Nicholas Gautier (that’s Go-shay; don’t mispronounce it!) is fourteen, a poor scholarship kid at a prestigious private school, and it seems like he’s the punching bag of most of the jocks. His father is in prison on multiple counts of murder, and his mother works her butt off as a stripper just to keep a tiny roof over their heads and second-hand clothes on their backs. All of these things are strikes against him in high school–which is pretty much hell for him–and that’s before one of his classmates goes zombie and tries to eat another student.
Nick wears a smart mouth and an attitude as armor against those who mock him. Kenyon has quite a gift for writing smart asses, and in a novel populated with teenagers, the snark really flies. I love it. Under immediate threat by zombies? Snark at your sibling, buddy, or classmate. Pop off at people who can, and probably will, kick your butt–it’s all good. In the midst of the insanity, Nick discovers that most of his high school’s football team is comprised of shape shifters, and that soul sucking vampires, vampire hunters, secret societies, ancient gods–and oh yeah, demons–all exist. As it turns out, Bubba, New Orleans’ crazy zombie hunter, isn’t so crazy after all. Nick spends an awful lot of his time in Infinity trying to stay alive, protect his mother (who is blissfully unaware of the supernatural), and not get grounded–and not ticking his mother off is mighty important. There are times I think it trumps, for him, staying alive.
Nick learns that his heritage isn’t as straight forward as he thought it was, and takes the first steps toward exploring who he is, and can be. There are external forces at work actively trying to keep him on the straight and narrow path, just as there are others actively trying to turn him toward the dark. This skinny teenager is mighty important to a fair number of people for a variety of reasons.
Nonetheless, all he wants is to survive high school, not end up like his loathed father, and to make his beloved mother proud even though he finds himself strongly tempted to do things she’d never, ever, approve of. If you are familiar with the Dark-Hunter series, you already know much of this. If you’re new to the series, you’ll get to see the origins of a character that has been slowly developing–and getting into trouble–as an adult in the main series. I’d read nothing about Infinity before starting it, so I was nicely surprised by a bit of a twist that I won’t spoil here. I love it when books surprise me!
This is the first book in the Chronicles of Nick series, which is a spin-off of Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter paranormal romance series. Per Sherrilyn Kenyon’s website, the Chronicles of Nick will run until the story intersects with Nick’s first appearance in the Dark-Hunter books, and then he’ll get his own novel in that series. If you aren’t already familiar with the Dark-Hunters world that Sherrily Kenyon has created, I think Infinity is a good introductory novel. It is listed as young adult, so it doesn’t have the paranormal romance (well, the romance) trappings of the series that spawned it, but it is an excellent introduction to the mythos of Kenyon’s world. Like any prequel that’s written after a series has been established, if you move from Infinity to the Dark-Hunter books, you’ll have some knowledge of the characters you might not have otherwise, just as I, as an established reader, probably picked up on hints in Infinity that a reader new to the world might not get. There are trade-offs either way. I wouldn’t let worries about it being a spin-off series keep you from the story. Nick’s brand of Cajun smart-ass is entertaining and endearing, and you truly don’t need to be familiar with the other books to enjoy Nick Gautier’s story.
Full disclosure on how I came by Infinity: I bought it at the local big box chain book store.