I’m so excited to be a stop on the Turn the Pages Blog Tour for The Infinity Courts, which is by one of my all-time favorite authors, Akemi Dawn Bowman! I’ve been so honored to have served on the Street Team for The Infinity Courts (and previously, for Akemi’s 2020 release, Harley in the Sky–check out my review here!) and am so excited to be reviewing it today.
Before we get to my review, read on for a bit about the book!
Title: The Infinity Courts
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Release date: April 6, 2021
Synopsis: “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.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.”
Eighteen year-old Nami has just graduated high school and has her whole life ahead of her–she’s not expecting to be murdered on her way to a graduation party. Nami wakes up in a place called Infinity, an afterlife where human consciousness goes after their bodies die. She quickly learns that Infinity has been infiltrated by Ophelia, an artificial intelligence akin to Alexa or Siri, and she’s seeking to eradicate humans. As Nami teams up with a group of rebels, she’ll be forced to ask herself difficult questions about humanity, self, and the choices we make.
The Infinity Courts is an incredibly original sci-fi fantasy mash-up set in the afterlife. The concept of a novel set in the afterlife is fascinating, and the world-building was fresh and unique. Infinity is a place once created by human consciousness but has been warped by Ophelia, an AI who is forcing humans into servitude. Those who manage to escape Ophelia’s grasp have formed a resistance, and it’s amongst them that Nami finds a home. Akemi has also given The Infinity Courts a touch of Jane Austen: Ophelia has split Infinity into four courts, and each is ruled by a prince. Nami finds herself swept up in their opulent balls, bringing a period-drama element to this sci-fi fantasy novel.
Nami is a relatable and compelling character who finds herself struggling with big questions. In life, like many people, Nami heavily relied on Ophelia and thought of her almost as a friend. Now, as the rebels want Nami to join forces with them to overthrow Ophelia, she finds herself questioning everything: What does it mean to be human? Who deserves to experience life? What does it mean to be free? Where is the line drawn between human life and artificial life? Nami can’t help but empathize with Ophelia’s simple desire to live and be free, and she questions whether the conflict is as black-and-white as the rebels believe it to be. As a war brews in Infinity, Nami finds herself filled with inner turmoil and she’s unsure which side she wants to be on.
I loved Nami as a character and know that so many other readers will, too. As a biracial Asian reader (white & Filipino), I loved that Nami was a biracial Asian girl (white & Japanese); Akemi always writes beautiful, thoughtful biracial rep in her books, and this one is no different. It was incredibly refreshing to read a character who is struggling with deep questions and isn’t sure where she wants to draw her alliances. Nami also finds herself haunted by regrets from her lifetime and memories of her family, especially her younger sister Mei.
This novel boasts a robust cast of supporting characters; in addition to the biracial Asian rep, there are a number of other BIPOC supporting characters. Nami meets a number of rebels in Infinity, who all carry their own pain and loss. For me, some of the standout characters were Annika, the fearless leader of the rebels; Theo, who desperately wants a way to save his brother from Ophelia’s wrath; and Gil, a boy hardened by his experiences in Infinity. There’s tension and distrust between Gil and Nami, but as they spend more time together, a connection is formed. Fans of slow-burn romances will love the relationship between Nami and Gil. And of course, Ophelia is a character with a strong voice and sense of want, despite being an AI. As Nami immerses herself in Infinity and tries to help the rebels, she also finds herself getting to know one of Ophelia’s princes, Caelan, and discovers a gentler, almost human side to him. While Nami explores these new relationships in Infinity, she finds herself further questioning what makes us truly human.
Like all of Akemi’s novels, The Infinity Courts has a strong sense of voice and direction. Her SFF debut has further solidified why she is one of my favorite authors: she truly knows how to craft a sweeping narrative that is utterly un-put-downable. It’s a fast-paced, engaging story that blends sci-fi, fantasy, and period dramas all into one epic mash-up. You can bet I’ll be buying a copy of The Infinity Courts for my personal shelves and my library’s shelves. I’ll be recommending this one to fans of Marie Lu and Cindy Pon. The Infinity Courts is a sweeping, immersive story that will stick with readers for long after it’s over.
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 husband and two children. She overthinks everything, including this bio.
Keep up with Akemi: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Thank you to Akemi Dawn Bowman and Simon & Schuster for the free review copy, and to Turn the Pages Tours including me on this tour! And a special thank-you to Akemi for having me serve on her street team!
Check out the other stops on the tour here!