Infamous: Chronicles of Nick Hardcover – Mar 13 2012
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"A thoroughly entertaining listen."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
In the past two years, New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon has claimed the #1 spot fifteen times. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre she writes. With more than 23 million copies of her books in print in over 30 countries, her current series include: The Dark-Hunters, The League, Lords of Avalon, BAD Agency, Chronicles of Nick and the forthcoming Nevermore.
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When trouble comes to his school in the form of cyber bullying, Nick makes it his new mission to find out who's behind it and stop them. But Gautier is going to have to be careful, making the wrong choice could cost him his life, his soul, or the people he loves.
Sherrilyn Kenyon is not only taking on the plight of good and evil to save or destroy the world, she's also tackling current trends in bullying, and the always popular parent/teen topics of sex, drugs, and drinking. Basically Nick might be too much of a saint for his age, with a mother who really doesn't deserve him.
This book spent a lot of time trying to lay out and redefine Nick's relationship with his mom. I found this dynamic as frustrating as Nick would, only I didn't love her in the end, no matter how much Kenyon tried to redeem her. His relationships with Caleb and Kody on the other hand were refreshing in between the verbal or physical bashing Nick took in this one.
Infamous started off great and ended with a bang. It wasn't as exciting to me as the past installments, but that was mainly because the author spent a lot of time laying the ground work for the series. The series is starting to take shape, but the main story plot seemed loosely threaded throughout the book to string together the bullying aspect. It was so strongly intertwined with the other story lines I felt it got lost at times, which I found made the plot hard to follow in the middle of the book, before things came together in the end.
Holter Graham did another amazing job narrating this series. Sometimes I feel like male readers don't do enough to emphasize female characters, but Graham never fails to create wonderful voices for each distinct character. He reads so clearly, recreating Kenyon's words with his accents, pronunciations, and diction which are always spot on. The Chronicle's of Nick really highlights Graham's strength, in matching a voice with the character's personality. Some narrators just change the tone of their voice, but Graham uses a mixture of vocal nuances, accents, and acting to deliver an auditory mirage of characters. Holter Graham is a big part of why I enjoy this series as much as I do.
Infamous is much darker than the previous two books and we see Nick's battle really gearing up. His relationship with Ambrose starts to make sense and we begin to get a peak at how Sherry is going to combine this Nick with the Nicky we have already met and fell in love with the early days of the Dark Hunter Series. We get a lot of information in this book and it leaves the rollicking good time concept of the first two books. But that makes sense, Nick is growing both as an adolescent human and as the Malachai.. The good news, even though it is most indeed darker than the previous books it in no way compares to Sherrie's offering to suffering and despair, Archeron, although it has it's moments. I suppose to really understand a character of such depth that Nick is turning out to be we must first understand how they came to where they are. Fortunately for us, we get Nick in pieces instead of all rolled up in one book. This way we still get to see the charming, snarky, pain in the derriere that we call Nick.
Infamous in many ways is about relationships.. Nick's relationship with Kody, Caleb and most importantly his mother. We also find out about Bubba and his family and get to meet his mother, the dynamics of this relationship come as quite the surprise. It also embraces the concept of creating a family, knowing who your friends are and in learning to trust them. We also learn that sometimes those that you think are on your side, aren't.
This story begins, the real story not the prologue, as Nick, Kody and Caleb walk into home room and discover that something nasty is happening at the school. First off there are horrid pictures of Brynna Adams (yes one of those Adams) manufactured and posted on computer.. then students are posting rumors and innuendo on another person's locker.. Then all heck breaks loose as Nick and crew try to get to the bottom of things. Nick has to battle Demons both inner and outer, in this realm and other ones.. He has to fight his mother to be heard, truly heard and worst of all, he is in constant battle with true evil, humans.
Along the way he is beaten, betrayed and not believed. Every time he does what is right, what we know is right someone takes him down for it. He has to battle his way through demons, makes his first sneak appearance into Azmodea and enjoys a rather strange first meeting between Nick and Asmodeus. Ok, could a meeting between those two be anything but strange? But I giggled my way through it, I couldn't help myself. Adarian Malachai makes his presence felt and in doing so we learn a few interesting facts about why Nick can be saved.. Nicky also makes a deal with someone that infuriates an unbelieving Ambrose.
As I previously stated Infamous is a dark, brooding, cacophony of the demons that control us but it has it's fun moments and it is endearing in the way Nick continues to really want to be normal, human and good. Yes, Nick has way more battles ahead but he shows such promise. Maybe Ambrose will finally be happy. Do I recommend this book, heck yeah.. it is a must read for those who are following Nick's chronicles but more than that it stands as a wonderful example as why Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the leading PNR writers today.
First 50 Pages: I feel as though Infamous started out slower than the previous two books in this series, but it quickly picked up the pace just a few chapters into the story. Like with her other novels, Infamous is action packed with a lot of emotion and great quality writing. Nick even begins to grow up a little bit in this book, since he is now (finally) fifteen. I also think that the plot is starting to merge with the adult Dark Hunters books, as more characters from those books are starting to pop up! Yay!
Characters & Plot: I'll just come out and say it right not that this wasn't my favorite book in the series so far, and most of it stems from the themes and one particular character, which I'll uncover in a little bit.
Infamous begins with yet another disaster at the school, with rumors and secrets flying all over the place. There is some major gossip going on as well as some serious cyber bullying. As if zombies and demons aren't enough to worry about, right? Nick tries and tries to make everything right again, but he keeps getting put into difficult situations he really has no control over. Trouble just seems to follow Nick around like a lost puppy, and unfortunately, he has to deal with the consequences. Let me rephrase that. Nick is forced to deal with crazy-as-a-bat mother.
I know that some people really love Cherise, but she drives me bonkers. Her character is so irritating to me in so many ways. I honestly wish she would just go away, and not just because Infamous featured her and her relationship with Nick so prominently, but because she isn't a good person and she has zero faith in her son. This novel revolved around Nick and his mother, and by the end of the story, I had had enough of Cherise. The way she speaks down to him is horrible and she acts like he deliberately gets himself into trouble, or she treats him like a baby. I just really do not like this character and I'm not sure how anyone can like her.
Along with the annoying motherly issues, came other issues I found slightly annoying. The themes of this book felt scripted and preachy, something that I didn't find was a great asset to the novel. Infamous felt like it really wanted to drive home certain points in a non-subtle manner. I'm guessing Sherrilyn Kenyon very much wanted teens to know that drinking, using drugs, and pre-marital sex are super bad and evil. The teen angst in this book was also off the charts, but with Cherise breathing down Nick's back every two seconds, I can see why he seemed, well, so teenagerish.
Now, all of this isn't to say that it was a bad book, because it wasn't. I liked a lot of other things about it too. Like I said before, the plot between the adult books and this series is starting to converge a little bit with the introduction of characters from her other stories. I have a feeling that there is still a few books to go before we really see huge, major changes. Nick also seemed more mature and less childlike in Infamous, much to my delight. I still would like to see him mature a lot more before this series ends, but this book is a step in the right direction.
Final Thoughts: Even though Infamous isn't my favorite in the series, I would still give it a good recommendation to pick it up and read it. Sherrilyn really is a great writer and The Chronicles of Nick series is wonderful as a whole. I think other people won't judge Nick's mother as harshly as I have and its more of a personal preference then a problem with the author's writing. I am excited to see what Nick does next!
The problems? #1 problem with this book has been pointed out by other reviews: Nicks mother. She has to rank up there as one of the worst ever. I have to say that my own oldest sons father was pretty horrible but the idea that I could take that out on my son is horrifying. Nicks mother grounds him about 5 times a day for breathing, never listens to him at all, constantly berates him in public & never takes his side in anything. Kenyon tries to redeem her by saying well at least she didnt give him up for adoption (he might have been better off) & she turned her rapist boyfriend in for robbing a bank (that was for Nick?) & threatens bodily harm to anyone else who treats her son badly (except when they beat him into a coma & her first words were: I told him to stop fighting). This character has to go!
Big problem #2: (& spoiler alert) This book is about cyberbullying. Very current & hip topic to write about now but not handled well at all. Whats wrong with it? Well first of all dont waste your time trying to figure out who is behind it because like a really horrible mystery writer Kenyon doesnt even introduce the character until the end of the book. She then sends the character into a strange several page rant about how horrible people are & then reveals she was possessed by a demon. Doesnt really matter because she was still going to be arrested as is her dad (also possessed) for attacking Nick. But the guy who attacks Nick & puts him in a coma earlier (not possessed) isnt punished at all.
Basically in this book Nick is beaten to a bloody pulp twice & hospitalized & arrested for rape & nearly commits suicide once while all the students & teachers at his school hate him & all the while his mother blames him then the book ends badly.
I really enjoyed the first 2 books in the Nick series (with the exception of the parts with his mother in it) & really hope the next one will get back on track. You almost have to read this book so you know what happens as a bridge between books in the series but Kenyon better really deliver with the next book to make it worth it to have to read this one!