Nami Miyamoto is living her dream: She is headed to college in the fall, she loves her supportive family, and she just confessed her feelings to her longtime crush—and learned that he feels the same way. It seems like everything is falling into place. Then, on her way to a graduation party, Nami is unexpectedly and brutally murdered.
But that’s only the beginning of Nami’s story. Her consciousness is revived in Infinity, an afterlife ruled by an artificial intelligence assistant from Earth named Ophelia. (Think Siri or Alexa, but much more vengeful.) Determined to stop Ophelia’s plans to destroy humanity, Nami joins the rebellion. In the midst of their struggle, she must come to terms with what it really means to be alive.
It’s not surprising that a book set in an afterlife would grapple with weighty, philosophical themes, but the cerebral tone of The Infinity Courts sets it apart from its YA genre fiction peers. Ethereal and thoughtful, this story is as much about emotion as it is action. Nami is motivated by her feelings, which makes her a stubborn, sometimes reluctant hero. When she first arrives in Infinity, she must wrestle with grief, loss and forgiveness, all from the other side of her own death. Her participation in the rebellion is shaped by her ever-evolving beliefs about what defines good and evil during a war and who deserves to be saved.
Though Nami’s fellow rebels are outwardly committed to freedom, author Akemi Dawn Bowman (Summer Bird Blue) also establishes the internal desires that drive each of them. For example, Theo sympathizes with the humans Ophelia has captured, while Ahmet wants to retain as much of his humanity as he can. The narrative raises age-old questions about the individual versus the community but proposes a range of answers rather than one definitive solution. The shifting beliefs of Nami and the other rebels propel the plot forward while impressively reflecting the mutable, unpredictable nature of humanity.
Best known for realistic fiction, including her Morris Award finalist debut novel, Starfish, Bowman combines the psychological with the heart-pounding in her powerful leap into science fiction. Featuring an imaginative world, a terrifying villain and a complex heroine, The Infinity Courts is a mesmerizing series opener that’s sure to lead to a thrilling, expectation-shattering sequel.