Infinity Son: Infinity Cycle, Book 1

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
Infinity Son: Infinity Cycle, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Diverse cast, complex characters shine in superhero fantasy.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Bonds of love, family, and loyalty may be tested, but brothers are forever. Some bonds are stronger than blood. Love and compassion trump hatred and fear. Heroes can inspire the rest of us to strive for peace. Knowing yourself, finding yourself, and being yourself is an important and lifelong journey.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Relatable main characters. Emil, a pacifist at heart, is sensitive and thoughtful; he desires to do the right thing. Brighton, an ambitious social media whiz and influencer, uses his platform for good, but he has a darker side, influenced by his bitterness about being non-magical. Most major characters are people of color, and several characters are queer, including Emil, whose being gay is an important part of his identity, but it's not central to the story. Women and nonbinary characters are as powerful and respected as male characters.

Violence

Several bloody battle scenes between magical beings, but blood is not always lifelike (e.g. silver or blue blood). Weapons include daggers, swords, flight, wind, fire darts, wands, super speed and strength, phasing through solids, gem grenades, and hand-to-hand fighting. A villain dies by being consumed by his own fire; scene may be disturbing to sensitive readers. A blood caster, Ness, who proves an ally to Emil in the end, uses an "infinity-ender" blade to cut/scar Emil so as to impair his phoenix powers; it's basically torture, though Ness almost immediately shows regret. Ness and Emil's evolving friendship is quite fraught/complicated because of this act. Characters face grave danger several times; a key character dies in a tragic way. Trauma of war has clear negative consequences for most characters.

Sex

There's mention of dating, romance, and committed relationships between same- and opposite-gender characters. No kissing or sex. Some attraction/romantic energy between Emil and another male character

Language

A few uses of "hell."

Consumerism

Instagram and YouTube are central to the story. References to a few other brands, such as Lyft.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Fantasy magic potions are treated somewhat like drugs in the real world: Non-magic users buy them to get illusions of having powers. Brighton considers buying some. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End) is the first book in his debut fantasy series, Infinity Cycle. A shocking revelation about Emil's identity pushes him and his twin brother, Brighton, into a war between magical beings that threatens to destroy everything they know and love. There are positive messages about love, compassion, family, and friendship. Sensitive Emil and ambitious Brighton are relatable characters. They have ups and downs as twins, but their loyalty shines and they aspire to make a positive difference. Most major characters are people of color, and several characters are queer, including Emil, though it's not central to the story. People of all genders are represented and respected. Bloody and deadly battle scenes between magical beings involve weapons such as daggers, flight, fire darts, wands, and gem grenades, as well as hand-to-hand fighting. Characters repeatedly face grave danger and a key character dies tragically. No kissing or sex, though two male characters appear attracted to one each other. Other characters are in same-gender and opposite-gender relationships. Strong language is limited to a few uses of "hell."

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Kid, 11 years old January 31, 2020

A well-written and intricate fantasy that anyone can enjoy

As a longtime reader and fan of Adam Silvera’s novels, Infinity Son did not disappoint! I would not normally have such high standards for a fantasy genre debut,... Continue reading

What's the story?

Told primarily in Emil and Brighton's alternating perspectives, INFINITY SON follows the twins as their lives get upended by a long-held secret about Emil's identity. They always dreamed of being celestials, or people with superhero abilities, but as their 18th birthday winds down, neither appears to have latent magical powers. When they're attacked by specters, Emil discovers he has phoenix fire, but this is not a celestial power; only specters gain this kind of magic by stealing it from magical creatures. Emil would never consume phoenix blood, but before they can unravel that mystery, Brighton, who hopes that his social media channels will make him famous, uploads a video of the fight online to his "Celestials of New York" platform, and Emil is launched into superstardom. The brothers find themselves caught in a generations-long war between the Spell Walkers, a superhero vigilante group fighting for the end of celestial persecution, and the Blood Casters, a group of specters who are seeking to create immortality. Emil, with the help of the Spell Walkers and support of his brother, might be the only person who can stop the Blood Casters from achieving their nefarious goal. A cliffhanger ending with a twist threatens Emil and Brighton's bond, as well as the safety of the world.

Is it any good?

This fast-paced, compelling story is a refreshing contribution to the superhero fantasy genre. Infinity Son has leads who are people of color, queer, and from various class backgrounds, so the cast is realistic and relatable. Emil is particularly compelling. His journey toward courage and self-love is captivating, especially contrasted to his brother's spiraling resentments that take him further away from Emil. This magic-heavy tale is grounded in a futuristic New York City that never feels far from reality. The constant use of social media and the political mess of the book means readers will be able to draw parallels to real life. Themes including the trauma of war, loss and grief, revenge, and the complexity of family relationships don't underestimate the teen reader's ability to handle hard realities. There is a fair amount of violence, but its fantasy context means that even high body count battles don't feel too gory. The death of a key character (and its aftermath) will be an emotional gut-punch, but a familiar one for anyone who has read Silvera's other books. The cliffhanger ending will keep readers on the lookout for the next book in this promising new series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the Spell Walkers and the Specters are fighting for in Infinity Son. How do Emil and Ness fit into their respective "sides"? How do they rebel against the roles they're expected to play?

  • How does the world of Infinity Son compare with other superhero worlds you've read about in books or seen in movies? How is the world of this book like our own? How is it different?

  • What did you think of Brighton's decision at the end? How do you think Emil and Brighton's relationship will change as a result of Brighton's choice in the following books of this series?

Book details

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For kids who love fantasy and magic

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