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Earn community service hours by reviewing books, music, and movies. You’ll earn one community service hour for each review you submit. Here are the guidelines:
- be 250 – 300 words in length
- contain a summary and personal critique
- not have spoilers
- be suitable for publication – clean language and content
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You can submit up to 10 reviews per year to count toward your community service hours.
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Read the Reviews
Review by Sam Arkeveld
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Infinity Son is Adam Silvera’s first fantasy novel, a step away from his usual hard-hitting contemporary genre. The book follows twin brothers Emil and Brighton in an alternate reality of New York City with Celestials, those who naturally have magical abilities and Specters, those who kill magical beasts to steal their magic. Brighton wants nothing more than to discover his own powers and join the Spell Walkers, a group of Celestials fighting a war against Specters. Emil just wants to keep his family safe amidst the chaos. When a Specter attacks the twins, Emil discovers that he can summon Phoenix fire – and he may be the hero the Spell Walkers need to win the war. But not everyone is cut out to be a hero: will Emil be able to step up and master his newfound abilities, or will he burn out?
This book had many elements that I should have loved, including magical creatures, a reluctant chosen one and a dark, gritty magical war. Unfortunately, I felt that the execution was lacking. The world-building was choppy, with little to no explanation given to anything at all. The way that technology and social media were interwoven into the story took away from the fantastical elements. When I’m reading a fantasy novel, I don’t need YouTube or Instagram to be mentioned every five pages! The magical creatures were rarely present and I felt that the characters were incredibly underdeveloped.
There are four points of view in this book, two of them being Emil and Brighton, the others being a Spell Walker and a Specter. Emil was the most developed of them all, and I really appreciated his loyalty to his family and love for animals. However, I never felt like I got to see too deep into his emotions or the inner turmoil he experienced between protecting his family and saving the world. Regarding the other characters, I didn’t care about them because I never really got to know them, or I actively disliked them because of their actions (Brighton).
Infinity Son was also disappointingly predictable, in my opinion. This story has been done countless times, and yet, many of them bring something new to the table. This one does not.
Two positive things about this novel are the representation and the action. This book features several prominent LGBTQ+ characters and POC characters, including Emil. As well, the action scenes were quite well done and fast-paced.
In conclusion, I feel that this could have been a book that I’d enjoy, but it failed on so many levels.
Review by Nour Khadra
Rating: 4 stars
Ms. Marvel: No Normal is about a teenage girl named Kamala Khan. She lives a fairly normal life in Jersey City with her Muslim family, attending mosque and struggling through high school. In her spare time, she fangirls over superheroes, creating online fanart and reading fanfiction about her all-time favourites, like Captain Marvel and the Avengers. One day, Kamala sneaks out to attend a party in order to rebel against her – in her opinion – overly strict parents. That night Kamala gains her new superpowers and becomes superhero Ms. Marvel! She struggles to come to terms with her powers, keeping them secret from those around her and trying to save the day from bad guys ranging from average robbers to a mysterious threat against Jersey City teens!
I loved Ms. Marvel for tons of reasons! First, the representation of Kamala’s culture and religion is really well done. I could tell that she was struggling with her dual lives, and often relied on the wisdom that she’d gained from her parents and the Imam of her local mosque. The book also has an array of relatable characters, from Kamala herself, to her friends Bruno and Nakia. Watching Kamala struggle through her teenage years and added responsibilities, while trying to figure out her new powers really allows the reader to connect with her. The cast of supporting characters add support, and even show the racism that children of immigrants often face in their daily lives. This graphic novel was a quick read, which made me glad that the library owns the rest of the series!