logical progression.
So I was quite delighted that so much of the book was in Ringer’s POV. I haven’t really done any research to see if anyone else backs me up on this, but I’m fairly certain she is an INTJ. I cannot tell you how delighted I was to finally be reading about:
- A character whose decision-making process I can relate to
- A non-villain character whose decision-making process I can relate to
- A non-villain female character whose decision-making process I can relate to
I love all the chess references and the logic and problem-solving and subtle humour and just…yes. Can we have more characters like this? Because there really aren’t many. In fact, I’m going to be doing a post about INTJ characters quite soon.
Update: You can read that post here.
That said, Ringer isn’t my favourite character. And I didn’t think I’d say this, but in retrospect, a little too much of the book was in her POV. I really missed Zombie. But I’m not ready to get into that yet.
My brother pinpointed it when we were discussing The 5th Wave today. Cassie was an amazing character right up until she meets Evan. After meeting Evan, she loses a lot of her strength. It’s depressing, and all the more so because of how it isn’t acknowledged. By the end of The 5th Wave, I didn’t exactly hate her, but I liked her a lot less than I had initially. Which was a lot! I really, really liked her in the beginning portion of the book.
In The Infinite Sea, I could hardly stand her.
First of all, her preoccupation with not having a nom de guerre. Excuse me, Cassie, but it isn’t as if they gave them to each other while roasting s’mores at summer camp. You know that time you spent cuddling in the woods with your stalker? Well, they were doing pushups until their hands bled, processing and disposing corpses, and being screamed at constantly during that time. All so that they could eventually go out and kill other humans. What were you doing? Taking baths and eating chocolate. Huh. What a hard life you have, Sullivan.
Plus, I’m sorry, but are you actually jealous of names like Poundcake and Dumbo?
And it wasn’t something she just mentions in passing, it’s pretty constant. It got so old so fast. There are infinite things to care about. Not having a nom de guerre should be pretty low on the list.
But basically all she truly cared about in this book was that and Evan Walker. Seriously, every other thought in her head seemed to be about the names or Evan. I’m sorry, maybe it’s because I’m not a very sentimental person, but I don’t understand that. She barely knew him, and during the short time they were together, he lied to her constantly. And yet, she puts everyone else in danger because she can’t let go of him? Maybe she doesn’t care about the squad, but what about Nugget? I thought he was super important to her? He isn’t safe as long as they stay at the hotel. Am I the only one bothered by the fact that Nugget seriously sunk in importance once Evan came along? I talked about that in my rant on the previous book, when Cassie was so relieved to see Evan, but barely mentioned the fact that her brother, whom she spent so much time trying to save, only to almost watch him die before her very eyes, was still alive. I can’t deal with that. And I can’t deal with paragraphs like this:
I’d never let him go. Not really. I told myself a thousand times a day he couldn’t have survived. Lectured myself that our holing up in this fleabag motel was useless, dangerous, crazy, suicidal. But I clung to his promise because letting go of the promise meant I was letting go of him.
I mean, not that hard to let go of someone you just met, who lied to you through his teeth throughout your acquaintance, is it?
But Cassie isn’t the only one to blame here: why does her say even matter so much? Cassie, who isn’t even part of the squad, says they stay, so they do? Even though it’s not safe and she’s the only one who cares about waiting for Evan Walker? Why? That makes absolutely zero sense.
But whatever, she loves him or something. Who am I to judge? But can she just stick with that? Because once he finally shows up, she waffles over and over between “I’m going to kill him!” and “No one is allowed to badmouth him he’s perfect.”
But even that wasn’t the worst. No, my main problem with Cassie Sullivan is how incredibly self-centred she is. It’s almost fascinating. The world actually ended, right? The Others took out 7 billion people? So all of the survivors have witnessed unspeakable horror, have lost everyone that mattered to them, and have been forced by circumstance to do terrible things. And yet, Cassie just continues to act like she’s the only one. It bugs me immensely. Immensely.
I don’t have that much to say about Evan. I find him profoundly uninteresting. I appreciate what he represents, just not him. I hate how every time Cassie asks him a direct question, he gets all lovey. It’s manipulative, and it’s creepy. You see, call me crazy, but I kind of believe that, if someone actually loves someone, they should trust them with the truth. All the soppy words in the world don’t mean as much as just answering a simple question with an honest answer.
Poundcake! Oh, I was so glad to get his POV (even though he didn’t narrate), but my happiness quickly turned to extreme-sadness-overload. What that kid went through is just even worse when you remember he’s eight years old. It makes sense that he doesn’t talk anymore. It was a great decision to give him a chapter. Just another glimpse of what the Others have done to people, to families, to eight-year-olds. It was just the right length, too. Any longer would have been too much of a digression.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Zombie is my favourite character in this trilogy. I really missed his POV in this book, but then again, he wasn’t in much of a state to narrate for most of it.
I was really, really worried about him, to be honest. I mean, there was his physical weakness from the bullet wound Ringer gave him in the previous book, but I was mostly worried about him emotionally. He just seemed to be spiralling into a dark place.
It’s really interesting to see Zombie trying to work through problems on his own, when Ringer isn’t around. It makes a lot of sense for him to be the leader. He’s got good ideas, and he’s quite insightful in many ways. He doesn’t always pursue these ideas as far as Ringer does, but he’s definitely not dumb. Plus, he has something else very important: how much he cares about his squad. It’s really, really touching.
I have an immeasurable love his absolute faith in Ringer. Partially because I ship them like mad, but you have to agree that it’s really touching how he refuses to entertain the possibility that she’s not coming back, or that she could have betrayed them, on purpose or not.
All of that being said, out of this entire book, my favourite Zombie scene is when he comes out of the room and Cassie thinks he’s smothered Megan. It might seem weird, but hear me out.
He laughed again. His head broke the surface and he took a deep, life-giving breath.
That’s when I stopped being worried about him. I knew he was going to be okay. Not because he didn’t smother a little girl, but because he couldn’t. The fact that he lacked the ability to do so means everything.
Cassie and Evan
Sorry. I can totally understand why people ship the ship, because some of their dialogue is actually really, really cute, but looking at the big picture, I just cannot ship it.
Razor and Ringer
So I’m reading and it’s really stressful and suspenseful, and then suddenly I’m distracted by this:
He turns to the squad leader standing beside him, a slender, fair-skinned recruit with blond hair and soulful dark eyes.
Soulful dark eyes.
Soulful dark eyes.
Soulful dark eyes.
Soulful dark eyes.
Soulful dark eyes.
SOULFUL DARK EYES.
When you are in a very stressful situation and you refer to someone’s eyes as soulful—if you even notice their soulfulness in the stress of the situation—then you are basically married. It’s over.
And I was not happy with this because it seriously conflicts with my beloved ship.
And the worst part is, they were kind of cute. And I started shipping it. Until Razor betrayed her because he was “Just following orders.” You know who else used that excuse, Razor? Nazis. Nazis used that excuse.
And she didn’t really care???? Awesome, rational, INTJ Ringer pulled a Cassie on me and just let him get away with that. Just… No! None of that was okay! The whole ending of the book was not okay.
Zombie and Ringer
My ship. I love this ship more than I can explain to you. So instead of showing you an embarrassing display of fangirling, I’m just going to give you a few lovely quotes.
Taken from Ringer’s POV:
A second smile leaps out at the punch line. He leans forward, willing me to answer with my own. “One day, Private Ringer, you’re going to smile at something I say and the world will break in half.”
There’s nothing left to say. There’re a million things left to say. This might be the last time we see each other, and he’s thinking it, too, because he says, “Thank you for saving my life.”
“I put a bullet in your side and now you might die.”
(I’m laughing though because taken out of the context of this book and these two characters, that quote would not seem at all shippy).
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“No. You don’t.”
“You’re wondering if you should kiss me good-bye.”
“Why do you do that?” I ask. “Flirt with me.”
He shrugs. His grin is crooked, like his body leaning against the counter.
“It’s normal. Don’t you miss normal?” he asks. Eyes digging deep into mine, always looking for something, I’m never sure what.
I push the thought away. Promises are priceless, and a kiss is a kind of a promise, too.
From Cassie’s POV:
He laughed softly. “Ringer.” I wondered if he was aware of how he said her name. Quietly, like a prayer.
This ship just speaks for itself okay?
Can we talk about what happened to Poundcake?! Cassie what the heck?! He would have made that shot if you hadn’t pushed him out of the way! He’s the best shooter next to Ringer. And why did you push him again? Oh yeah. Because you were afraid he might miss and shoot Evan. You got Poundcake shot on a might. That is the actual stupidest thing ever, and why does everything have to be about Evan?!
But Poundcake’s last stand though. It actually gave me chills. And I keep forgetting this kid was eight years old! That’s just amazing. I feel like the events of these books brought out a lot of the worst in humanity, but they also brought out the best. I could not believe he fought as long and hard as he did. It was beautiful.
I don’t know what to say about this except that I want to strangle Razor. I know the whole point was that Ringer never would have left Teacup, and the Others would always have leverage over her as long as they had Teacup. I get it. But what ever happened to never deciding that one person doesn’t matter?
I’m sorry, but frankly I don’t care about his motives. He shot a little girl in cold blood, and that’s disgusting. I feel like it definitely was not the only option, and why didn’t he just shoot Vosch? Really, why didn’t he? Wouldn’t that have been easier? No. I’m never ever ever going to agree with that. The whole ending of this book was a disaster, all of it Razor’s fault and also Ringer’s. I’m immensely disappointed in Ringer.
That rant was a lot longer than I meant it to be. And I still didn’t talk about everything I wanted to talk about. Oh well, we can maybe talk about additional stuff in the comments! I’d like to hear your thoughts, especially if you disagree with me on something. Differing opinions make for interesting discussions.