There is really only one word that can truly express Sarah L. Johnson’s newest story Infractus: wow. Wow, as in an author finally giving readers a post-apocalyptic novel that is not cliché and far from predictable. Wow, as in a story that will grip the readers so tight that they will not want to put the book down until its unforeseeable conclusion. Wow, as in an author who gives fans who love the genres of dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, and even supernatural an original and enticing story to read.
Abandoned as a baby and never given a name, a boy is taken in by those who try to teach him what is right and how to survive in a cruel and heartless world. The world becomes darker when a violent attack sweeps across the entire globe, completely destroying the balance of power. Society is now in ruins, a dark regime known as the Panopticon is now in control of keeping a close eye on all the humans who remain alive, erasing those who pose a threat, and the nameless boy grows into a man who survives by becoming an assassin. The assassin is never burdened by the people he kills, yet a voice haunts him in his sleep: a dark voice that knows full well what is in store for humanity as well as the assassin’s true name, yet will reveal nothing until the time is right. The assassin’s fate comes to light sooner than expected as a woman who nearly kills him offers him a choice: to aid her in taking down Panopticon or to watch the end of the world with the rest of humanity.
In a dark and grim way, Infractus is a breath of fresh air for the dystopian genre, for quite a few of these novels found today seem to be following very similar premises. While many of these novels are geared more towards young adult readers and seem to focus on finding love, rekindling a broken family, or protecting loved ones at the end of the world, Johnson’s story follows none of the aforementioned examples. It is considered a sci-fi/ fantasy post-apocalyptic novel, but it is written in a way that is eerily believable. This story is most certainly not for children or young adults to read for there are many dark moments that will make readers possibly feel shaken. It is a story that focuses on humanity and what it means to be human and raises a question for readers to think about: When the world is coming to an end, what would YOU do? Who would YOU truly be at the end of everything?
Johnson thought way outside of the box for her story and executes it very well. She is able to fully convey what she thinks and feels through her writing and readers are in for quite the emotional ride as they go. One chapter may be nothing but ominous goings on while the next may leave the reader laughing. One moment, the reader may feel hopeless while the next, a sliver of light breaks through the dark. One passage may leave the readers questioning while the next will leave them speechless. So many twists and turns abound in this book and they are to be explored by the readers themselves rather than reading about them from someone else.
Even characters in Infractus are difficult to talk about for to focus on them would potentially ruin the story for readers, but there is one character that can be spoken of. He is the one character readers will follow throughout the entire book and will know so much about, yet at the same time, nothing at all. Johnson created an incredibly complex character and develops him beautifully throughout the book’s entirety. Going through such dramatic changes as he grows and never staying in one spot for long, he creates new names and aliases for himself. “Every alias represented a shard of his personality. He’d yet to come across a single name to fuse them all, and so he lived a collection of splinters.” There are times when he seems like he has a sliver of kindness within him, remembering those who had the most impact on his life. Then there are times when he acts like a mindless machine and kills. He is more of an anti-hero, so readers may find themselves liking the character or completely hating him or both.
Johnson has written an enticing new story where curiosity reigns supreme. This aspect may drive readers crazy for the beginning of the book does move fairly quickly, leaving more questions than answers at times; however, there comes a point in the story where questions begin to find answers and readers find it rather difficult to put the book down. Infractus is set to be released by Coffin Hop Press on April 10th of this year. It is a story that will leave readers unsure of where it will take them next and guessing from the first page to the last page. It will give readers a truly eerie and realistic-like dystopian tale that will make them say wow. Wow, as in there is so much within this one book that Johnson plans to continue the story into a future book or even books. Wow, as in come the end, one will not want to wait until the next book comes out.