For lovers of Aiden Thomas (author of Cemetery Boys) and Callender’s previous books, such as Felix Ever After, comes a new work different from his earlier novels. This fantastical work by Kacen Callender showcases a complete switch in genres, perhaps one he may continue in a sequel.

The story follows Ash, who is practicing alchemy even though it is a crime, and two characters that appear alongside him during his quest: Ramsay and a secret character whom I won’t spoil. (You will have to read to find out!)

I switched from reading an Arc to an audiobook version (Audiobooks, ftw!) because I felt more engaged with the story and eager to read more. I could feel the difference straight away when I switched to the audiobook. Narrator Wes Hass did an excellent job immersing me in Ash, and Ramsay’s journey, and I genuinely think Hass’s voice perfectly fits the narrator. I believe that some books are better as audio for me. I enjoy the convenience of it. Where I have to sit down and allocate time to read a physical book, audiobooks allow me to do other activities like cleaning or travelling. But a good narrator is also needed to keep the reader's attention, and since Wes Hass did just that, I’ll be looking for other books they narrated!

As a fantasy book, I found the story lacking in some areas. For one, there is quite a lot of predictability within the book. For Ash, it is about his power and how much he has but doesn’t know how to control it. The training scenes by an intriguing mentor who needs Ash’s power somehow. The overall urgency to find a hidden item before the bad guy. I’m not saying that these tropes are bad, but repetition for someone who reads a lot of fantasy can become tiresome. That being said, if you want to start your fantasy reading journey, this could be an excellent place to start!

This story also lacked in world-building. Callendar gives us the basics. After that, the reader must guess or receive only quick mentions of what needs to be known about the world. I found the concept of Source fascinating, but all we learn about it is from the titbits that Ash learns from living in the world and a brush of knowledge from other characters. Considering Kacen’s other works are mainly contemporary, I understand that the switch to creating a whole world and power system can be daunting (trust me, I respect all the sci-fi and fantasy writers out there!), but I do think the story would have benefitted more if the reader had a bit deeper understanding of the system that the world operates around. That being said, less world-building allowed for more dialogue and interactions between various characters and the building of friendships and relationships. It also allowed me to learn more about the villains in the story and make our assumptions about the true evil.

Highlights (LITerally)

“You’re not afraid of death, are you?”
“Sacrifices will be made. The enemies of alchemy can’t be allowed to live.”
“We’re supposed to be working together, Ash. I’m about to rip my life apart. I don’t think there should be secrets between us.”

One Last Thing…

Overall, I give the novel 3.5 out of 5 stars. Infinity Alchemist is a spellbinding novel about a quest that leads three young alchemists toward unexpected love and unimaginable power.

About the Reviewer

Rae is a queer Irish book reviewer with a passion for reading and recommending a variety of books to their audience. When they’re not lost in a book, Rae spends their time listening to musicals, collecting pins, buying books (not to be confused with reading them!) or trying to summon their creative spark by staring at a blank page (which they swear will yield results someday!). Photo Credit: Erin Keogh