Series: The Infinity Courts #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2021-04-06
Length: 477 pages
Length: 13 hours and 52 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, eARC from Library, Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022
Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.
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.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished listening to The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman. I had to sit and ruminate over it, and to be quite honest I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The Infinity Courts hooked me immediately with the violent death of Nami, the main character, who was on her way to a graduation party. “Where in the world is this story going?” I thought as I eagerly continued reading. Turns out, we are going to Infinity, better known as the afterlife, with Nami. There is a complex world at war here, and Nami finds herself smack in the middle of it.
Nami is an interesting character. She is grieving her life, her loved ones who she knows will be missing her, and the budding romance that was just starting between her and her best friend. Now she has to cope with being dead in an afterlife controlled by Ophelia, her AI (similar to Alexa or Siri). Nami doesn’t know who to trust, what is real, and if everything she is facing is just made up in her brain. I found myself impressed with Nami’s acceptance of what was happening and how she faced it head on without too much of a fight.
This is such a unique story. I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything close to it. I love the idea that Ophelia has developed sentience, and jealous of humanity, craves a life similar for herself. She creates the princes who rule the different areas of Infinity, and these princes are different versions of Ophelia’s own personality. I was intrigued by how the AI infiltrated the afterlife, how she is now ruling it, and the consequences of humanity’s actions against her. I feel like there is a lot more to explore here and unpack, which I’m hoping for in book two.
The rebels added another flavor to the story. I was already hooked in this sci-fantasy (yes, it totally qualifies as such), but the rebels are a fun addition. Similar to the Matrix, when Nami arrives in Infinity, she is given a choice to basically live out her dreams or serve in some way. Instead she finds herself rescued by the rebellion who are “awake” and know the truth behind Infinity. It’s an interesting dynamic to see. Nami is sympathetic to the AI, seeing them as living just as she is, and yet she understands the rebellion and wants a safe afterlife for her family and friends who will one day come.
Overall, I enjoyed The Infinity Courts. There are a lot of twists and surprises, one in particular that left me reeling. While I enjoyed the story for the most part, there were a lot of plot holes, lots of things I predicted, and parts of the story that just didn’t fit. I plan to keep reading as I am curious, but for me this was an okay story.