The Infinity Courts – Book Review
May I wish the happiest of book birthdays to The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman! One of my favourite contemporary authors writing a YA Science-Fiction/Fantasy book is so exciting. I am so happy that this day has finally arrived and that I can share my review with you.
*Please note that I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have also bought my own copy.*
Title: The Infinity Courts
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: 6th April 2021
Age Range: Young Adult
Issues Raised: Identity, murder, grief, trauma
Rep: Own voices biracial protagonist
Goodreads: Add me here!
“Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.”
I am a huge fan of Akemi’s books. She writes with passion, compassion and has a strong connection with the protagonists that she creates. The Infinity Courts is everything I could ask for from a YA science-fiction/fantasy novel. It has an engaging story line, a complex protagonist, a motley crew of rebels, great world building, advanced A.I. and enough geek references to keep me smiling throughout.
Nami is exactly the sort of protagonist that I have come to expect from Akemi. She is kind, curious and going through a bit of an identity crisis. Nami dies early on in the book and her conscious is sent to the world of Infinity. Not only does she have to grapple with her identity as the graduating teen she was but she also has to discover who she is now in Infinity. Nami experiences trauma, grief and loss, which make her naturally distrusting of her new surroundings. Infinity is a complex world and deciding who can be trusted isn’t easy. Although she may come across as naïve to some of the other characters, Nami’s heart is always in the right place. Her decisions are not always sensible but isn’t that part of being human?
There are some cool side characters in the book including the four princes of Infinity – Caelan, being my favourite. From the resistance we meet Sura, a bubbly pink-haired girl, Gil, Ahmet and Theo. The villain is of course Queen Ophelia (think Siri/Alexa turned evil and given a body). We get to know some characters better than others but I’m hopeful that we will learn more about them all in the next book!
Before reading The Infinity Courts I looked forward to seeing how Akemi’s writing would translate into a fantasy setting. I was not disappointed. I love the world of Infinity! The world building is brilliant and it has so much potential. I really like Victory, it’s market places and ‘human-like’ existence juxtaposed against the threat of War. The Colony, which is the underground rebel base, is a very cool setting too. One of my favourite aspects of the setting is how the world can be manipulated by it’s occupants.
Akemi touches on all of her usual key themes including family, identity and grief. They play a large part in Nami’s inner conflict and character development. One of Akemi’s greatest strengths is to write in a beautiful, considerate way about difficult topics. She poses philosophical questions including what is the essence of being human. Do the A.I.’s have an equal right to their existence in Infinity as the humans do? Doesn’t everyone deserve to be free? The pacing varies throughout the novel. The novel starts with action then slows down a little before becoming a real page-turner. And that ending…. No spoilers but let’s just say I want book two asap!
I loved The Infinity Courts and I’m so pleased that it is part of a series! Although, now I have to impatiently wait to get my hands on the next instalment. If you are a YA Sci-fi/fantasy fan and have a soft spot for A.I. stories then you should definitely grab a copy!
If you haven’t read any of Akemi’s previous works you can check out my reviews for Summer Bird Blue & Harley in the Sky. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Akemi about The Infinity Courts (amongst other things) in a previous blog post, which you can check out here.