Hello Humans! The January publications just keep on coming, don’t they? I first came across today’s read when at YALC back in July, there was the usual mad dash in (or slow shuffle for those trapped in hellish queues) and every morning it seemed people were falling over each other to grab an arc of Infinity Son. I know a lot of people were really excited to read Adam Silvera’s first fantasy book and, not being overly fussed, I held back. Thankfully, I managed to snag a copy on NetGalley so I can review this for you!
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.
What’s my context for reading this? Well, I’m a fantasy fan who rarely enjoys contemporary, so I’m coming at this having read zero Adam Silvera in the past. I know of him, of course, through book twitter and so forth, but I didn’t pick this book up because I already love his writing.
What I found most interesting about this book is that, to me, it didn’t read as fantasy at all. It read much more like a superhero story than anything else, including the Shadowhunters books which Adam cites as an inspiration at the start of the book. I was reminded much more of Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series – which is YA superheroes. I actually don’t think this is a bad thing, because it’s nice to shake-up genres a little bit, but I would recommend going in with ‘this is not the YA fantasy novel you are familiar with’ in mind.
Another thing I liked about this book was the character of Emil. You can tell that Silvera went in wanting to create a gay YA hero whose story was not ‘HE’S GAY LOOK AT THAT’. It’s a part of Emil’s life and it’s not swept to one side or tokenised at all, the best way I can describe it is ‘delightfully normal’. It’s the kind of representation I can see teenagers stumbling on and just being delighted – it brought me joy.
You can see how Silvera’s experience of writing contemporary came into play in this story. Often I have found in fantasy that takes place in the ‘real world’ that either social media is ignored completely or it is presumed to function in a way that basically just serves the plot – which usually ends up breaking the fantasy for the reader. In this case, Silvera includes social media right from the start of the book, the quest for followers is a huge motivator for Brighton, and Emil’s body image issues are recognised in the context of social media. It felt like a very honest appreciation of the benefits and difficulties of social media – which wasn’t something I’d seen before in YA fantasy.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this book was for me, despite all of the above, the plot itself was a little too confused for my liking, I didn’t get enough of a sense of the ‘magic system’ to feel like I understood it, and so much of the plot is tied to that – it made for a rather convoluted read. The tone of the book also wasn’t for me, but that is much more of a personal preference thing – as a non-reader of contemporary, I can’t say whether or not other readers will find things the same?
This story just didn’t excite or grip me in the way I needed it to, there are some great techniques and ideas within this book, but the execution just isn’t sharp enough for me to have loved it.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Infinity Son publishes January 14th!
What say you? Are you new to Adam Silvera or a hardcore fan? Will you be reading this? Comment below!