The Infinity Courts – Book Review

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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.

Review:
Nami is a relatable and likable young woman. While you may not agree with her actions at times, you can’t fault her motivations. The afterlife she arrives in has its own rules. And she doesn’t want the AI killed, even though they rule over humans. But she quickly finds herself with the resistance who will stop at nothing to bring down the oppressive AI.

While the premise of The Infinity Courts is so far out there that it works better as fantasy, it is easy to suspend disbelief and dive into the story. It’s also easy to side with the resistance when this reality feels like a future Terminator scenario, where humanity has little hope. This is an engaging and unique story. With fun characters, intrigue, and a bit of romance – it’s hard to put down. I really enjoyed this YA thought-provoking adventure and look forward to the next in this trilogy.

Infinite Dark Chapter 2&3 – Comic Review

Infinite Dark – Top Cow
The universe ended, but humanity survived. And for years, the passengers and crew of the vessel Orpheus found the endless void between realities to be a surprisingly peaceful home. Then they found a body; bloodied, brutalized, and surrounded by inscrutable runes. As Security Director Deva Karrell investigates the Orpheus’ first murder, she’ll come face to face with a horror from beyond.

About Top Cow:
Top Cow Productions is an American comics publisher, a partner studio of Image Comics founded by Marc Silvestri in 1992.”

Review:
In chapter 1, Security Director Deva Karrell discovered a body and leaves off in a cliffhanger. Chapter 2-3 of Infinite Dark Deva’s trauma grows to the point she begins seeing aberrations. But there is definitely something sinister at work. This engaging story grows more intense and suspenseful as the danger grows. The creepy vision of the entity is just enough to put readers on edge. There is more psychological suspense at this point, as we slowly learn a bit more what’s happening. This exciting series is only getting better. If you have a chance, be sure to check out this impressive comic from Top Cow.

Even and Odd – Book Review

Even and Odd by Sarah Beth Durst

Synopsis:
Even and Odd are sisters who share magic. Lately, though, it seems like that’s the only thing they have in common. Odd doesn’t like magic, and Even practices it every chance she gets, dreaming of the day she’ll be ready to be a hero.

When the hidden border between the mundane world the sisters live in and the magical land they were born in shuts abruptly, the girls are trapped, unable to return home. With the help of a unicorn named Jeremy, they discover a wizard is diverting magic from the border to bolster her own power. Families are cut off from each other on both sides of the border, and an ecological disaster is brewing. But the wizard cares nothing for the calamitous effects her appropriation of magic is having. Someone has to do something to stop her, and Even realizes she can no longer wait until she’s ready: she needs to be a hero now.

Review:
Even and Odd are sweet sisters who get along well despite their differences. They have different dreams. But when magic begins to act strange, they find themselves stuck on the other side of a magical border, unable to get home. Their only other companion is an endearing unicorn named Jeremy.

I’m a fan of the author and have read most of her titles. This middle grade fantasy is full of colorful magic, engaging characters, and a bit of suspense. There are some fun twists along the way. Even and Odd is a fast-paced adventure with a lot of humor. Even has a penchant for getting stuck in the form of a skunk. And poor Jeremy can’t tell lies. This heartwarming tale is an easy read that the young (and young at heart) will certainly enjoy.

Curse of the Specter Queen – Book Review

Curse of the Specter Queen by by Jenny Elder Moke

Synopsis:
Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn’t return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam’s peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose – to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher – one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Review:
Samantha is a smart and determined young woman. And when she sees a problem that she can help with, nothing will stand in her way. Her character develops a lot through the course of the story as well, which I loved. She started out as timid and a bit of a pushover. But by the end, she’s taking control and coming into her own. The story is mysterious and exciting, with plenty of fun surprises along the way – even if one big reveal was fairly predictable. The characters are engaging and the plot is full of intrigue, suspense, a doomsday cult, and even a bit of fantasy. This is a fantastic new YA fantasy set in the 1920s with a strong female lead. And I really hope it’s picked up for a series.

Rogue: Untouched – Book Review

Rogue: Untouched: A Marvel Heroines Novel by Alisa Kwitney

Synopsis:
Young Rogue’s life is a mess: she’s on her own, working a terrible diner job and hiding from everyone. The powers she has started to develop are terrifying: when your first kiss almost kills the guy, it’s hard to trust anyone – even yourself. Then two people arrive in town who could change her life, and she finally gets a choice: try her luck with the big-haired billionaire who claims to be scouting for gifted interns, or trust the rakish Cajun gambler with the eerie red eyes. But these two aren’t the only ones interested in a mutant just coming into her powers. Rogue will have to master her abilities and decide her own fate – before someone else does.

Review:
Rogue discovers her powers by chance when she meets the dashing Remy. But when they find themselves captured by a mutant slave trade, she decides to hide her gift in order to find a way out for them. This is a fun and exciting new origin story for Rogue. It’s not an X-Men book, but fans will recognize several well-known characters from the comics. The story builds a slow burn with drama building to an exciting, power-packed show-down. With a thrilling plot with plenty of suspense and mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic, original Rogue novel.

This Marvel story is from a new publisher with several new and upcoming titles about familiar and some lesser known characters in the Marvel library. I can’t wait to read them all.

The Last Fallen Star – Book Review

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

Synopsis:
Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan!

Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.

Review:
The Last Fallen Star is the first in a middle grade fantasy series. I know nothing about Korean mythology, so this was a fun learning experience for me. Riley and her friend Emmett are relatable and engaging. In fact, I was hooked by the end of chapter one – and read every chance I had until I was finished. Riley goes on an epic journey to help save her sister, encountering mythical creatures, riddles, and new friends. There are several intriguing twists along the way, some more surprising than others, but the adventure is just as exciting. And Riley is a fantastic character – with great convictions, loyalty, and priorities. I highly recommend this debut with plenty of humor and heart.

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