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The Infinity Courts

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A smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity.

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.

465 pages, Hardcover

First published April 6, 2021

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About the author

Akemi Dawn Bowman

19 books1,325 followers
Akemi Dawn Bowman is a critically-acclaimed author who writes across genres. Her novels have received multiple accolades and award nominations, and her debut novel, STARFISH, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. She has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and currently lives in Scotland with her family. She overthinks everything, including this bio. You can find Akemi on Instagram @AkemiDawnBowman.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 966 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.5k followers
May 1, 2022
i must have done something good in another life because i have no idea how else i lucked out to get an ARC of this. it wasnt even on my 2021 release radar, but i am absolutely blown away.

this gave me everything i have been craving recently - a band of rebels, a compelling enemy, a unique world, root-worthy characters, engaging writing, and a high-stakes plot. there was actually a scene where my jaw DROPPED. its one of the most shocking moments i have read in a book in a long time.

honestly, if you told me marie lu wrote this, i would have believed you. this story feels like it came from a seasoned writer of the genre, so i am very impressed. this is an absolute must read when it comes out in a few months!

such a massive thanks to simon & schuster publishing for the ARC!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,952 followers
January 28, 2022
*ARC sent by the publisher -Simon & Schuster- for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

ATTENTION! if you're interested in some afterlife, magical cyberpunk, Westworld meets Warcross goodness filled with rebel groups, high stakes plot, and captivating characters, that will leave you with something to think about-- I introduce this book to you :)

[5/13/21: Goodreads got glitchy again and deleted my review for this book so this is me reuploading it; would recommend you check out your review for this book to if you have left one]

my mind is completely REELING right now…

AHHHHH. I’m still trying to process what I just went through. There was really one page that I feel like I read 20 times and I-- the way this whole book ended had me questioning everything. It's not perfect but this was the good time I needed.

"Infinity was never built for you. It was built for dreamers."

It’s about being attached to what keeps you human and how different people see that; that in an era of technology filled with infinite possibilities… we need to remember that we are still imperfect… but that’s what makes us real.

I went from a 4.0 -> 4.25 for the sole reason that the ending just lives in my head rent-free

“I’m not sure destroying something we don’t understand is how we prove we deserve to survive.”

A lot of cultures believe that death is when you get to rest and live in peace, but what happens when you get to the afterlife and it isn't? It was cool to see that play out and I love the writing style in the sense that it really picks up the pacing and manages to build a world in a very short amount of time. It's really hard to do world-building, plot, and make people care for the characters all at once but boy WAS I HOOKED. I do think there could have been better world-building and more time spent on character relationships but given the span of the pages, I'm far from saying I didn't enjoy it. I audibly gasped at multiple scenes despite everything.

This is the most surprising book I have read so far this year (in the best way possible) and the first book I binged through in a while... and it was FUN. After all the recent books I read, this felt like a breath of fresh air. I loved what Akemi Dawn Bowman chose to focus on in the story and it played out so well in my opinion. It was wholesome but dreamy and we all need that kind of story sometimes.

“You don’t have to be special to be important.”

Nami struggles with complicated feelings about the new world that she is in. She's relatable, makes mistakes, and feels entirely human. She isn't a pushover and constantly questions everything and you're just going to be trying to figure out what's going on the whole time that there's no time to build theories. And either way, you're probably going to be wrong xD

I really thought the plot was going to go one way and then it didn't and my brain is still in disbelief T_T

“So next time, don’t think about being anyone other than who you are. Because our ability to control our consciousness? That’s the most human thing in the world.”

At first, I thought that this had one of my least favorite magic systems, what I like to call: “just because” magic systems. This means when some people have powers “just because” they have them without any background or structure/origin but turns out that wasn't the case and I actually found the concept of their "powers" to be quite original. I do think there were some missed chances on creating more complexity but I really was just in it for the fun.

The writing style has its humor and is easy to get through while still possessing nuance. The way character relationships and dynamics were written was compelling enough that I couldn’t put this book down. It explores different mentalities and reactions when it comes to war — which is always one of my favorite themes in fantasy because there are so many views and discussions that can be derived from it — mixing that with a science fiction story about the afterlife... *chefs kiss*

There were nuanced discussions on human belief and having to question “good” and “evil”, and whether certain actions can be justified.

"Maybe the world could be like that too. A mixture of ideas. A placed where we could all coexist."

I’m trying to avoid spoilers but I like that we saw how Nami's mindset gradually grew into what it was and it wasn’t something that was just dumped.

There were a few and very specific times when I thought that Nami’s beliefs didn’t match her actions, like when she’s willing to take down certain people when a few pages ago she was against the idea and so I just found that quite odd. Her mind just kept shifting but it was in very select circumstances and I do get why it was written like that. Again, it made her human and entirely relatable. I usually like more descriptive writing and there were times when it was cheesy... but there was a point where I stopped caring about the cheesy one liners.

may I also bring your attention to: a SLOW BURN ROMANCE THAT DOESN’T FOCUS ON THE ROMANCE!! the “romance” wasn’t even necessarily a subplot or anything, it was literally just there but at the same time it wasn’t, if that makes sense... just how I like my fantasy

↣ If you’re someone who likes stories of science fictional rebel groups… honestly the whole atmosphere of this book reminds me of Star Wars if it was set in the afterlife rather than in space... you’re gonna enjoy this one. Especially if you’re looking for Sci-Fi that doesn’t have too many new terms to familiarize yourself with, I think this is a good place to start. ↢


The fact that it's about dreamers longing for a place to belong... a theme I am so in love with, I was there for everything from beginning to end. My heart is literally broken right now and I am SHAKING to get the next book.

“I wonder if infinity is enough time to heal a broken heart.”

...I truly wonder. Sorry for the long review, hehe.

— 3.75 —
⇢ content warnings// (Death, Gun Violence, References to Torture, Threat)

✧ you can find this review and more on my blog
Profile Image for Akemi Dawn Bowman.
Author 19 books1,325 followers
November 20, 2021
I left an author note on this one pre-publication, but it looks like it somehow got deleted. So just a reminder that:

1. This book is the first in a trilogy.
2. It has enemies-to-lovers.
3. It's a mash-up of superpowers, robots, and Jane Austen (ie, all the things I love).

Thank you, readers. Infinitely grateful to all of you for being the reason I get to keep writing stories <3
Profile Image for Lucie V..
973 reviews1,788 followers
May 18, 2022
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Simon & Schuster Canada). All thoughts and opinions are my own.

✅ Gorgeous cover
✅ World-building/original concept
✅ Rebel group/spying
✅ Action
✅ Engaging writing
✅🆗 Characters
🆗 Romance
🆗 Ending

I was really (pleasantly) surprised by this book. There is a feisty band of rebels, a compelling and complex enemy, a unique world-building, and a high-stakes plot. The writing is engaging, and I got hooked up from the very first chapter. The concept is so interesting! It’s like imagining that we die, only to realize that Siri has taken over the afterlife and is turning humans into mindless servants. It is a good blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and I definitely recommend reading it!

“Infinity was never built for you; it was built for dreamers.”

Infinity was created from human consciousness because it needed somewhere to go after the physical body died. When Nami is killed on her way to a party, she wakes up in Infinity, and gets involved, despite herself, with a group of human rebels fighting to destroy the evil AI queen Ophelia.

"Fundamentally, we want the same thing.
So why can't we be on the same side?"

Nami struggles a lot with her allegiance in the fight opposing rebel humans and Residents (dead humans who have accepted to give up their free will and obey AI queen Ophelia). She wants to help the humans to regain their freedom, but she is opposed to the idea of killing every single Resident to achieve it. She wants to believe and hope that some Residents can be redeemed and could learn to coexist with the humans if given the chance.

“I’m not sure destroying something we don’t understand is how we prove we deserve to survive.”

She also feels like an outsider because even among the humans, she stands out. She is the only one believing that peace might be possible, or that some Residents should be given a chance to redeem themselves or show that they are not all horrible. The Resistance wants her to just hate the Residents without any questions, but Nami clings to the hope that there might be a better solution than extermination.

"Does feeling bad for monsters make me a monster?"

I love how Nami continued to hope, even though everyone was telling her how wrong she was and how she appeared to be their enemy because of what she was saying. On the other hand, she was a little naïve at times, and she refused to listen to people who had had years and even centuries of experience in Infinity because she thought she knew how to peacefully solve the ongoing conflict, and she thought she was the only one who could see things clearly. I admit that I had trouble connecting with her because of that.

There is a touch of romance in The Infinity Courts, and it’s a hate-to-love kind so I was super excited when I saw where it was going, but at the same time, it felt as if we skipped the whole “developing feelings and changing my mind about you” part. The romance just suddenly was part of the story. So even though I adore the hate-to-love trope, the development of Nami and Gil’s relationship was not especially good and left me a little disappointed.

The beginning of the story is fast-paced, and it keeps moving. There is a good mix of action, politics, spying, and self-reflection. I couldn’t stop reading once I started, and it only got more addictive as the story went on. The last 50 pages had me at the edge of my seat. There is a huge plot twist near the end, and I love plot twists, especially since I did not see that one coming at all. I honestly am not sure how I feel about the ending though. It is not a bad ending, but it does not feel satisfying at all, especially after everything that happened in the book, it is one of the downsides of this book, but besides that, I really enjoyed it.

"Maybe the world could be like that too. A mixture of ideas. A placed where we could all coexist."

Fanarts by Cylène Corpier

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Profile Image for Elizabeth (Plant Based Bride).
411 reviews3,752 followers
May 31, 2021
Ok, I’m sad.

This book was *not* what I expected.

I was so excited to read this. The premise is right up my alley: A SFF YA with a biracial AAPI protagonist that takes place in the afterlife which has been conquered by fictional-Siri?? Amazing. Stunning. Can’t wait.

And in the beginning, I had hope. But Nami died a few pages in and it was all downhill from there.

This book hit so many of my personal pet peeves that listing them all would be exhausting, but in the name of the common good I’ll do my darnedest.

1. There is little to no world-building. This book is nearing 500 pages and I could not tell you anything about the afterlife other than the fact that it's split into four "courts" and run by attractive AIs who are obsessed with being like humans while simultaneously wiping them out.

2. The writing style is drowning in metaphor and simile and the result is melodrama. A few examples (not hard to find, there are as many as 4 per paragraph):

"My heart crumbles to ash..."

"I feel the sting of her words like paper cuts all over my skin..."

"(discarding me) like I’m an empty bottle or a used up battery.”

I love a good metaphor or simile, seriously, sign me up, but when every other sentence opts for elementary flowery language over actually telling the damn story I'm gonna get annoyed.

3. This book contains all of your favourite YA tropes! The chosen one, the gruff tough love interest who is only soft for MC, insta-love, MC catches the eye of a prince, a whole war/rebellion sits upon the shoulders of a teenager... I could go on. But I'm tired. Is this what being old feels like?

4. Our protagonist feels several years younger than her age. Nami is apparently 18, but she acts like an immature 15-year-old throughout. This book seems better suited to a middle-grade audience than a young adult one.

5. I have never read a more repetitive book in my life. If I told you that LITERALLY EVERY CHAPTER the MC is musing over the exact same conundrums and asking herself the exact same questions, often worded in the exact same ways, would you believe me? Well you should, because it's true. I felt like I didn't even know our main character by the end of the book because she only ever had the same 4 thoughts in her internal monologue. Thinking about gruff boy, reminding herself that she's a big sister, wondering if AIs deserve to live, too, and wondering what to wear. For real, that's it. She's in an afterlife that's been taken over by AI after being murdered for god sake and this is the extent of what's in her head??

(If you haven't been deterred from reading this one, yet, I dare you to take a shot every time Nami thinks "Is this what's waiting for May? For my family??" and report back. Or maybe don't. You might die depending on your reading speed).

6. Nami is as sanctimonious and holier than thou as it gets. She's selfish, stuck in her perception of what's right and wrong, judgemental, and willing to endanger everyone around her on a whim. She's also constantly contradicting herself.

7. There are no stakes. We're supposed to worry about these characters dying... except... they're already dead. This is the afterlife. Maybe it's just the atheist in me, but do they really need to "live" forever? Seems like the afterlife is kind of a drag, tbh. I'll take oblivion for 500, Alex.

8. Nami doesn't understand the concept of developing new relationships and it's exhausting. She’s like, “they’re not my parents or siblings but maybe it’s ok to care about them?” Have you never heard of a fucking friend, Nami??? Good lord.

9. This book ends in the classic "gotta hook readers so they'll read the sequel" way that always pisses me off. In my humble opinion, even a book that is part of a series should have a satisfying end. This book's ending felt like someone ripped out the last few pages.


I'm worked up now so I'll switch to the positives for a sec. I liked the concept and the twist was kind of interesting.

Ok, that's it.

So, yeah. I'm sad.

Actually, scratch that. I'm mad.

This book had SO MUCH potential and it squandered it in the most baffling way.

Would not recommend unless you feel like being irrationally angry for several days.

Trigger Warnings: death

VIDEO RANT REVIEW: (coming soon)

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Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,659 reviews5,138 followers
Want to read
July 22, 2020
I see Akemi's name on a book and I literally do not even care what the book is about. It could be about basically ANYTHING and I would read it and love it because Akemi is brilliant and I adore her. ♥ That said... this sounds AWESOME.
Profile Image for Hilly.
701 reviews1,262 followers
Shelved as 'dnf-zone'
August 27, 2021
Dnf 26%

I am so sad this didn’t work for me. I’ve been waiting for this book for 2+ years so the disappointment is real. I’ve debated dnfing this book for literally 3 days before having the courage to actually do it, because I feel so bad about it it’s not even funny.
This is just such basic YA and I have no patience for these kinds of plot anymore. It’s not like I was hating it or something, there was simply nothing that kept my attention high enough to want to reach the end. I know myself well enough as a reader to predict I would give this one a 3/2.5 star rating and I don’t feel like it’s fair to keep going.
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,127 followers
May 13, 2021
I wanted to like this. I wanted to love it. And for the first few chapters, I completely did. I liked the character and the writing and the world of the afterlife seemed so cool and new. I was so excited to keep reading. So I did. And then I stopped liking it.

I struggled with the characters and the pacing and the repetitiveness of the story and its themes.

First, the characters. All the side characters felt generic to me. All were very tropey, I knew how each of them would turn out from the moment they are introduced. Then there was Nami, the MC. I thought I was really going to like her, based on her introduction when she was still alive, and even a bit after she died and entered the afterlife. Then she became annoying to me. She constantly went on about how she's not a hero, yet has such a raging hero complex. I love that she's selfless at times and willing to sacrifice herself for others, but the fact that she's so focused on saving a single random individual that she's willing to endanger the entire community angered me.

The main issue I had with the MC is one that ties into the story's repetitiveness that I mentioned. Nami brought up a lot of moral questions throughout the novel on what it means to be human and who deserved a second chance. Nami also acknowledged that the bad guys also had some valid points and that perhaps they too deserved their freedom, maybe even at the cost of humans. All of this was great. I love when books like this bring up the morals of their actions and actually acknowledge the villain's side.

Except that every other chapter there at least one paragraph of Nami going through this same moral crisis in her head and each time it was exactly the same. It was exhausting hearing her repeat the same inner monologue and same moral questions over and over. There was no subtlety. The author really beats you over the head with this and doesn't let the reader draw their own conclusion and morals.

Then there were the relationships between the characters. They somehow took forever and yet felt rushed. So much happened and yet nothing happened. Their relationships developed over a long period of time, and yet very suddenly. I don't know how else to explain that.

The worldbuilding was cool in concept but I have so many questions. Too much was just vaguely explained. Too many things weren't explained at all. And I usually don't care if a book had vague world-building, but when a story's plot is so heavily entwined with the world, I'm going to need more info.

Throughout the book, I kept thinking I might give the book at least three stars but then I put it down one day because it was dragging and forgot about it for almost a week. I had no interest in going back to it. I had honestly forgotten I was reading it. And when a book means so little to you that you have no desire to even keep going, that's not a three-star book. Continuing to read it felt like a drag afterward, I just wanted it to end. The last few chapters did pick up a bit, but by then, I was just tired.

Overall, this was an ok book. The writing style was fine. The concept was super interesting. But this just wasn't for me. I hope you all have better luck with it. I wasn't really feeling it with this one and won't be reading book two.

Rating: 2.5/5

**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Profile Image for Alex (The Scribe Owl).
349 reviews109 followers
May 30, 2021
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you to the lovely May @ Dreamer of Books and Coffee for buddy reading with me!

4.5/5 stars

The Infinity Courts is an imaginative take on the afterlife with complicated characters and plot twists that will keep you guessing!

At first, I presumed this book would be your run-of-the-mill evil AI story. But The Infinity Courts is so much more than that! It brings up some deeper questions while still being a fun sci-fi novel. It's probably one of my favorite books of the month!

After Nami dies she wakes up in a strange place called the Infinity Courts, where an AI assistant from Earth, Ophelia, has taken over as that strange afterlife as its queen. Humans are offered a pill that is supposed to take their pain away, but little do they know that it's actually a ruse to steal their consciousnesses and turn them into servants, much like Ophelia was on Earth. When Nami refuses the pill, she is rescued by rebels who, with their intact consciousnesses, intend to take down the AIs and regain the afterlife for the humans.

The one element I wasn't 100% on was the worldbuilding. I love the idea of the worldbuilding and I love most of the execution, but I had a few questions. For example, if this is an afterlife why aren't there more old people? That is the most common age to die. If these are all the dead people ever, why aren't there people from different time periods? It requires a suspension of belief, which is something I'd rather not have to do.

I really enjoyed Nami as an MC. She brought up some important questions that are normally glossed over in this kind of story. Do a few bad people doom the whole group? Just because AI are artificial, does that mean they aren't people too? Though that might have even been overplayed, I like that those questions were brought to mind. I could have done without all the sacrifice-everyone-for-one-stranger shtick that she had going, but I did like her compassion.

This was a very thought-provoking read. But not annoyingly so; the sci-fi elements take care of that. But it was thought-provoking in the way that all books about death are. Life's greatest mystery, no? There were also some questions raised by our main character about the AI that I really enjoyed and believe can be applied to real life too.

I was enjoying the story, but the moment I knew that I was going to rate this book five stars instead of four-and-a-half was when all the plot twists started dropping like bombs in the last 10%. I mean...what? How on earth am I supposed to wait until 2022 for book two now?

All in all, I loved this book. I would highly recommend it, and you better believe I'm buying a physical copy ASAP!
Profile Image for kaylie!.
358 reviews72 followers
April 16, 2021
This book is like a rollercoaster. You make the slow and steady ascendent, and then, all of a sudden, you come crashing downwards. It's thrilling, exciting, and utterly terrifying.

In this book, you meet Nami who has the perfect life planned out. She's got a supportive family, friends, and a date to go to. But that all is unended when she is murdered. She then wakes up and finds herself in Infinity, where the human consciousness goes after death. She is thrust into the middle of a rebellion and struggles to find her place.

The Infinity Courts does what other rebellion-driven story has done. It makes you question your reality and feelings, like "Is the "bad side" truly bad?" This book toys with the idea of morality, and what it means to be a good person, a theme highly relevant in the real world right now. It also deals with the ethics of wiping out an entire race. I bring that up because I tend to see the idea of genocide "glorified" in some fantasy books and I love how Bowman approached the topic.

This blends into my next point. Nami. I truly think Nami is the best main character I have ever read about. I love how human she is, her strong morals, and her empathy. It's been so long since I have deeply related to the main character like I did with Nami. She finds herself between two sides and never once villainizes them. Her strong morals make her an outcast in the rebellion but she never changes.

I loved all the relationships in this book. The found family within the rebellion was so refreshing to see and Nami and Gil's relationship- Ugh enemies to lovers perfection. Gil keeps Nami centered and I loved seeing their relationship progress.

NOW THE ENDING. PAIN. Okay so, I am not often surprised and ending because I can usually predict them. But this one hit me like a truck. I audibly gasped and it left me desperately wanting the next book.

This is honestly my favorite read of the year so far and I will never be the same after this...

Profile Image for elhyza.
240 reviews288 followers
June 17, 2021
“Infinity was never built for you; it was built for dreamers.”

4.5☆ — I'm in so much pain just sick to my stomach. akemi dawn bowman please pay for my therapy??!?!! no because like I knew I was bound to love this book so much as Bowman has become one of my favorite authors. Her way with writing, she always knows how to make words hit on such a deep personal level. Let me just get this out of the way because THE PLOT TWIST genuinely ruined my life, I'm utterly rendered speechless still reeling from it. But wow just wow, the world-building was so dazzling to read with this new take on consciousness in the afterlife. There's some particular lines on how humanity treats each other and it's powerful hitting especially in times of right now. I felt for Nami so much, at first I wish she could go back to life because she still had so much life to live, but I'm glad she found her footing in Infinity and found family. She was frustrating at times but I wasn't that frustrated because I understood her, why she always sees the good in people and always looks for alternative routes not wanting blood on her hands. This is only the second Bowman book I've read but I've noticed this with her mcs like they can be frustrating, but not because knowing what they've been through and putting yourself in their shoes you know where they're coming from with how they feel.

The romance in this book though definitely a big factor in getting me through it not gonna lie, Nami and Gil literally had me going insane at every turn with all of their moments. They served somewhat grumpy/sunshine trope with Gil kind of a pain at first as he was hesitant to trust her at all especially with Nami seeing the good in the Colony's enemies. Their slow burn and tension done so well, especially the angst seeing similar emotional scars in each others' souls, and once they started to soften up and feelings grown they served cute tropes that gave me that buzz. Ophelia is an interesting big bad, I'm interested in seeing more of her. It was Ophelia's dialogue on what she's concluded about humans, their emotions and treatments of each other that was an authentic truth to world events as of right now. Would rant more about all the characters especially Gil, Annika, Theo, Shura, and Ahmet making up Nami's found family in the Colony who mean the world to me and then the intriguing Resident princes like Caelan and Ettore. Infinity Courts just shocked me to the core I don't think I'll be recovering any time soon til the sequel next year. Pitched as Warcross meets Black Mirror fans of those and fans of Bowman's previous books will definitely find this a captivating, hitting in the heart and action-packed read!

“Maybe we'll always be like mismatched magnets pushing away from each other whenever we get too close.”
Profile Image for bella.
92 reviews35 followers
April 12, 2021
4.5 stars.

Content + Trigger Warnings: death, murder, gun violence, references to torture, underage drinking (mention), gore, injuries/wounds, mind manipulation/control, nightmares (trauma related), forced servitude, threat

Growing up, I devoured just about any sci-fi/fantasy books I could get my hands on. However, being a multiracial person, it was difficult to find any books in the genre with characters who looked like me or that I felt represented by. Naturally, my interest was instantly piqued when I learned about the upcoming release of The Infinity Courts. While Akemi Dawn Bowman was a new-to-me author, I had heard high praise of her writing from friends and was eager to read a sci-fi starring a biracial protagonist who, like me, is of Japanese ancestry. I try not to have any expectations when going into a fresh reading experience, but The Infinity Courts delivered everything I’d been craving and more. Days after finishing the book, my mind is still racing from the thrill ride, and I’m already itching to reread it when I get the chance.

Read my full review here!
Profile Image for Darcey.
930 reviews195 followers
December 6, 2021
buddy read with my girl Macy!


this book gets an extra star just for THAT ENDING! omg Akemi Dawn Bowman better pay for my hospital bills after the heart attack i received during those last 60 pages… i was no prepared, and i demand immediate answers in the form of book #2!!

The Infinity Courts was so much better than i expected, and i loved every minute of reading this book. i was obsessed and sucked in from the very first page, and bowman’s writing is absolutely brilliant! the concept is unique, the characters were lifelike - i have no complaints. the MC was beautifully written in the way that she wasn’t perfect and she sometimes made mistakes, and i really loved that.

overall, i’m just so glad i read this, and i can’t wait for the rest of the series!!
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,403 reviews1,852 followers
April 9, 2021
First of all, you're going to want to scroll right by this review because it probably won't be the best one to read if you want an objective take on the story. Why? Because this book put me into a week long slump (which doesn't sound like a lot but it felt like three years). So this story is on my shitlist.

This was my first read by Bowman and despite my strugglebus experience with reading it, I would try her again. I think this was definitely a story-specific problem, not necessarily a writing problem, which is a bummer as while the cover definitely hooked me (so pretty!) it was the plot that made me take a second look.

I will contradict myself here by saying that one of the main issues was writing-specific because this is.. lengthy and repetitive and basically takes two issues and not only beats you over the head with them but also to death. Which is hilarious as this story follows a bunch of dead people (not a spoiler). But basically we ruminate (ad nauseaum) over the concept of what it means to be human, what it means to award second chances, and living (being dead?) with hope. Lots of talk of war, too. But while all that might sound interesting, it grew stale really quick because it seemed to be literal copy paste arguments over and over again, with nothing new to be said.

Unfortunately what seemed like a cool concept just felt flimsy and also confusing and I quickly lost any sense of what, well.. made sense. And with that ending.. I mean, I know it isn't a standalone (kinda wish it was, though) but still. What.

Will I read on? Right now it's a no for me, dawg, but honestly by the time the sequel releases I'll probably be back on my completionist kick and want to just wrap it up. Particularly as, at least right now, it seems to only be a duology.

I can't recommend this, at all, but that doesn't mean you won't like it. Again, maybe the slump made this all worse than it could've been, or it was just the wrong time for me, so if it strikes your interest, give it a try! Sample it. Borrow it. I hope your experience is better than mine.

1.5 stars (rounded up for now but likely to drop after release)

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for mads.
357 reviews348 followers
May 22, 2021
"Does feeling bad for monsters make me a monster?"


Okay. Wow. Where do I start? This was one of those books where I didn't know what to expect from it. The premise makes you think of a story about grappling with our own morality, and it is that, yes, but it's also so much more.

This was a story about injustice and humanity and hope, set against a backdrop that somehow manages to be both grim and enchanting at once. There were so many conversations had in this book that felt as if they were putting some of my internal conflicts on display. I believe there is good and there is evil, but I've never been the kind of person to see the world as... defined as some do, which is Nami's main conflict.

"Fundamentally, we want the same thing.
So why can't we be on the same side?"

Overall, though I had my problems with it, this was a good book that completely blew my expectations out of the water and managed to shock me lol. If you''ve been debating on picking this one up, I'd recommend it for the author's ability at describing things with such clarity and magic.

Profile Image for cherelle.
180 reviews156 followers
August 8, 2021
Imagine with me.

Siri/Google/Alexa your virtual assistant tool. I’ve definitely bombarded Siri with countless “I’m bored”s, listened to her as she told me jokes, gave bad punchlines.

And then abruptly, you die.

You awaken in a seeming paradise only to find out that the afterlife is one under the tyranny and at the mercy of the grand ruler. Meet Evil Siri/Google/Alexa, or in this context our Queen (AI) Ophelia.

That is The Infinity Courts for you.

Infinity was never built for you; it was built for dreamers.

Simply by comparing it to “Warcross meeting Westworld” did not do the premise justice, and I went in unaware, and sat in awe as the story unfolded and the world expanded. The Infinity Court is a YA sci-fi that deals with the afterlife, but I felt that the world was so rich that it could have easily passed for a fantasy as well.

After one dies, one is said to enter Infinity, a paradigm constructed by human consciousness for when the physical body was no longer adapt to hold it anymore. When Nami gets murdered on her way to her graduation party, she wakes up here and finds herself entangled in a group of rebels, against Queen Ophelia’s, the real world’s friendly neighbourhood virtual assistant, oppressive rule.

Death and the afterlife is controversial, and for good reason, its tied in with one’s beliefs, shaping their way of life and is also an integral part of religion and cultural conflict. Here, Bowman gives her own fictionalised take on it, and the premise fascinated me so much.

So next time, don’t think about being anyone other than who you are. Because our ability to control our consciousness? That’s the most human thing in the world.

The roles of the human and the technology, the oppressor and the oppressed were reversed in the Infinity Courts, with the AI Residents ruling, and humans as mere servants. And through this seemingly “normal kind of dystopian world” where robots rule, Bowman has expressed many moral and ethical concerns, especially timely with this age of technology.

What sets a piece of intelligent, learned technology apart from the notion of a human being? We confidently say that for humans, emotions are our core, but is technology really incapable of empathy? With the lines of creator and creation blurred in an interdependent society, is coexistence feasible? These were the questions that were thoughtfully addressed through the juxtaposition in beliefs and behaviours of the various characters.

Does feeling bad for monsters make me a monster?

With technology as a core theme, another inevitable one would be that of morality. Nami, our main character, was the perfect personification of this. She died a violent death, woke up in the afterlife shocked… through the book, Nami constantly holds on to her past and refuses to let go, her past being one full of love for her family as well as her friends, whom included Ophelia the AI tech.

Her journey of trying to reconcile with her new feature, so vastly different from the past, but as well as allowing her past to guide her into an alternative point of view on what’s right and what’s wrong the other rebels did not dare open up to, was truly thoughtful and made for a great character arc as she held fast to what she thought was right and chose hope.

Maybe the world could be like that too. A mixture of ideas. A placed where we could all coexist.

No doubt I am struck by how Akemi Dawn Bowman explored these themes, however I did have a few problems with The Infinity Courts, that being our main character Nami. I appreciated how she was fleshed out starting as a naive, and then rather reflective and morally upright person driven by her own ideals, however I felt that we could have been given more depth to her character through understanding more about her past, which served as an important dichotomy to Infinity in the novel.

Nami did well bringing out the aforementioned themes of technology and morality, but the book got rather repetitive. A few twists here and there kept me going, but I felt it was the same few points being questioned again and again, drummed in methodically into my head through the endless rhetorical questions and hypophora utilised. The concept was one I loved, but how it felt reading the same thing over and over? Not so much.

Nevertheless, The Infinity Courts was a fun, fast-paced novel that gave me such a reprieve from our lovely reality. I loved the build-up, the rebel gang, the powers, but one qualm I had was I felt rather underwhelmed by the ending. After a shocking revelation which I did not fully understand but definitely was distraught by, things seemed to go downhill from the grandiose, shattering and game-changing ending I was expecting. It felt a little too easy, and I found it unfortunate that it passed up a potential ending that could have set up dramatic stakes for book 2: The Genesis Wars.

I wonder if infinity is enough time to heal a broken heart.

I was allured by the gorgeous cover and given a beautiful, thoughtful story. Though I felt that Nami’s character was slightly underdeveloped, and the book rather repetitive and underwhelming nearing the end, The Infinity Courts was still a YA Sci-Fi that managed to give me a fun adventure while impressing me with the depth of its themes of technology and morality explored! I’m definitely looking forward to book 2 next April!

Rating: 3 stars




The Infinity Courts: ★★★
The Genesis Wars

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Profile Image for trishla ⚡ | YourLocalBookReader.
295 reviews33 followers
June 9, 2021
2 stars

tw // death, torture, murder, gun, war, dying young, car crash

rep // Asian MC, lesbians(mentioned)

I wanted to love this book so much! As someone that works in AI, I know far too much about this subject but sometimes it's fun to imagine beyond the realm of possibilities. I did not go into this book thinking I would be faced with the most boring and constant rehash of the bare bones argument of morality thrown at me constantly.

The MC dies, page 50ish. She gets to the afterlife and finds out a virus (that used to be her personal assistant) has taken it over. Humans are either being tortured emotionally and physically (if they're "aware" or lose their consciousness and are used as servants. Then we get 300 pages of her inter turmoil about how she wants to make infinity a decent place for humans (for her sister) but also how she's unwilling to take a life. Not sure how to tell the MC this, but a virus is no more alive then a chair is. Also, you're already dead.

Not even when faced with the memories of humans being tortured is she willing to consider that a virus doesn't deserve to rule. She wants peace and co-existance. She has been taken in and protected by the tiny resistance faction and she constantly tells them that they should be more considerate of the feelings of their oppressors and be open to a option without bloodshed. A resistance that has been fighting far longer than she has, who has seen first hand the torture done by the viruses. Finally after finding out that the virus is finding a way to kill the humans AGAIN, is she ready to act when she finds a human that she thinks is "awake". Plan goes sideways as expected, and the book ends with her following the stars.

Now, I have many issues with this book, but the biggest one is how the MC, seems to push constantly for sympathy for those who want to actively kill them. You cannot co-exist with someone who doesn't think you deserve to exist. The AI says that multiple times, and that the humans weren't as advanced as her, and therefore it was her right to rule. These are ALL talking points of colonialism. This peace and co-existence rhetoric is dangerous. For a book that was marketed as a fresh view on morality, this was fairly centrist and not thought provoking at all.

Find me on: instagram
August 15, 2021
Do you know the feeling when you stumble upon a book that resonates with a part of you that you weren't even aware existed? To have the rare pleasure of finding such an astonishing story that makes a place in your heart, changing the cosmology of your human constitution and the way you view the world around you, becoming an intricate part of yourself.

“Infinity was never built for you; it was built for dreamers.”

The Infinity Courts is about an 18-year-old girl, Nami, who is on her way to a party, where she is finally going to define the relationship with her first love, and best friend. On the way, she is murdered in a robbery and wakes up in the afterlife, which has been taken over by the artificial intelligence assistant, Ophelia, and it's up to Nami to defeat her.

The story revolves around the consciousness in the afterlife, taking an invigorating yet credible take on it. My first thought when I started reading The Infinity Courts was its resemblance to Death Parade (デス・パレード), a place after death that’s neither heaven nor hell—a bar that serves you one chance to win. You cannot leave until the game is over, and when it is your life may be, too. While people play games, the bartender—actually an arbiter in charge of deciding souls’ fates—will observe their true nature. However, this book takes a completely different route, where its main focus is Nami teaming up with a group of rebel humans that could also extract themselves from the brainwash shackles the Residents, AIs created by Ophelia to cement her power, tried to impose on them.

This after-death world is divided into and controlled by Four Courts: Victory, Famine, War, and Death. Each one of them is ruled by a prince, and humans are subjected to an array of agonizing torments, including making them mindless servants—similarly to the way the humans used to make Ophelia. Even so, Nami is reluctant about the way things are being dealt with, because she can't conceive the notion that the extermination of a species, either humans or the Residents, is the only solution obtainable. The bond she had with Oliphia in the past will affect the way she will handle the situation at hand in the future.

“Does feeling bad for monsters make me a monster?”

Creating streams of current that worry what should be done, and whether coexistence would not be an option throughout the novel, Akemi leaves it up to the reader to draw their own judgmental conclusions in spite of humanity and AI relationship, the capacity to become something better and to work together in order to live in a harmonious environment.

Thus, if you enjoyed Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫), I'd strongly recommend The Infinity Courts, because both stories flow in a way where you can see the conflict between two different sides, who suffered and were the cause of suffering, while the main characters (Ashitaka & Nami) try to bring a balance in this world they were thrown into. Curiously, one of Miyazaki’s most famous expressions is the invocation “to see with eyes unclouded”. The words come from Princess Mononoke, and the idea centers on seeing without the accumulated detritus of bias and prejudice brought by tempestuous experiences is an infinitely clearer viewpoint.

“The Colony wants every single one of them removed from Infinity for good, the same way the Residents want humans gone. But I’m not sure I want that. I’m not sure destroying something we don’t understand is how we prove we deserve to survive.”

The worldbuilding and the characters are dazzling. Akemi doesn't simply make you go into a daze where your whole being is consumed by the story on the pages, but she also makes you go inside, astounded by the amount of beauty and art that are in display everywhere, the signs of humanity among people who have lost their conscience and Residents who may only wish to create as craftily as humans, ponder and wonder, while you snoop on the layered dilemmas of the characters souls.

“All this time, I’ve been worried my abilities made me different in a bad way, like I was someone with a defect. But maybe some of us are meant to break out of boxes instead of fitting inside them.”

Lastly, the plot was a delightful surprise. The ending wrecked and rendered me speechless. I'm still reeling, and I don't think I will ever get over it. If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it’d be with someone experiencing The Infinity Courts for the first time.

✧ 🎀INF C🫐🎀 ✧: https://pin.it/BzNpvk8
Profile Image for Yeganeh.
545 reviews218 followers
April 25, 2022
Ehm ehm hi, hello?!!

This book took me by surprise of how much i enjoyed the idea and concept. The Infinity Courts is a book with one of those fabulous world building seeds. It’s a book where you’re never sure of what’s happening. Where you can feel this subtle tension and hint of wrongness from the beginning.
If people can’t be bothered to understand each other, they’ll always be at war.
It begins a discussion that revolves around the interaction between humans, AIs, and morality: are humans deserving of a peaceful afterlife? Who gets to decide if someone earns a second chance? Are we evil by nature? Are we so self-centered as a species that we cannot coexist with other forms of life—even the artificial ones? And most importantly: is free will the essence of human nature?

Afterlife is a place called Infinity that has now been hacked by Ophelia (think Alexa or Siri) and AI has taken over the afterlife. Why? To exact revenge on humans who controlled her/them on Earth. Nami is caught up in a war between humans and AI. I enjoyed the world building, even though some parts were vague – but that was okay because I would think in an AI version of the afterlife, anything goes with how much you can control your consciousness.

I liked that Nami tried to figure out another way besides war and killing. I appreciated that she’s softer than the others, her heart isn’t hardened yet and she made mistakes and learned hard lessons.

I loved the twist at the end, I was like..😳🤯 and look forward to reading book two.

The Infinity Courts was a well paced start to what promises to be a fabulous duology. There are quite some question that for me left unanswered-mostly in world building and etc- and The ending was a plot twist I wasn’t expecting and I will be waiting, not-so-patiently, to read book two as soon as it is published. Bowman’s SF debut asks important questions about ethics. About the greater good versus individual lives.
Profile Image for BookNightOwl.
977 reviews174 followers
August 9, 2021
I enjoyed the book but I had a hard time picturing it in my head. The World building wasn't really described well and I felt like there wasn't much going on even though this was a thick book. I wanted more out of this book. More adventure. More out of all the characters. More exciting scenes. I give this c+
Profile Image for alaska.
236 reviews437 followers
May 30, 2021

there's not much else to say, honestly, because this book left me feeling absolutely nothing. i truly wanted to love this, but it definitely did not live up to my expectations. it was pretty repetitive, the characters weren't memorable and it was written more like a contemporay which just didn't work for me.

the twists could've been good if i actually cared about the characters, but sadly i just...didn't. this book had so much potential and in my honest opinion? the execution was really, really weak.

sorry book club...
Profile Image for Valerie May.
64 reviews23 followers
June 12, 2021
4.5 stars

"You are no more chosen than we are. We're all Heroes here"

What a plot twist!!!That was totally unexpected and it turned the tables for me.

I quite found it an enjoyable read and I think Akemi has a good writing style. The parts when Nami arrived at Infinity until that certain plot twist was a tiny bit dragging, but thankfully to Akemi's writing style, it did not bore me. Dragging as it is, I found myself wanting for more answers and how would the humans pull through all their plans their plans and missions.

I have to admit too that I started getting frustrated and angry at Nami for being naïve. I wanted so much to understand her and empathize her and to remind myself that every human being has different beliefs and ideals. I had to remind myself that just because some people can harbor hatred and revenge in their hearts, doesn't mean everybody can and will.

BUT! (Here is my 'BUT' again) That plot twist left me dazed and lightheaded that my mouth was hanging open for more than 10 minutes. Not to mention I discovered that plot twist at almost 4:30 in the morning and I planned before that to stop reading and sleep at exactly 4:30am because I also need sleep of course. So I stop reading mid-part of the plot twist, lied down on the bed while staring at the ceiling with my mouth open. And because of that plot twist!!! I slept at past 5am since I can't sleep thinking of the it. I finished it next day (which is today) still feeling bewildered and mouth keeps hanging open occasionally that my mom has to ask me what the hell is wrong with me.

I did not have the feeling I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-my-life-anymore. But instead I felt like I had a dagger in my chest for so many hours reeling about the ending of this book.

It turned the tables for me and I desperately want to have the second book now!!!!!!

The only regret I have in reading this book is that I read it too early that I have to wait for a long time for the second installment!!!!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the e-ARC thru Edelweiss. This review is based in an advance reader's copy, so there might be some changes in the published book. Will try to read the published one and give it a review too.)
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books485 followers
Want to read
July 16, 2020
oh wow okay this has a subconscious realm PLUS an AI character with the high possibility of being complicated??? YES PLEASE


Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
905 reviews275 followers
May 21, 2021
4.5 stars. Only because I struggled to accept the premise in the beginning...
This is one of those books where you need to read 100 pages and not think too hard about things like: the probable existence of aware AI, an infinite afterlife, AI having emotions, science of technology existing beyond human constructs, and other abstract concepts. Just accept them and go on the ride; because at some point you’ll find yourself so captivated by the world, characters, relationships, and idea of humanity that you won’t even care that those early pages came off a bit corny and lack some serious scientific rigour. But I promise it’s okay; because once the fantasy elements take over it works, and it works well.
Akemi Dawn Bowman has given us a gorgeous, intriguing new world (aka: the afterlife) to explore: wrought with monsters whose faces look like ours, people who are as complex in death as they were living, and a systematic set-up of torture that makes even grimdark fans (like myself) wonder if this is truly YA book.

Less is More
I want to get into so much with this; and yet I think the reader is better off going in with just the basic info on the blurb (like I did). It allows the story to unfold in a manner that catches you by surprise and makes the twisted ending feel all that much more perfect. There was a point during The Infinity Courts that I wondered something; it ended up being key to the whole construct in the end. This tickles me that while I didn’t know, somewhere unconsciously, I did have an idea but lost it in the pages. That is excellent, strong writing!

Above all else the thing to really appreciative out of The Infinity Courts is Bowman’s ability to write relationships that resound true. There is no obvious love interest or best friend at the start. And even by the end the relationships our lead gal has with everyone around her are complex. Just like real life. The only solid thing that remains true throughout is that her love for her sister is stalwart. There is a beauty to Bowman’s eloquence in writing relationships between characters that feel genuine. The women in power distrust one another (what woman hasn’t doubted another woman, even a best friend, at some point?). The men make like they are all macho and indestructible; and yet they fall apart just the same as the females around them. And then we have the AI characters whom mimic being human. They are perhaps the most complex of all. Can an AI want or desire something?

Before I get too carried away in the genuinely intriguing concepts that Bowman lays out here (and spoil this), let me say that this is a series I cannot wait to spend more time with. If only I had time to reread! Now knowing the truths of the ending I wonder how many foreshadows and hints I consciously missed?
All that said, the most important takeaways to know in advance of reading The Infinity Courts are these:
- there is no love triangle (but a romance does blossom)
- the ending is clever and twisted but not cheap
- every good series needs a strong tag line. Where Hunger Games had “may the odds be ever in your favour”; Infinity Courts has “may the stars watch over you”.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Delaney.
652 reviews106 followers
May 23, 2021
**Thank you RivetedLit and Simon & Schuster for hosting a giveaway for the ARC! :)

Do you ever just laugh at an ending? Not because it's good. It's just bad, those plot twists that make you want to smack your head into a wall, and your reaction is to laugh? Just me?

The Infinity Courts has a great concept and great world. If I were to describe it: Alexa hacked the afterlife and is now its ruler. Also, I got serious Angel Beats (an anime) vibes as the humans are rebelling their fate.

A lot of the things I did enjoy from it had parts of it that I didn't fully enjoy.

HOW IT'S SET UP ~ The beginning is fast-paced and I enjoyed that the story keeps moving. But because Nami, our main character, enters into Infinity (the afterlife) pretty much right away we don’t get a great sense of who she is before her death, including her strong love for her sister and personality, which could have added to her motivations in the afterlife.

INFINITY AND ITS COURTS ~ Okay, I thought this would be sci-fi-y because that’s the impression I got from the synopsis. There’s a literal Alexa AI villain ruling over the afterlife! But the setting felt like fantasy period drama with some Asian influences. There's courts which are ruled by princes and they hold balls and stuff. It wasn’t futuristic in any way.

In a way, the book reads like a dystopian fantasy! What with the trying to overthrow the "government," in this case an AI Queen and her four AI Prince sons, and both sides (human vs. AI) are pushing for a utopia.

NAMI WAS BORING ~ She is a morally good, naïve, self-centered main character. She's the type of character that is like "we should save EVERYONE" and "let's kumbaya and coexist; why all the hating?" Even though there is this war happening and sacrifices happen, she's like "we need to save this ONE person who I barely even know but if I let them die who am I?" News flash! It's the afterlife! You're all dead!

She's pretty boring, but I liked that she questions everything and doesn't trust right away. I got really tired of her being like "this is for my sister so when she dies it's a better afterlife!" instead of, y'know, the people already in Infinity? She basically discounts how everyone else has fought this war for years while she's a newb that just came to Infinity. I just wanted her to shut up and listen to these people instead of imposing her views on them.

ROMANCE WAS EWW ~ It felt forced like Akemi Dawn Bowman was going through a YA requirements checklist and that, of course, includes romance! There wasn’t any chemistry and the love interest is this hot and cold dude who could've been more interesting if we got to know him more.

PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONINGS ~ This was rather interesting what Bowman was going for. Does everyone deserve a second chance? Who gets to decide what? In death, are we to have happiness? Are we any better than the monsters we created? And if you didn’t get the messages, Bowman also puts it into blatant monologues so it's right up in your face.

I read somewhere that this is Bowman’s first non-contemporary book and, at least for the ARC, it reads like it. There was a lot put into it but how it was laid out did not work for me. I hope other readers will enjoy it when it is released on stands...They probably will!
Profile Image for Amanda at Bookish Brews.
291 reviews172 followers
May 11, 2021
Aaaaaah, I loved this!!! Read my full review here at Bookish Brews, and check out a preview down below!

Review Preview:
The Infinity Courts reminded me exactly why I love to read YA. I loved every bit of this book, and it had my undivided attention from the very start until the very end. The feeling of satisfaction after I finished reading this one was pure book bliss!

I received a free copy for participation in a blog review tour for this book

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Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,420 reviews392 followers
May 18, 2021
If a YA dystopian doesn't have a ballroom scene, is it even a YA dystopian?

This felt like a 2013 book, in the best possible way.

It was like walking into the familiar tropes—love triangle, gowns, spies, revolution, dystopian society split into various factions, the chosen one who doesn't want to be the chosen one, self-sacrificing—and stepping into a warm hug, a gentle feeling of ahhhh, this is the good shit.

Because Bowman takes these familiar tropes and makes them relevant once again.

And also very invested in not ever using Siri or Alexa.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
Profile Image for ikram.
241 reviews616 followers
Want to read
June 25, 2020
Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut SFF book featuring:

- Beautiful cover. I seriously can’t stop looking at it... this is so beautiful omg
- Exploring big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity? SIGN ME UP!
- I heard it’s Westworld meets Warcross (aka my two favorite things!!)

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