YA Weekend Audio: Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 2.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Book 1 of Infinity Cycle
Publisher: HarperAudio (January 14, 2020)
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
Narrators: Robbie Daymond, Kirby Heyborne, Maria Liatis, Elliot Knight
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera is a YA urban fantasy about twins Emil and Brighton Rey who live in a world where magic is real and those with the abilities to wield it—called “celestials”—are practically worshipped like celebrities. Unfortunately for the brothers though, who have always dreamed of becoming celestials, they have never shown any signs of manifesting any powers whatsoever. But as their eighteenth birthday approaches, all that is about to change.
While attending a public event one day, the two of them inadvertently get into a scuffle with a gang of potion dealers who were peddling their illicit concoctions meant to grant non-magical people the temporary illusion of being a celestial. Without knowing why or how, all of a sudden, a burst of phoenix fire power is unleashed by Emil, right there for all to see. The open display, caught on camera by Brighton, quickly catapults Emil into fame and stardom, earning him the moniker “Fire Wing” from the celestial groupies who follow the exploits of their heroes online.
As thrilled as he is to finally have powers, however, Emil remains troubled. Where did his new-found magic come from? And why now? Before long though, he and his brother are faced with even more pressing concerns. It appears his high profile has attracted some unwanted attention, drawing the twins into a brutal war between two celestial factions who have very different visions for the future. One side wants equality and acceptance for their kind in a world that is still mistrustful of anything to do with magic, while the other values strength and power above all else and will let nothing stand in the way of their goals for domination.
While this is my first novel by Silvera, who made his name with his contemporary YA, finding out that this is his fantasy debut is actually not very surprising. Considering that it was a decent attempt overall, I hate to be critical, but there were some glaring holes in the world-building and other missteps that made the author’s inexperience with the genre quite telling. For one thing, there was little coherence in the lore of the magic in this world, no encompassing “big picture” that I felt connected celestials, phoenix powers or whatever, and other magical elements in this world. While each system made sense on their own, it was hard to see how it all fit together. In some ways, it felt like a jumble of random ideas were thrown haphazardly into the story, not really because they were necessary but simply because they seemed cool.
Then there was this awkwardness of always falling back on pop culture references and tropes to describe character emotions and actions. All throughout the novel, Emil and Brighton do a whole lot of this “in the movies, this is what would happen” or “I wish I was like the hero of so-and-so story so I would know what to do, but I’m not…” It’s like, dude, I don’t care what you think some other character in some other fictional world would do, I want to know how YOU feel. This kind of gimmick has always struck me as lazy writing, and while it’s fine once in a blue moon to add some humor to contemporary or urban fantasy, it’s annoying when it’s constantly happening.
And sadly, I couldn’t get into the characters either. The two Rey brothers are two of the most self-absorbed and narcissistic protagonists I’ve ever met, especially Brighton, a celestials vlogger who embodies the worst behaviors and habits of every obnoxious social media personality you know. Half the time I wanted to scream at him, NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR DAMN FOLLOWER COUNT, YOU COMPLETE ASS. Emil was also bland and uninspiring, much like the premise of this book which obviously takes its influences from Harry Potter and comic books especially X-Men. Nothing wrong with that, except it doesn’t really do much to help this book stand out.
All in all, I just couldn’t see much reason for the hype. A pretty standard fantasy YA with good diversity, but not much else special to write home about, which is becoming a disappointing trend with a lot of new YA releases these days. I didn’t love or hate Infinity Son, and though it was enjoyable while it lasted, I am not holding out hope this will stay with me long.
Audiobook Comments: While the novel itself was pretty meh, I enjoyed the narration by the full cast of Robbie Daymond, Kirby Heyborne, Maria Liatis, and Elliot Knight. In fact, I think the multiple narrators helped negate a lot of the potential issues which could have resulted from the frequent POV switches and unstable pacing. Solid narration overall.