Infinity Son was a BIG proof drop at YALC. Attendees were HYPED for Adam Silvera’s new fantasy series, with PHOENIXES. I didn’t actually get a proof, but I did nab a NetGalley copy a few months later. Sadly, it did not live up to the hype for me at all.
Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.
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 book is a hot mess. Dropped into the middle of some kind of alternate reality New York, I, as a reader struggled to find my bearings as several main characters with interchangeably whiny internal voices threw new vocabulary around with the expectation that I would somehow… figure this out? Celestials, Specters, Spell Walkers, all of these new words are given no explanation, and I was left reeling with no idea what was going on. Magic wands, magic powers, villains, phoenixes… Brighton, the main character, has a fascination with phoenixes and a scene in a museum gave us some context – plus I figured out over the course of the book that specters are formed by consuming the blood of magical creatures – but generally there was just a LOT going on here which wasn’t at all explained. I still don’t understand how, in a world which is so different to ours, YouTube still exists. Is this an alternate timeline, where magical creatures appeared at some point in the past? Or have they always existed? I am entirely unclear. The worldbuilding is, frankly, nil. Information is dribbled out, long past when it’s necessary, and even having finished the book I honestly don’t have a clue what happened. What, exactly, was the Blackout? And why did it make people hate Celestials? Who are… I think, akin to mutants in X-Men? I am so confused.
But. Setting aside the difficulties (very real and disappointing difficulties) that this book has with worldbuilding, how was the plot? Well. Have I said hot mess? Because it was. Packed with tropes and disappointingly clichéd ‘reveals’, the plot stumbled along and ended with a horrendously predictable ‘twist’.
So maybe the characters were enough to save this? Nope. Brighton is a whiny, self-obsessed baby and Emil is dull and unbelievable. A little bit of angst, yes, I could get on board with. Some believably horrible people, sure. But Emil and Brighton, the two main characters, are dull, dull, dull, and yet also annoying. How do they manage to be so terrible at all times? Don’t know. But they managed it.
This book isn’t utterly, abjectly terrible. It’s nice to see a gay boy be the chosen one, and have untold magical powers. It’s nice to see some body image issues which don’t belong to a teenage girl. It’s nice to have side characters who are queer, non-binary, and use singular they pronouns. It’s nice also to have a main character whose defining character trait isn’t that he’s Latinx or gay. Intersectional representation ftw. But it’s not enough to save what could have been something great, but is really just underdeveloped and confusing.