REVIEW: The Infinity Courts

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The Infinity Courts
by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Released on April 6th, 2021
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Young Adult Fiction—Sci-Fi, Fantasy

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A smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity.

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.

Trigger/Content Warning(s): Murder, Death, Gun Violence, Referenced Torture, Mention of Underage Drinking, Gore, Injuries/Wounds, Mind Controlling, Nightmares (Result of Trauma), Threats, Violence, Forced Servitude, Grief

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Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in return for my honest opinion. This does not affect my review.

The Infinity Courts is a wondrous, magical story that exceeded expectations and left my mind grappling upon finishing.

Following Nami, a teen murdered during a gas station robbery, readers are thrust into the world of Infinity. Infinity is the afterlife, where all humans go upon passing. However, it is discovered soon after Nami’s arrival that Infinity has been overtaken by the artificial intelligence (AI) Ophelia, something Nami considered close to a friend while she was still living, and the Residents she created. After being saved by a group of rebel humans, Nami is forced to pick between supporting a cause that is determined to wipe out Ophelia and all residents from existing furthermore or find a solution that can save and satisfy both sides.

Akemi Dawn Bowman is an incredible storyteller. Opening the first page, I found myself immediately hooked onto the story and unable to put it down. Bowman’s writing style is addictive, and it is simple yet detailed in a way that makes it easy for readers to follow along. However, a small issue I struggled with was the pacing. This book is very slowly-paced. There were scenes that felt unnecessarily long, and while I enjoyed them, it was difficult to truly love them due to their slowness. Had this book been trimmed down by about 50 or 75 pages, I do think it would have been better off.

Despite this, I fell in love with each and all of the characters. Nami is one character that you cannot help but latch onto. She is determined, brave, and stubborn. She does not want to be forced into a chosen-one role, but she cares so deeply for those that she bonds with and holds close. I loved how Bowman developed her throughout the story—mostly for the growth, as she learned to live with the loss of her mortal life while learning to accept the circumstances of her afterlife. I also appreciated seeing the side characters, and the depth they were given. Oftentimes, I find side characters lacking, but that did not happen in The Infinity Courts. Gil, Annika, Prince Caelan, etc., I could not help but feel as though each of these characters tugged on my heart in some way or another.

Along with the character development, I was intrigued by the romance. As someone who is demiromantic, I do not oftentimes find myself particularly understanding much about the romance in books or getting as immersed into it as other readers. However, there was something that felt particularly off about the relationship between Nami and one of the other characters in this book. Though, when a very large twist was revealed at the end, I quickly realized why I had felt this way. Bowman was crafty and sneaky in how she twisted the romantic relationship in this book, and I was completely taken by surprise by it. This also keys into the surprise of the ending, and how deeply it wounded me upon realizing what would truly occur. As easy as it is for me to predict the endings of books, Bowman did not make it easy for me this time, and she did manage to catch me off my game.

Lastly, I really did adore the entire idea and plot of this story. It is unique in the way that I cannot find another closely similar to it, and I loved the way each action catered to the final outcome of this first book. It set everything up in a way that leaves readers anticipating the sequel, while still satisfying enough to deal with the cliffhanger ending.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience I got from reading it. For that, I rate it 4.25 stars. I look forward to continuing Nami’s story, and I also anticipate whatever Akemi Dawn Bowman might write after.

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Author Akemi Dawn Bowman who now lives in Hopeman....pic Peter Jolly

Akemi Dawn Bowman is a critically-acclaimed author who writes across genres. Her novels have received multiple accolades and award nominations, and her debut novel, STARFISH, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. She has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and currently lives in Scotland with her family. She overthinks everything, including this bio. You can find Akemi on Instagram @AkemiDawnBowman.


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