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The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

There is no doubt that The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman has an interesting premise. After all, for as long as progress occurs, humans harbor a fear that the technology we crave could prove to be our downfall. So, when the Alexa surrogate known as Ophelia turns out to be real and has found a way to take over Ms. Bowman’s version of an afterlife, she simply feeds into that fear.

Unfortunately, what The Infinity Courts has in potential because of its premise, it lacks in execution. Frankly, the main character, Nami, is insufferable. She spends ten percent of her afterlife worrying about her loved ones still alive and lamenting her death, which I can get. Her death is a tragedy, and she has every right to mourn the end of her life just as she was on the cusp of adulthood. It is how she spends the rest of her time that causes all the problems.

Nami spends 80 percent of her afterlife repeatedly asking herself the same questions about humanity and mankind’s inherent goodness. Once again, I can sort of understand why this is an obsession for her. After all, Ophelia takes over Infinity because she deems humans unworthy and too evil to create an environment in which electronic minds can coexist with human minds. Yet, almost every other page has her asking the same damn questions. After four hundred pages, I cannot stress the tediousness of her lamentations enough.

To make matters even worse, Nami spends the rest of her time ignoring all the well-meant advice and plans of her fellow colonists because she determined that her ideas are the only ones with merit. Maybe it is my age showing, but Nami ignoring the experiences of others rubbed me the wrong way. She professes to be so mature and yet so scared to do anything, but she is way too quick to ignore hard-won lessons and plans. She espouses the importance of seeing all sides, but she turns a blind eye to everything the colonists tell her. The hypocrisy, however unintentional, really bothered me.

Combine that with a completely predictable and unnecessary love story, and The Infinity Courts becomes another lackluster fantasy story. In truth, it is at least 100 pages too long and requires some major editing to limit the number of times Nami agonizes over whether humans can be good, the not-so-veiled analogy between the Residents instead of BIPOC or LBGTQ+ notwithstanding.

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