I really struggled with Infinity. The storyline was hard to follow, there was no climax, Kenyon’s characters threw me off with their names and speech patterns, and I think the synopsis just made Infinity seem so much cooler than it actually was. I put Infinity down at least three times while trying to think of what else I could do besides reading it… did I have homework? Papers to read for journal club? Anything? (Can I just not take a breather today?) There’s so much I found unsatisfying with Infinity, but I’ll just list a few things, or else this will turn into a legit paper and I might need to charge you for reading this or pay a million bucks to print those gifs in color. #gradschoolproblems
Fourteen-year-old Nick Gautier lives with his mom, who works as a stripper trying to make ends meet for Nick and herself. Nick gets bullied at school where he’s the only scholarship kid among the rich kids, and he has the worst luck ever – when he tries to stop his friends from mugging an old couple, his friends beat him up and try to shoot him. Fortunately, Nick is saved by Kyrian Hunter, a mysterious, rich man who offers to front Nick’s hospital bills and give him a salary as long as Nick works for him everyday after school for a year. Stranger things start happening, as all the jocks at school start turning into cannibalistic zombies, and Nick is exposed to the bustling supernatural life in New Orleans. He meets Nekoda, a new girl at school who he’s starting to fall for; Ash, an immortal; demons and werewolves; and Squires and Dark Hunters under the power of goddess Artemis, all of whom are in a centuries-long war. Nick is a Malachai, and therefore the key to victory in that war; and while he attempts to control his emerging powers, others around him try to sway him between good and evil.
First of all, the uniqueness of the characters’ names really throws me off; Acheron Parthenopaeus (Ash), Nicholas Ambrosius Gautier, Nekoda Kennedy, Kyrian Hunter, Kyi Poitiers, Madaug St. James, etc. are names that just don’t roll off my tongue nicely, and I had a hard time trying to pronounce the names in my head and trying to remember that “Kody” is short for “Nekoda” and that “Gautier” is pronounced “Go-shay” and not “Go-tee-ay”. I know Kenyon is trying to set the mood for a paranormal novel and make her characters memorable, but it just doesn’t work for me.
The characters themselves also bug me because of the way they speak – Nick and his mom shift from speaking very properly to suddenly developing N’awlins accents, while other (apparently) more mature characters casually use chat acronyms such as “WTH”, “SOB”, and “FYI”.
And if there’s one character that I can’t connect with, it has to be Nick. Nick has a lot of spunk and humor, which leads to many hilarious conversations between him and his family, friends, and enemies. However, Nick is distracted by all the girls in the story because they all look really hot, and he ends up drooling over them or smelling them or doing something else weird when he gets close to them. Example one:
Nick looked up at the softest, sweetest voice he’d ever heard. His stomach hit the ground.
Dressed all in pink, she was gorgeous, with silky brown hair and green eyes that practically glowed.
Oh. My. God.
Nick wanted to speak but all he could do was try not to drool on her.
It was Brynna Addams dressed in a pretty blue dress and cream sweater. With her dark hair held back from her face by a thin lacy headband, she looked like an absolute angel. One that didn’t belong in the run-down crap hole that was their house.
He stopped dead in his tracks, bug-eyed.
Every male hormone in his body fired as he saw what had to be the sexiest chick in New Orleans. A couple of years older than him, she was amazing. The good news was she totally distracted him from his pain.
Example fo-fine, I’ll stop. But you get the point, right? Maybe I just can’t connect with teenage boys, but maybe Kenyon’s fictional world is just full of hot chicks. I also feel that as a character, Nick doesn’t develop much in the book; he just started to use his powers near the end of Infinity, so there’s not much to work with.
The storyline… oh, the storyline. I don’t know what happened to it. One of the first major events in Infinity is that Nick’s delinquent “friends” beat him up and try to shoot him. Nick’s thoughts:
I won’t die like this. Not beaten in a gutter by people who’re supposed to be my friends. Guys I’ve known and played with my whole life. I won’t.
Wait, that basically means they’ve been his friends for a long time, right? So why are they suddenly being jerks?
The fact that New Orleans is full of supernatural beings is introduced just as quickly. One moment Nick is trying to believe that his classmates are suddenly turning into zombies, and another moment someone nonchalantly tells Nick that Nick’s biggest bully is a werewolf. I would’ve expected Nick to be in shock or strong denial (I know I would be!), but he just accepts things for the way they are. The main event in Infinity, the zombie attack, just goes on forever and ever and ever, and by that point, I didn’t want to keep reading anymore. I did make it to the last page, but all that I was left with was more foreshadowing and premonitions about Nick and his powers.
I think Kenyon is getting ahead of herself in Infinity; the foreshadowing in the prologue about Nick’s grudge against Ash is never realized, Nekoda’s and a lot of other characters’ roles are never fully explained, and I don’t even know who’s good and who’s evil by the end of the book. I didn’t connect with the characters at all, and the storyline didn’t stimulate my interest.
It was only after I finished reading Infinity that I realized Kenyon based this series off of her “Dark-Hunter” series, so people who have read that series might’ve understood this book more. Since I’m an optimist, I’ll probably continue reading the rest of the books in this series AFTER I take some real breathers, so hopefully it gets better! Please tell me it gets better, because I can’t deal with this bad aftertaste. 😦