Review: Infinity Son (#1) by Adam Silvera

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Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

I love a lot of Adam Silvera’s work – They Both Die at the End and History is All You Left Me being my favourites. His emotion and magical realism is unlike most contemporary YA, and I love something with a twist! When I heard about his new fantasy project, I think I was among many excited readers. I missed out on grabbing an ARC of this when I wanted to at YALC last year, but managed to get one through my work as a bookseller a month or so ago. I was so excited to delve into a new fantasy world, but I sit here today sorry that I have been disappointed at the very least.

Unfortunately, Silvera included little to no world-building in Infinity Son. I could picture the world only because it seemed to be set in our own – but I could not picture much else. The character building was few and far between too, and I struggled the most with the magic system. I felt like I was clueless when it came to the different people and species. I couldn’t picture the phoenixes and had little to no understanding of their history, which left me utterly disappointed.

I’m going to a brief interval to focus on the good parts, as I hate to be so negative about an author I have mostly loved.

  • I love the family aspects of the book, and the brother relationship was great to read about.
  • I noticed the diversity and that Emil seemed to be vegan, which naturally I couldn’t help but love.
  • The plot was, if nothing else, entertaining. It was full of action scenes which I sped through and found very fun.

But is fun enough? Not in my book. Infinity Son has been one of my most hyped books for at least 6 months, and I was so happy to finally read it. The sheer disappointment I feel in this book falling so flat is what I disliked the most. I will definitely read Silvera’s future novels, but I don’t think I will be reading more in the Infinity Cycle.

★★
2 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?

If there are two people who are destined to write together, it’s Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. They go together like salt and pepper, and I love what came out of their partnership in What If It’s Us!

I’m a big fan of both authors and I felt their characters complimented each other perfectly, but still had their own voices. I could just about feel the differences between the way both characters were written that gave them each a unique feel.

“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship.”

I loved the plot! I remember Adam talking when I met him last week, and I know him and Becky really wanted to write about the difficult parts of relationships as they develop and not just the getting together part. I loved how this book tackled the struggles and not just the Broadway worthy scenes, and it made this book so relatable.

Arthur and Ben were just the cutest, but they were so flawed too! There were parts when I couldn’t help but feel like both of them were just being assholes, but that’s the charm of these characters. They’re so real, they mess up, they accept it, they move on.

“You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”

I also loved the side characters, friends and family! Not enough YA includes intimate family scenes and I love how their whole lives were included, as well as scenes at home. There’s a specific scene including both of Arthur and Ben’s parents, and it was so heartfelt and lovely.

The only slight issue I had with this book is that it took a long time for me to get into. Maybe 100/150 pages in I got it, but when I did get into this book I couldn’t stop reading! It took me almost a week to read 100 pages, and then a couple of days to read the last 300. So I’d definitely say it’s worth the wait.

★★★★
4 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. 
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. 
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

It’s rare that a book completely lives up to the hype, but this one really did. I went in with mixed expectations, having loved They Both Die at the End but had mixed feelings about More Happy Than Not. But this one is definitely up there, and even above my love for They Both Die at the End. It’s definitely been my favourite Silvera novel and I’m so excited for What if It’s Us!

“People are complicated puzzles, always trying to piece together a complete picture, but sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes we’re left unfinished.”

I found History is All You Left Me so raw and beautiful. It follows the story of Griffin, a boy who lost his first love and ex-boyfriend way too young. Griffin also suffers with OCD and I loved the way Silvera spoke about how he struggled through life with OCD. I found his disorder so believable and well written.

I began by having doubts about Jackson, but honestly I think that just shows how great the writing is, because I liked him more just as Griffin did, as they got to know each other throughout the book. I will openly admit I cried at least a couple of times throughout this story, and I closed the final page with tears in my eyes.

“Sometimes that’s for the best. Some pieces can’t be forced into a puzzle, or at least they shouldn’t be, because they won’t make sense.”

I also found the flashbacks really worked, and it definitely takes a talented author to write past and present like that! The plot also twisted and changed throughout, which isn’t too common in contemporary and it provided a reason to keep turning the pages. I really have to point out that I found this book perfect for reading in a couple of sittings. I usually have to have a break while I’m reading and I struggle to read in long sittings, but not with this book!

I just felt it would be very hard to get bored of the story, especially with the plot. I read most of the book on a long train journey and I finished it in 5 days! I honestly can’t find anything wrong with this book, and it’s going to have to be 5 stars. It’s beautifully written, emotional, honest and raw. What’s not to like?

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but for different reasosn, they’re both looking for a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day. 

All I could do while reading this book was compare it to More Happy Than Not. Because the difference is insane, and I loved loved loved this book! Firstly, it’s so unique, the way Silvera uses magical realism in his novels to change them up from being contemporary. It made They Both Die at the End so relatable and easy to read even though it wasn’t strictly real.

“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same..”

I found the characters so much easier to relate to than in More Happy Than Not. Mateo and Rufus come from very different backgrounds but they share their deepest thoughts and feelings in this book. They’re both very tender and real. Nothing is hidden in this book, and it’s so pure that I ended up with tears rolling gently down my cheeks. I’d been told to prepare myself, but I hardly ever cry at books! This one just couldn’t be helped.

“..No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”

The plot was so easy to follow and the pacing was so good, especially as this book is set over only 24 hours! I really admire authors who can fill a book with the events of just one or two days. I have to admit, I admire Silvera so much after reading this book. Knowing the main characters are going to die is so hard, because I’m sure some people have gone in with the ‘I don’t care what happens to them they die anyway’ attitude. But Silvera knocked this one out the park. He made two dying boys live.

★★★★
4.5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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