cover image Infinity Alchemist

Infinity Alchemist

Kacen Callender. Tor Teen, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-2508-9025-2

After he’s rejected from the College of Alchemic Science division of Lancaster College, impulsive but brilliant Ash Woods, 18, applies and is accepted to work as a groundskeeper at the school. Without the college’s training, lower-class Ash has little chance of earning a license that will allow him to legally practice alchemy, so he uses his access to the school’s resources to teach himself. When arrogant upper-class Ramsay Thorne, 19, catches him, they offer Ash a deal: assist them in finding the legendary Book of Source and they’ll teach him alchemy. Their partnership blossoms into a tentative romance, but other powerful figures—who are willing to manipulate or even kill to find it—want the book’s power for themselves. And Ash isn’t certain that Ramsay wouldn’t do the same. Callender (Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution) builds a rich environment that echoes real-world injustices and is populated by intersectionally diverse characters: Ash is transgender and, like other major characters, brown-skinned; pale-skinned Ramsay is described as a person with “shifting gender.” Occasionally alternating viewpoints, political intrigue, a fascinating magic system, and heart-pounding action propel the plot and, combined with Ash’s unfurling relationships with Ramsay and the rest of the supporting cast, result in a refreshingly affirming and tender standout fantasy. Ages 13–up. Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Feb.)