The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman #bookreview #YA #fantasy

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. 

This is my first time reading this author, and I requested this book from NetGalley because of the stunning cover and wonderful reviews of her backlist.

Nami’s life is just beginning. She graduated high school, college is on the horizon, and she’s at the beginning of a romantic relationship with her best friend of several years. Then she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her life is cut short after a spontaneous act of bravery.

What an original spin on the afterlife. Ophelia, a virtual assistant used by many people, including Nami, is Queen of Infinity. Kind of makes you want to be nicer to Alexa and Siri when they can’t help you. There are also four territories, each ruled by a prince (Ophelia’s sons). Soon after dying and arriving in Infinity, Nami is taken in by a group of rebels fighting against Ophelia, and that’s when she started to annoy me. In spite of being a newcomer, she’s convinced she knows better than those who’ve been around much longer, and she jumps into situations headfirst before completely thinking things through. Many times. She has a strong moral compass and brings up thought-provoking questions about coexistence, forgiveness, and second chances, but the big picture eludes her at times. The supporting characters are well-drawn, and I especially enjoyed strong leader Annika and the mysterious Gil.

I wish I’d gotten to know a little more about Nami before her death – her interactions with family and friends, likes/dislikes, etc., but she’s thrown into the afterlife almost immediately. With heavy inner monologue, this is a lengthy read at nearly five hundred pages, and I found myself skimming over sections that were pretty similar. Just when Nami begins to understand what the rebels have been telling her, she’s blindsided. That ending? Didn’t see that twist coming – not even the shimmer of a hint. That alone upped my rating, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

With unique worldbuilding (who knew they had royal balls and wars in the afterlife?), political issues, and dystopian themes, The Infinity Courts will appeal to fantasy fans looking for a different landscape.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.