Infinity

Infinity

Although I had never heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon prior to being recommended this novel, a bit of research has shown me that she a well-regarded, bestselling author. She is best known for writing the Dark Hunter series – an adult fantasy series which spans twenty-five novels – as well as many more books set around the same universe. The Chronicles of Nick is one of her more recent serials, a prequel/spin-off series aimed at young adult readers that focuses on the youth of one of her reoccurring characters. The Chronicles of Nick currently spans five novels – Infinity (2010), Invincible (2011), Infamous (2012), Inferno (2013) and Illusion (2014) – with a sixth planned for release in 2015. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at Infinity only.

Fourteen year old Nick Gautier has not had the happiest of upbringings. Although charming, intelligent and quick-witted, he has been raised in poverty by a single mother due to the fact that his father is a convicted killer. At school, he is frequently in trouble as he is constantly bullied by rich kids who make fun of his shabby clothes and his mother’s job as an exotic dancer. However, his life is forever changed one night when some of his supposed friends turn on him and leave him close to death.

Nick is rescued by a wealthy business man called Kyrian Hunter and offered a part time job working for him in order to pay off his medical bills. Although Nick is at first reluctant, when he learns just how much Kyrian is willing to pay him he jumps at the chance. However, it is at this time that weird stuff begins to happen at his school. Members of the football team have begun to turn into living zombies, savagely attacking anyone that stands in their way.

Even more surprising for Nick is that he is the only person to find this weird. Slowly, he begins to realise that everyone he knows seems to be hiding something from him. He soon learns that vampires, demons and other creatures of the night really do stalk the streets of New Orleans. To make things even stranger, it seems as though he is one of them. Within him lurks an unimaginable power and all manner of creatures now hunt for him, desperate to harness his strength and use it to their own ends.

I have never read a novel by Sherrilyn Kenyon and therefore believe that I am approaching The Chronicles of Nick in the way that many of its readers should. As both a prequel series and a young adult novel, it is clear that its target audience is people that have never read any of the Dark Hunter books before. Because of this, I would expect for Infinity to be a gentle introduction to the way that Kenyon’s universe works, introducing various concepts and characters in a way that could be grasped by a new reader. Unfortunately, this is not what this novel gave me.

Infinity throws the reader in at the deep end, name dropping different races and factions without giving much in the way of an explanation as to just what on earth is going on. I’m not even 100% sure who the bad guys are supposed to be the story as every faction that Nick encounters tells him that all of the others are out to corrupt him. As most of the book is told from Nick’s perspective, it is never entirely clear who is being honest and who is not. I thought that maybe some hints would be given one way or another before the end of the story but, alas, I was still just as in the dark by the time I reached the final page.

Characters within the story are similarly weak. So many secondary characters were introduced within the tale that I had a very hard time remembering who was who. Every chapter seemed to introduce at least three new people to the mix, spending time giving them names and brief descriptions, often for them to then vanish without a trace. I assume that many of these characters had just popped by from Dark Hunter for a cameo and, while this might be nice for fans of the Dark Hunter series, when we remind ourselves that Infinity is aimed at younger readers who will never have heard of these other characters before it shows that this story fails to make the world accessible to a new reader.

The only character that I felt any real attachment to was Nick, as he did provide a relatable lead. Although sometimes his reactions seemed a trifle unrealistic (he does not even blink when he hears that a student has just eaten a teacher), he generally spoke with a realistic teen voice and some of his retorts provided the most entertaining parts of the novel. Beyond Nick, however, characterisation was very flat. A couple of the characters – particularly Bubba and Simi – were very entertaining and likable yet I felt that I learned nothing about them. They had no personalities or character depth. All characters within the novel were either there to antagonise Nick or to offer witty banter while holding back vital information from him.

Most disappointing of all of the characters was Nekoda. Although she was set up as Nick’s love interest early in the story, she just did not appear in the novel enough to make this believable. She only shows up in a couple of chapters and does not do much more than lend him a Gameboy yet somehow Nick falls head over heels in love with her. Hints that she is more than just an ordinary school girl also go nowhere in this novel. I expect that this will play a greater role as the series progresses as nothing was made on it within this one.

The story itself was also unbalanced and needlessly convoluted. This was in part due to the enormous cast, but also due to the fact that there were many plot tangents that did not go to anything. Nekoda’s plans for Nick, Artemis’s plans for Nick, Ambrose’s plans for Nick, Adarian’s plans for Nick – all were eluded to within the novel and yet did not go anywhere in the end. Some aspects of these subplots were very curious and made me want to read further (I would like to know what the event in Nick’s future that Ambrose is trying to prevent is) but on the whole the lack of any kind of development to these threads just added complexity to an otherwise very simple plot.

The primary story line – a video game turning kids into zombies – had the feel of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. While this could have been a light and entertaining read, it just failed to be captivating on the whole. The writing of the zombie sections just seemed to be a little too sloppy. Fight sequences lacked any kind of intensity and were often resolved by the last minute appearance of Nick’s friends. The text was made all the more clunky by the addition of many passages of text that told the reader what the different characters were feeling, rather than showing it through their actions. For example, we are told many times that Nick is an intelligent boy and that he goes to such a posh school because he’s there on a scholarship. However, he never once does anything to show that he is particularly clever. Based on actions alone, you would never get the impression that he was supposed to be bright. The overall quality of writing also seemed to be a bit young, often feeling as though it was targeted at a middle grade audience rather than teenagers.

Anyhow, I’m starting to ramble so I’ll wrap this one up. Although there are glimpses of a bigger story within Infinity that gives me hope that the series will improve, I unfortunately did not rate this novel too highly. The text was clumsy and overly descriptive and the author dragged far too many characters and concepts from her adult series without doing anything to ease a younger reader into her established universe. Perhaps if I had read the Dark Hunter series I would have a greater appreciation for this novel but, as this series is intended to be a prequel, if this is the case it would just further show that Infinity fails at its intended function.

Infinity can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook and Audio Book on Amazon.co.uk

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Turhan
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 18:09:13

    Are you trying to make me jealous with that HP sauce?

    Reply

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