Title: Infinity Reaper (Infinity Cycle #2)
Author: Adam Silvera
Genres: SciFi, Fantasy
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Review Copy: Copy provided by Publisher
Availability: Available now
Summary: Emil and Brighton Rey defied the odds. They beat the Blood Casters and escaped with their lives–or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed it would make him invincible, but instead the potion is killing him.
In Emil’s race to find an antidote that will not only save his brother but also rid him of his own unwanted phoenix powers, he will have to dig deep into the very past lives he’s trying to outrun. Though he needs the help of the Spell Walkers now more than ever, their ranks are fracturing, with Maribelle’s thirst for revenge sending her down a dangerous path.
Meanwhile, Ness is being abused by Senator Iron for political gain, his rare shifting ability making him a dangerous weapon. As much as Ness longs to send Emil a signal, he knows the best way to keep Emil safe from his corrupt father is to keep him at a distance.
The battle for peace is playing out like an intricate game of chess, and as the pieces on the board move into place, Emil starts to realize that he may have been competing against the wrong enemy all along
Review: I initially thought Infinity Reaper was just a sequel to Infinity Son, but as I got about a quarter of the way through I realized I was wrong because Adam Silvera was packing in so much more drama into Infinity Reaper and that there was absolutely no way this was going to be solved in one book. Shifted my perspective a bit as I was at first overwhelmed with the addition of Maribelle’s and Ness’s perspectives but they were used to round out the story a bit more and sets up a complex and thrilling story.
To me the heart of the story is the two brothers Emil and Brighton. I really love Emil’s gentle soul and he continues to shine in this second book as he struggles with how his new power and new expectations contradict who he essentially is. However, he digs deep and works to do his best. The side effect of this is that he is becoming much more outgoing, much more open to other people, and is willing to take more risks. He’s starting to become a bit more like Brighton, just without the ego. I really like the emotional journey that Emil went throughout the book. So much so that he ends up in a love triangle and I honestly couldn’t decide which person I would love for him to be with because both bring out the best in Emil and have helped me become more accepting of who he is. Brighton, on the other hand, let me just say that I wanted someone to slap some sense in the boy. The novel starts off moments after he took the Reaper’s Blood portion, which I feel also changes his personality or either his sense of self dives off the deep end into straight narcissism. Either way, I did not like Brighton by the end of the novel. Not sure if this is setting up his villain origin story (which would be so complex and cool) or the start of a redemption story so I just have to trust Silvera at this point, but Brighton’s ego bothered me so much that I would rush through his sections and every time I saw a chapter with his name on it I would groan. And because Brighton was so unlikable to me, I struggled with getting through the novel. But like I said, it feels like Silvera is setting up the story to be a struggle between the brothers and I am here for it.
An aspect of the novel that I liked was that it is such a metaphor of the past few years we’ve been living in. Those of us who’ve lived it, experienced it, survived it, will recognize all the parallels, but future generations who read this novel it will come off as a classic “good versus evil/hero vs. Society” epic story. The “racism” (for lack of a better word) that Celestials experience is truly heartbreaking and as a Black woman it resonated with me deeply. Silvera adds a storyline about “The Bounds” which is a specialized prison for Celestials and it is as cruel as you can imagine. The fact that their society puts Celestials there who are doing small crimes like burglary to survive, and then subjected to cruel and unusual punishment is a perfect metaphor for how our society penalizes People of Color and poor people for doing things to survive, then jailing them for it (think about the mother who lied where she lived to get her son in a better school, then ended up in jail for 5 years). These subtle call outs to our society ills, in such a fantastical world, is what make great science fiction/fantasy. And, it is another reason why I enjoyed the novel.
Lastly, and this is a purely selfish reason…this novel is all about Phoenixes, and as a phoenix lover, I truly loved the mythology and different types of phoenixes that Silvera created for this series. I just wished Silvera’s phoenixes were real.