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.
The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)Featured
She wakes in Infinity, the afterlife where human consciousness goes. However, she is soon to learn that Infinity is anything but heavenly for humans. Controlled by an AI like Siri, Ophelia, humans are slaves or tortured by Residents, entities created by Ophelia. She is ever-searching for her own freedom, and it comes at the cost of the human afterlife. As Nami works with the rebellion on Infinity, she has many questions about the morality of this war and whether peace could be a better path forward, but sides must be chosen.
What I loved: This was an absolutely imaginative and brilliantly plotted book that I would describe as a cross between Upload and The Matrix. The world-building was really complex and unique. This afterlife is limited by the human mind, where they can theoretically control anything but in practice have specific affinities. Ophelia has created a world of four Courts, where humans are treated differently, and the Colony of the rebels is composed of people who have been exposed to two beyond Victory, the main Court in which they reside. Each of these were dark and twisty, and every glimpse we get is reminiscent of underworld-type scenarios.
The characters were also compelling, and I appreciated Nami's sweetness, empathy, and her desire to understand all sides. At times, she seemed naive, but this deep desire to believe in the good of others was also a strength in some ways. Other characters had complex and intriguing backstories that led to their own present thoughts and goals. I wanted to know as much as possible about each, because they were all so intriguing, and my only complaint would be of wanting to know even more - so I am really excited to see this will be the first in a series.
The themes of the book were thought-provoking, and I found it quite intriguing and philosophical at times about defining humanity and what sets us apart from others, the meaning of love, the ambiguity of morality and good/evil, imagining the afterlife, and forgiveness. This would be a great pick for book groups, as there is a lot to ponder and discuss, and there are no easy answers.
This was an absolutely riveting read - I finished it in less than a day because I could not put it down. I had to know what would happen next and find more answers. I also really enjoyed that the ending completely threw me for a loop (twice) with some major surprises that blew my mind. These shocking revelations have me incredibly eager to continue the next book in the series.
Final verdict: Immersive, imaginative, and intriguing, THE INFINITY COURTS is a fascinating and thought-provoking YA fantasy that questions humanity, morality, and the afterlife. Highly recommend for fans of THE KINGDOM, THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US, and HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS.