Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Don't click that back button: you haven't accidentally wandered into an immersion course in French. Nope, today we're visiting New Orleans, where the annual Mardi Gras festival features a slogan that, in English, means "Let the good times roll."
And boy, are they gonna roll.
New Orleans is home to wild parties, delicious food, and—if American Horror Story taught us anything—witches who are as vengeful as they are stylish. It's the perfect, hip setting for a book about a young man discovering he has hidden power. We mean, seriously, after you're done fighting the undead, what you really need is a beignet and some dark coffee to recharge.
Sherrilyn Kenyon's Infinity tells the story of Nick Gautier (that's pronounced "Go-shay," ladies and gents), a fourteen-year-old kid who meets a variety of magical creatures and demons and teams up with them to battle a zombie plague sweeping the French Quarter.
Kenyon published Infinity in 2010 as a spin-off of her super-successful Dark-Hunter series. That series began in 2002, and for the next thirteen years, Kenyon published over 60 novels and manga adaptations of her work. There aren't any witches in Infinity, but the freakishly prolific Kenyon might be one herself. How else can you explain 60 novels in a decade?
The Dark-Hunter series is about servants of Greek gods and goddess living in the modern day to defend humanity against vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beasties. During their down time, we've gotta warn you, they engage in lots of…let's just say, not-kid-appropriate activities.
But cool down, there, Shmoopers: Infinity is a young adult spin-off—we said the protagonist was fourteen, for Pete's sake—so there are none of those risqué elements here. Instead, Kenyon populates Infinity with more cameos than an episode of Entourage. Fans of her Dark-Hunter series can see a softer side of series mainstays like Acheron, Kyrian, and Simi. Main character Nick himself appears as an adult in Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series.
More people will soon be familiar with Kenyon's Dark-Hunters, because movies and TV shows are in development based both on her main series and the Chronicles of Nick series. It's a weird, wild world on the page, so we can only imagine what it'll be on the big screen.
There are eight books planned in the Chronicles of Nick series, all with titles that start with In-, like Infamous, Inferno, and Incontinent, which takes place far into the future when Nick is in a nursing home with some powers that are a little less than magical.
In 1985, Tears for Fears told us an important truth: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Almost thirty years later, Lorde covered that song, proving that everyone still wants to rule the world. She should have added a line about how everyone also wants to win the lottery.
Just think: in January 2016, about 371 million lottery tickets were sold for a chance to win a $1.5 billion-with-a-B Powerball jackpot (source). With that kind of money, you could take over the world and have enough dough to spare for a house, a car, and an Oculus Rift.
Nick Gautier starts Infinity as a total zero. His popularity rating is less that whoever is president when you're reading this, and his bank account is in negative numbers. He wants more. Who doesn't?
Even though math teaches us that it's pretty easy to end up with more than zero, reality often proves contrary. When you have nothing, it's awfully hard to get something, which is why people resort to desperate measures like buying an entire sheet of lottery tickets just to get ahead.
Nick's desperation takes him down a path toward gods, demons, and zombies. In this book, it turns out that the odds of getting ahead by supernatural means might be better than your odds of winning the lottery—at least if you're like Nick. Nick is a fiercely determined fighter, and he's out to get what he wants. Because when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.
That doesn't mean Nick will do anything to get ahead; it just means that he's brave about going after what we wants. The important thing is that manages to fight for what he wants without compromising his morals. Nick wants to succeed, and he wants to do it admirably. He's a fictional character worthy of looking up to.
Nick's hard work and strength of character pay off. We won't spoil the ending here, so we'll just say this: Nick might win the lottery and rule the world. Tears for Fears would be proud.
"Infinity" is almost the number of books Kenyon has written. She keeps track of them for you on her website.
Kenyon has a fan base as rabid as the werewolves in her books. Update your rabies shot and check out her official fansite.
From New Orleans to Hollywood
Nick is headed to the big screen, scheduled for a 2017 debut. With all the fights he tends to get into, it's a good thing all that blood won't actually show up on the red carpet.
Man of Few Words
Sherrilyn Kenyon let fans interview her character Acheron. His answers use fewer characters than his really long name.
Blast from the Past
Chronicles of Nick is like Kenyon's version of Muppet Babies, showing fans many of her characters as teenagers.
Cue the Video
This book trailer has us wondering what billiards has to do with anything in the story.
The Voice of Nick
The guy who reads the audio book is named Holter Graham. Kenyon: you need to steal this dude's name for one of your characters.
Sing This Way
Nick listens to this Aerosmith song on his birthday. Too bad he's not much of a dancer. Walk this way? Talk this way? Nick just sits this way.
Nick's mom's favorite genre of music is zydeco, which is as New Orleans as you can get.
Acheron drives a Porsche 911 Turbo. This might be the closest you ever get to one.
No, not Edward Hopper, but Edward Chopper. Sorry, bad motorcycle humor. Tabitha rides a Honda Nighthawk, which might look like this bike.
Nerd Scootin' Boogie
We're not sure what kind of "nerd scooter" Madaug rides, but considering Kenyon's penchant for Hondas, maybe it's this Honda Metropolitan.
Fate, Free Will, or Abs
Sherrilyn Kenyon uses models to illustrate her characters, including a total stud for Ambrose. If Nick grows up to look like that, why would he want to change anything?