Recap: Infinity Son Synopsis (with full chapter summaries)

Last week saw the release of Infinity Reaper, the long-awaited sequel to Adam Silvera's fantasy novel, Infinity Son. The wonderful folks at Simon & Schuster very kindly sent me a review copy of Infinity Son back in August 2019 and I loved it (it was one of the very first books I reviewed on my blog - you can check it out here). But as it's been over a year and a half since I read Silvera's fantasy debut I figured a re-read was most definitely in order.

So this week I revisited Infinity Son and I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it even more the second time round. I've made notes on every character, magical item, backstory and major event that takes place in Infinity Son, so if you're in need of a recap before you dive into Infinity Reaper, look no further.

And, obviously, if you haven't read Infinity Son, DO NOT read on. You are now entering major spoiler territory.

NOTE: This is a detailed chapter breakdown of Infinity Son. To save you time, I've highlighted key events in bold and underlined important terms, items, characters, etc. Enjoy!


Chapter 1: Brothers

(POV: Emil)

Twin brothers Emil and Brighton Rey are introduced. They live in New York and have spent their lives looking up to the Spell Walkers - a group of celestials (humans born with special powers - e.g. shapeshifting, super strength, etc.) who use their powers to protect the citizens of New York. It's the night of their 18th birthday and Brighton, who has always dreamed of becoming a Spell Walker, hopes that celestial powers present in his family bloodline (his Abuelita was clairvoyant) will manifest as he enters into adulthood. Emil isn't convinced that the brothers have dormant powers and thinks they need to leave their childish dreams behind. It quickly becomes apparent that Emil is the pragmatic, sensible and slightly anxious sibling, whereas Brighton is self-assured, confident and reckless.

The boys head out to a celestial-only street party so Brighton can try to score interviews for his YouTube channel, "Celestials of New York", but all of the celestials are inside celebrating the arrival of the Crowned Dreamer - a constellation that appears for around a month once every sixty-seven years, which seems to be elevating celestials’ powers. Emil isn’t used to seeing large public gatherings of celestials; ever since the Blackout - “the worst attack New York has seen in my lifetime” - celestials have been treated like terrorists. Brighton tries to get into the party but the doorman wants to see proof he’s a celestial. When Brighton can’t turn the pupils of his eyes into swirling galaxies - the tell-tale sign of a celestial - the doorman moves him along.

We learn that Emil and Brighton aren’t in a great financial situation as their mum is still repaying their dad’s medical bills from experimental trials with blood alchemy that were supposed to cure his bone cancer but only accelerated his death.

As Brighton tries to figure out a way to sneak inside the party, a woman runs down the street being pursued by two Spell Walkers, Maribelle Lucero and Atlas Haas. Emil realises the woman on the run is a specter (humans who have acquired their powers unnaturally by killing magical creatures and consuming their blood). The specter sets the street party tents alight using fire powers that Emil realises must have come from phoenix blood, making her especially dangerous. Emil tries to escape the chaos but Brighton insists they stay so he can film the fight for his YouTube channel.

Chapter 2: Heroes

(POV: Emil)

As people flee, Emil notices "a pale guy with dark blond hair under his hoodie" recording the fight on a phone with a yellow wolf on the case. He doesn't seem panicked by the fight or awestruck in the way Brighton is. Enforcers turn up and take out their wands telling everyone to freeze. Emil points out that most enforcers don't have powers of their own so many are hot-headed and quick to cast attacks, resulting in the untimely deaths of many celestials. Atlas and Maribelle know the enforcers are hostile towards Spell Walkers so they make an escape using Atlas's wind powers and Maribelle's levitation.

Emil and Brighton manage to slip away and catch a bus home. Emil wonders whether the specter will be locked up in the Bounds with everyone else who has powers. Brighton doesn't care whether the specter lives or dies and Emil gets mad at him for being so flippant about her life: "We don't get to decide which are the right lives to take... Heroes shouldn't have body counts."

Chapter 3: Dreamer

(POV: Brighton)

Brighton uploads the video of the fight to his Celestials of New York account and monitors his channel stats. He brags about his online following of "thirty thousand Brightsiders" and gets ready for bed so he's feeling refreshed for his meet-and-greet with his fans tomorrow. As he scrolls through his phone he sees the fight trending online and realises the media are using video footage from another vlogger whose video has already surpassed on million views. Brighton gets angry and accuses the vlogger of stealing his spotlight.

Brighton reflects on his dad's death. Alchemists injected his father with hydra blood in the hopes that he would gain their healing powers, but it didn't work and Brighton was the only one around to witness him choke to death on his own blood.

Chapter 4: Ordinary

(POV: Brighton)

Brighton owns a ton of Spell Walker merch that's no longer manufactured because of their tarnished image. Through the merch, we're introduced to the founding members of the Spell Walkers: Bautista de León, Sera Córdova, Finola Simone-Chambers, Konrad Chambers and Maribelle's parents, Aurora Lucero and Lestor Lucero.

A reporter on the TV covers a news story about a specter who died last night. Footage shows a man with arms engulfed by white phoenix fire jumping from a roof. He takes flight until one of his arms snaps off and plunges to his death. According to the report, medical officials expected him to recover as there were signs his arm was growing back but he died moments later. Emil - who knows a lot about phoenixes - is confused because only song-rook phoenixes can regenerate body parts, but their fire is violet - not white. The report cuts to an interview with Senator Edward Iron who uses the incident to take a shot at his opponent, Congresswoman Sunstar associating her with the specters and the Blackout because of her celestial powers. The news report mentions that Senator Iron lost his son, Eduardo, during the Blackout. Eduardo was on a class trip at the Nightlocke Conservatory when the Spell Walkers used their powers to demolish the building, killing 613 people. Brighton believes the Spell Walkers were framed and says he's not sympathetic over the death of Eduardo Iron, who often badmouthed celestials and incited violence.

Brighton and Emil meet up with their friend Prudencia Mendez as they head to Whisper Fields for Brighton's meet-and-greet. We learn that Prudencia lost both of her parents to wand violence. Brighton suggests there's more than just friendship between him and Prudencia, but they've never found the right time to explore it. When they arrive at Whisper Fields, Brighton is upset to see only a handful of his fans have showed up for the meet-and-greet. He heads home feeling dejected and spends the rest of the day praying that he'll come into his powers, but they don't manifest.

Chapter 5: A Cycle of Phoenixes

(POV: Emil)

Emil heads to his job at the Museum of Natural Creatures. There we learn of a long-standing war between hydras and phoenixes, the existence of the Halo Knights (an ancient group of warriors dedicated to protecting phoenixes), and a weapon called an infinity-ender which has a blade forged from hydra blood that can be used to slay a phoenix and stop it from ever resurrecting. Emil meets a cute British guy and gives him a tour. He tells him about the various breeds of phoenix and shows him pictures of Keon Máximo and Bautista de León - two specters who inherited the powers of the gray sun phoenix.

As Emil talks about Keon and Bautista, Kirk Bennet (the museum's curator) joins the conversation. Kirk tells them that Keon was a power-obsessed alchemist who transformed into the very first specter, but Bautista was more complicated; he didn't seem motivated by power and used his abilities for good, keeping the threat of the specters in check. Some consider Bautista a hero, but others argue that a specter can never be a hero, no matter their motivations. Kirk goes on to say that thankfully no specter has ever been able to utilise the phoenix's power of resurrection and that should alchemists ever unlock that secret it would be a tragedy for phoenixes.

Kirk invites Emil to work with him on a secret project. At the end of the month, the museum will host a gala where guests will witness the hatching of a century phoenix. It's an incredibly rare experience, made rarer still by the fact the egg is feathered, indicating it's the phoenix's first cycle of life. The phoenix will be called Gravesend, and she is being protected from traffickers and Blood Casters (an evil faction of powerful specters and the Spell Walkers primary enemy) by the Halo Knights. Emil is thrilled but decides to keep the news a secret from Brighton so he can surprise him nearer the time by letting him record exclusive footage of the phoenix for his channel.

Chapter 6: Celestials of New York

(POV: Brighton)

It's Brighton's last day in New York before he heads off to college in LA. He, Emil and Prudencia head to Central Park for the Friday Dreamers Festival. At the festival, online influencer Lore (whose following Brighton envies) invites Congresswoman Sunstar onstage for an interview where she talks about her policies and plans to protect celestials. Sunstar condemns Luna Marnette, the leader of the Blood Casters, who makes money for the enforcers but causes considerable harm to celestials everywhere.

At the festival, Emil, Brighton and Pru comes across two people who have taken Brew - a potion containing illusionist blood that creates hallucinations so the drinker can experience what it feels like to have celestial powers. Brighton can't afford a bottle so he tries to negotiate a discount with the seller, James. James asks his boss - a specter called Orton - if he can give Brighton a discount, but Orton refuses. Brighton tries to negotiate, telling Orton he'll interview him on his YouTube channel and provide free publicity in exchange for a bottle. Prudencia tells Brighton he shouldn't be giving specters a platform and forces him to leave. As they leave, they notice that Orton and James are following them.

Chapter 7: Gold and Gray

(POV: Emil)

Emil, Brighton and Pru hop onto a train to escape Orton and James but the two of them somehow manage to board the moving train. Orton attacks Emil and Brighton tries to defend him. He jumps at Orton but phases through him as if he were a phantom. Emil is confused as only celestials have the ability to phase - not specters. Orton grabs Brighton and is about to throw him from the train. As Emil watches, he's overcome with emotion and a power awakens inside him. Emil's fist bursts into gold and gray flames and Emil blasts Orton with fire-darts sending him flying off the train onto the platform. Passengers who have been recording the fight on their phones cheer for Emil.

As they exit the train, enforcers show up and Orton attacks one with his phoenix fire. Emil, Brighton and Prudencia slip away amidst the chaos and James makes a run for it too. Emil notices James drop his phone and recognises the yellow wolf case from the night of the street party fight. James retrieves his phone and disappears into the crowd.

Brighton confronts Emil, accusing him of being a specter due to the burning red eclipses that appeared in his eyes when he used his powers (the sign of a specter). Emil denies dabbling in blood alchemy but Brighton argues that phoenix fire can't be acquired as a celestial - only by consuming phoenix blood. Emil continues to protest his innocence and blacks out.

Chapter 8: Viral

(POV: Brighton)

Prudencia hails a cab and they take Emil to a hospital that specialises in gleamcraft (the practicing of magical powers - celestial or specter). Emil is taken into the ER and Brighton and Pru inform his mother he's in hospital. In the hospital, Brighton gets a ton of notifications on his phone as the passenger footage of Emil's fight with Orton goes viral. Brighton's followers want to know about Emil's powers and Brighton discovers Emil's social media has blown up, making him jealous.

Chapter 9: The Spell Walkers

(POV: Maribelle)

Maribelle is holed up in Nova Grace Elementary – an old school for celestials that has become a hidden haven for the Spell Walkers. Celestials hate Maribelle because they blame her parents (Aurora and Lestor) for the Blackout which triggered the widespread persecution of celestials. Maribelle, however, is convinced of her parents' innocence and vows to one day prove it. She reviews the CCTV footage from the Nightlocke Conservatory the day of the Blackout. The recording shows her mother, Aurora, and Finola crash through the ceiling fighting while Lestor and Konrad try to separate their wives. As Aurora is chased by Finola, she throws Eduardo Iron to the floor and tosses two gem-grenades which explode, destroying the building. When the dust settles, the only person left standing is a girl who vanishes into the smoke. Maribelle makes it her mission to find this girl.

Maribelle feels guilty about her parents' death as her instincts told her that something was off the day of the Blackout. She almost told her parents not to go on the mission and she regrets not speaking up. Atlas enters the room and kisses her on the head. Wesley, another Spell Walker, joins them. Maribelle mentions how she used to be best friends with Finola's daughter, Iris (the current leader of the Spell Walkers) but the death of their parents in the Blackout brought an end to their friendship. Wesley mentions that his partner, Ruth, is hiding out in a celestial shelter in Philadelphia raising their three-month-old daughter, Esther, using her cloning abilities to make up for Wesley's absence.

Iris tells everyone to get ready for a rescue mission. She's been monitoring specters with white phoenix fire and came across Orton in the viral video of the fight with Emil. By the look of surprise on Emil's face when his powers appeared, Iris doesn't suspect that he's working with Luna Marnette and the Blood Casters. The Spell Walkers head out to rescue Emil. On their way out, Iris kisses her girlfriend, Eva, not knowing whether she'll return from the mission.

Chapter 10: Enigma

(POV: Emil)

Emil wakes up and learns of his newfound fame from Brighton. Emil's mother comes into the room and Emil tells her about the incident that took place with Orton and how he protected Brighton and Prudencia using powers of his own. Like Brighton, their mother accuses Emil of dabbling in blood alchemy, but Brighton defends Emil showing her the video of the fight and pointing out the surprise on Emil's face when his phoenix fire appeared. Emil's mother apologises for accusing him and Emil leaves the hospital to get some head-space.

Chapter 11: The Blood Casters

(POV: Ness)

Ness is introduced as a shapeshifter working for Luna and the Blood Casters and we discover from the yellow wolf phone case in his possession that he is James (the guy selling Brew with Orton). He heads into the Blood Casters HQ and reveals that the only people who know Ness's real identity are the other Blood Casters: Dione (a specter with hydra blood who can produce extra limbs), Stanton (a venomous specter with basilisk blood), June (who never speaks and who Ness considers the scariest of all the Blood Casters), and Anklin (a talented but twisted alchemist). Ness considers his shapeshifting ability a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, the people hunting him down will never find him. On the other, nobody will ever get to know the real him. Luna calls Ness for a meeting. She's seen the video of Orton and Emil and she wants Emil captured and brought back to her. Ness leaves to track him down, knowing he cannot fail Luna.

Chapter 12: Fire-Wing

(POV: Emil)

After leaving the hospital, Emil goes back to his family's apartment and fills a duffel bag with clothes as he prepares to leave town to protect his family from the danger his new powers present. Brighton bursts in telling Emil he can't run away and that he can't handle this on his own. Emil is about to protest when Atlas turns up telling Emil they need to leave right away as the Blood Casters are after him. As they prepare to leave with Atlas, another Atlas bursts into the room, exposing the first Atlas as Ness - the shapeshifter working for the Blood Casters. Ness escapes out the window and the real Atlas escorts the brothers downstairs to a car waiting outside but they're ambushed by Stanton. Iris and Maribelle back up Atlas and they're able to hold Stanton off long enough for the Emil and Brighton to get to the car. The Spell Walkers take down Stanton and are about to drive off when the girl from the Blackout CCTV video appears. Maribelle pleads with the others to stop the car so they can capture the girl but Atlas tells her it's too risky and drives off.

Chapter 13: Nova

(POV: Emil)

Atlas drives through what appears to be a gas station but is in fact an illusion masking the Spell Walkers' hidden haven, Nova. They enter Nova and Eva uses her healing powers to restore Iris (her girlfriend) who was badly injured in the fight with Stanton. Emil asks Brighton why he thinks the Spell Walkers have brought them to Nova and Brighton tell him they'll be expecting him to choose a side. Emil tells Brighton he'd never join the Blood Casters but he doesn't want to be a Spell Walker either. Wesley shows up with Emil and Brighton's mum and Prudencia who are glad to see the boys are unharmed.

With her injuries mostly healed, Iris calls a meeting and tells Emil he possesses powers he shouldn't and that their intel suggests he's going to be a major player in the war against the Blood Casters.

Chapter 14: Infinity Son

(POV: Emil)

Iris reveals that her mother (Finola) had secretly warned her to keep an eye out for specters with gray or gold flames – and Emil has both. She explains that like Emil, Bautista de León had the blood of a gray sun phoenix within him and that he, too, was surprised by his powers as he claimed he hadn't dabbled in blood alchemy. The original Spell Walkers concluded that Bautista must have been a phoenix specter in a past life who had been reborn. If that's true, it seems likely that Emil's life is a rebirth / new cycle of Bautista's - a theory made more plausible when they figure out Bautista died just days before Emil was born.

As the news sinks in, Emil comes to a realisation that Iris confirms: "Bautista believed he was reincarnated from Keon Máximo" (the first specter). According to Iris, Bautista had flashes of memories from Keon's life and, racked by the guilt of knowing that Keon was responsible for the creation of all specters, Bautista created the Spell Walkers with the psychic alchemist, Sera Córdova.

Emil points out a flaw in their theory: if Bautista's life essence was transferred to him, it should also have been transferred to Brighton because they're twins. At this point, Emil's mother confesses that Emil isn't her biological son. Emil's father found him abandoned and they took him in, raising him and Brighton as brothers. As Emil's mother recalls the day they found him, she mentions that he was burning up. From this information, the Spell Walkers deduce that Emil was not simply a host that Bautista's life essence transferred to, but a physical reincarnation of Bautista born out of the flames of his death - a literal rebirth.

Emil tells the Spell Walkers he doesn't want powers or