Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Kids UK
Publication date: 14 January 2020
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review.
I’ve never read an Adam Silvera book, as he tends to write contemporary YA, but I’ve heard good things about his stories and writing. Naturally, I snapped up the opportunity to read his first fantasy novel, Infinity Son. I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book, but found Infinity Son to be an incredibly fun and fast-paced page turner with lots of heart.
Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
This is a book that you can tell comes from Silvera’s heart. At the beginning of the ARC, there is an author’s note on how he’s always loved fantasy books but never saw any gay characters in his favourite books, films, and TV shows until he picked up Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters books. Infinity Son is definitely a love letter to Silvera’s favourite stories like X-Men and Harry Potter, but has a wonderful and inclusive spin. I hope the publisher keeps this letter at the beginning of the final edition because it is absolutely lovely and helped me appreciate this book even more.
Infinity Son is an urban fantasy book set in New York City — primarily in the Bronx and Brooklyn. It takes place in the modern day, with social media playing an important role in the story. Where Silvera’s world and our world differ is with the inclusion of people with powers, as well as mythical creatures like phoenixes and hydras. I liked the set up of the world, however I do think it was a little clumsy in places. There’s a lot of information that needs to be established, particularly with the celestials (people born with magic that manifests when they turn 18), specters (non-magical people who steal power from the blood of magical creatures), and the various groups associated with them. Then there is the impact of magic on politics and society. I think he did an admirable job, however there was so much information that needed to be conveyed that it got a little murky at times. I had to keep referring back to earlier pages in order to keep everything straight in my head. In my opinion, the world building is definitely the weakest part of the book.
I really loved the characters in this book. Our main characters are Emil and Brighton, twin brothers from the Bronx, and they drive the story. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between the two of them — I so often love reading about sisters and haven’t read many books that feature brothers. I think Emil will be an obvious favourite for readers of this book. He is a sweet cinnamon roll who wants nothing to do with powers or the celestials, but is fascinated by phoenixes. I love that he is openly gay and his sexuality isn’t part of the conflict of the story. He is out, he is accepted, and he doesn’t not struggle because of his sexuality. It was so wonderfully refreshing to see this!
It took me a long time to come around to Brighton — he’s kind of a pain who is selfishly obsessed with his YouTube channel and celestials. He desperately wants power for himself and his brother or social media fame (or both). He’s not particularly likable, however because of his relationship with his brother I really grew to love him. I really enjoyed his story arc in the book and he’s the perfect unlikable protagonist.
I really enjoyed Infinity Son! It was like the book equivalent of a blockbuster film — fast paced, visual, and so incredibly fun. If you’re a fan of YA urban fantasy books or are looking for an LGBTQ+ fantasy read, you should absolutely pick it up in January. You’re going to need the second book as soon as you reach the end!
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