Infinity Son by Adam Silvera | urban fantasy, phoenixes, and brotherhood

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Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

January 14, 2019, from HarperTeen
YA fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

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.

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3 stars

When I heard Adam Silvera was writing a fantasy book, I was thrilled. His contemporary books are some of my favourites. So I went into Infinity Son optimistic. Though there are some problems with the worldbuilding and pacing, I ultimately liked Infinity Son; it’s an urban fantasy that stresses the importance of family and responsibility.

One of the things about Infinity Son I loved was the worldbuilding, actually; it’s today’s world, but with magic normalized in it, something I’d really love to see more often in books. The characters talk about zoos where there are phoenixes and basilisks; there’s an alternate history to the world. They use Instagram and YouTube to keep tabs on their favourite celestials. And it’s cool. My problem with the worldbuilding, though, is that it just comes all at once. Adam Silvera does this; most of his contemporary books do have a science-fiction element to them, and they’re integrated seamlessly. I feel like he tried to do the same thing here, but there’s just too much to know: it’s not one element; it’s a whole magic system, an alternate history, and a different culture, and I found myself lost while reading it for a good half the book. I did get used to it, eventually, but it took a lot of time to fully absorb myself into the world around me.

Silvera’s characters, as always, are a strength. The two main characters are brothers, Emil and Brighton Rey, and I loved their dynamic and how much they cared for each other throughout the book. The theme of brotherhood really undercuts the entire novel, and I love how important family is to both Emil and Brighton. The Chosen One trope is at full play, but Emil isn’t the typical Chosen One–he’s reluctant and anxious, and doesn’t really want to get involved in a war he’s been dragged into. Brighton, on the other hand, is ready and raring to go and fight despite not having the skills to. Brighton is also a vlogger, and it’s pretty cool to see how things that are so normal in our world are incorporated into urban fantasy.

However, there are also two other POVs that aren’t quite main characters: Maribelle, one of the other Spell Walkers, and Ness, who is aligned with the specters, and I don’t believe those POVs needed to be in the book at all. It just added more confusion and complexity to a story I already felt confused about, and took the focus away from the main characters. I felt as if Emil and Brighton’s voices were pretty distinct, but Maribelle and Ness were definitely not developed enough to be POV characters. I assume their narrative is to put more weight into the world and make it feel larger, but the Rey brothers are such a strength and the themes of family are so overt that the narrative doesn’t need that. I feel like the story would have worked far better with just Emil and Brighton as narrators, with more focus on their story. Silvera’s writing is, as always, gorgeous, though. The cast is also full of people of colour and queer characters, which is always great to see in fantasy.

If you’re expecting this to be like Silvera’s other books, I’ll be honest: it might be a disappointment, but that’s owing to the strength of Silvera’s contemporary books. If you’re looking for an exciting urban fantasy, though, I would certainly recommend Infinity Son. 2201106_LI

content warnings | parental death

representation | latinx characters, gay mc, bi mc, bi side characters, lesbian side characters

Thank you to the publisher & Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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will you be reading infinity son??

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4 thoughts on “Infinity Son by Adam Silvera | urban fantasy, phoenixes, and brotherhood

  1. I might have to check this one out (and hope some of the problems you had with it are less of a problem in the final copy)! I don’t read nearly enough urban fantasy, but I adore the reluctant chosen one trope SO MUCH. Great review!

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