Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey

“The reason we show you this,” Otubre said, “right here at the start of your training, is so you’ll know what you’re fighting for. Every world’s got a lease, troopers. Every one of us has got an expiry date. But until god himself comes down from the holy mountain and tells us our time is up, we will fight against anything that comes. Otherwise-” He hooked his thumbs and turned them outwards, indicating the silent city, the dead world. “Otherwise this, what you’re looking at here, is what’s coming to you and yours. Your homeworld will look just like this one, from now until the fucking stars go out.”

-Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey

If it wasn’t already obvious, M.R. Carey has become one of my favorite authors of all time in the past year. From The Girl With All the Gifts to Someone Like Me to The Rampart Trilogy, M.R. Carey has proved time and time again that he is a master storyteller. And to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement. I am enormously grateful to Orbit Books for sending me an ARC of Infinity Gate because it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it absolutely blew me away!

Infinity Gate is a story that tells of many worlds. All of these worlds exist in the Pandominion, and they are thousands of different realities of Earth. (I am all here for multiverse stories, they are among my favorite ever).

On one dying Earth, scientist Hadiz Tambuwal is trying to find a way to save her planet. She works at a research facility called Campus Cross in Lagos, Nigeria. Most of her colleagues have abandoned their work, as the world has been falling apart around them. But Hadiz knows she can save the world somehow, so she keeps experimenting. Despite her slight discomfort with collaborating with AI, she quickly begins working with an AI called Rupshe. The two of them begin to make a discovery about the world. Using a QEI machine, she begins sending objects through it. Most disappear, and the question of where they are going troubles Hadiz. Eventually, she begins to send drones. The drones start flickering into these other worlds for seconds, just long enough to take a reading and see if the worlds can sustain life and already have life on them.

Until Hadiz finds one that does. Hadiz eventually leaves her Earth behind, ready to set out for another Earth in the hopes that she can continue to learn and flourish. For Hadiz has stumbled on travel between worlds, and yet she wasn’t the first to discover it.

The Pandominion is operated by a single AI that controls every step from world to world. Everyone travels via step plates, and these interactions are monitored carefully. Watchmaster Orso Vemmet is one individual who is to monitor any anomalies. He notes the passing of one of Hadiz’s drones but it is there for such a short time, he basically files it away and reminds himself to keep an eye on it. Yet in doing so, he misses the hundreds of other steps her drones have taken, and the step she herself has taken. This lands Vemmet in huge trouble and he is given a crap position as punishment, but he is determined to fix his mistake.

Then we meet Essien who lives in an alternate Lagos, the one in fact that Hadiz stepped into. At this point, Hadiz is making big discoveries, but what she misses is companionship. Her and Essien strike up a friendship with benefits, and when Hadiz eventually confesses and shares her breakthroughs with Essien, he betrays her, using it as a way to get rich quick. But instead of being successful in stealing her work, he becomes captured and has very little choice in the next step of his fate, he becomes a Cielo, one of the defenders of the Pandominion and any threats that may come against it.

Last (but not least), we meet Paz, a rabbit living in a Pandominion world. She is on the cusp of a huge revolution that she isn’t even aware of, one that she doesn’t want to be a part of, but one she can’t ignore.

This story is completely brilliant. It is face-paced and engrossing, and near impossible to put down. M.R. Carey has built an insanely incredible multiverse that is intricate and complicated, but also easy to understand. I absolutely loved the characters in this book. All of them are incredibly flawed but they are also strong, unbending and determined. As different as they all are, I was able to connect with them and relate to them, even though their reality is nothing like my own.

I think this book is fantastic, and I am so excited to read the second book in the series when it comes out. Infinity Gate releases 03/28/2023. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss!

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