Infinity Alchemist

Forge/Tor Teen. (Infinity Alchemist: Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250890252.
Gr 10 Up–An engaging and inclusive fantasy. In Ash Woods’s world, the practice of alchemy is divisive. Privileged few are allowed to study it and enter one of the Houses dedicated to its use. Ash, who applied to and was rejected by an alchemic college, takes a job as a groundskeeper at the college and teaches himself, illegally, after hours. When he is discovered by apprentice Ramsay Thorne, the two strike a deal: Ash will help Thorne find the powerful Book of Source, and Thorne will teach Ash alchemy. But their plan is dangerous—others want the book and will do whatever it takes to get it. Callender here presents a commentary about power: who has it in society, how it can be used and abused, and how those who are not given power can find it within themselves. All this makes it a good read for young people, who may feel they are in a similar situation in their lives. The introduction and building of a relationship with a third main character affects the pacing in the middle, and some readers may gloss over the many detailed philosophical musings and discussions around alchemy throughout. Ash is transgender with brown skin, and Thorne is genderfluid. Scenes with sexual situations make this more relevant for older teens.
VERDICT Readers will find a space where anyone can be powerful and be loved in this intriguing fantasy novel.

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