Twin brothers are caught up in a war between two magically imbued factions in this ambitious yet muddled urban fantasy. In an alternate New York City, magic-wielding celestials have fallen out of public favor, though two kinds remain. Heroically inclined Spell Walkers, who seek to defend celestials, and Blood Casters, who steal their magic from mythical creatures. Latinx brothers Emil and Brighton Rey, 18, have always dreamed of manifesting powers. When Emil develops phoenix-based abilities, both Reys find refuge with the Spell Walkers, where they’re drawn into the group’s ongoing struggle for social justice. But they must thwart the Blood Casters’ plan to achieve immortality, a dangerous gambit that could shift the city’s power balance. Silvera (What If It’s Us) intertwines the brothers’ alternating narrative with superpowers, comic book–style action, and mythology, grounding the twins’ story in Brighton’s vlogging ambitions and Emil’s newfound celebrity. Though uneven worldbuilding sometimes keeps the story’s components from fully cohering, fans of Silvera’s inclusive casts and interpersonal dynamics are likely to be pleased. Ages 12–up. Agency: The Bent Agency; translation rights, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Jan.)
"With Infinity Son, Adam Silvera has created an immersive, mind-bending world built around a sibling relationship that is both thoughtful and heart-wrenching."
Gr 9 Up–In a departure from contemporary fiction, Silvera has created an exciting fantasy series opener about two very different Latinx twin brothers. Brighton, vlogger and superhero fan, hopes he'll evince celestial powers on his 18th birthday. His queer, fantasy-loving brother Emil prays they don't materialize in him. In this Bronx setting, where phoenixes are reborn and hydra and ghosts exist, celestial Spell Walker heroes battle evil alchemist Blood Casters. Both sides include a handful of young people with unique magical abilities. Villainous specters steal blood from celestials to re-create their power. Enforcers hunt down both specters and Blood Casters. Spell Walkers aren't universally loved and are being persecuted, particularly by presidential nominee Senator Irons. He holds Maribelle and the Spell Walkers responsible for the deaths of his wife and son. In a twist on the Chosen One trope, it's Emil's powers, not Brighton's, that manifest, but they're specter powers, not celestial. Brighton is jealous and vows to prove himself worthy, too. Bloodthirsty Luna, the Blood Casters' leader, seeks legendary Reaper's Blood to try to achieve immortality, as the Spell Walkers try to stop her. Despite the book's many characters, it's easy to keep everyone straight. Four characters narrate different chapters, allowing readers access to multiple points of view. VERDICT Fans of Cassandra Clare, Mackenzie Lee's Loki, Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart, Kiersten White's Slayer and Marissa Meyer's "Renegades" series will love this magical book that embodies it all: romance, heartbreak, deceit, shifting loyalties, revenge, power struggles, violence, and complicated origin stories.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Magic goes viral in Silvera's (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) fantasy debut. But can it win a war?
For brothers Brighton and Emil, their 18th birthday is "off to a rough start." The two dream of being celestials (people with magic abilities) but are reminded yet again that they're "painfully ordinary." Or are they? When potions dealers attack the brothers, Emil discovers that he has phoenix fire within. Brighton uploads a video of the fight online, propelling Emil—whom the celestial-obsessed dub "Fire-Wing"—to superstardom. The brothers find themselves caught in the crossfire between the heroic Spell Walkers, who fight for the end of celestial persecution, and the power-hungry Blood Casters, who gain magic by stealing it from creatures. With its raw, complex characters, Silvera's latest packs his signature high-stakes emotionalism alongside a politically charged premise. The alternate New York City setting mixes current tech (e.g., virtual reality and Instagram) with magical tech (e.g., wands and gem-grenades) to create a richly contemporary urban landscape. Though Silvera mostly switches between Emil's and Brighton's strong, first person, present-tense narration, the perspectives of a Spell Walker and a Blood Caster are also magnified. The cast primarily consists of people of color, several of whom are also queer (including Emil, who is gay).
A bright spark of a promising series. (Fantasy. 12-adult)