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Book Review: To Flail Against Infinity

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Infinite power, infinite danger.

Growing up mortal, I only knew a few things about cultivators. They like their hierarchies, they hate disrespect, and if you leave one out in deep space long enough, they’ll go homicidally insane.

It turns out, there’s a reason for that. Away from all the gravity wells and biospheres that generate natural energy, things get just quiet enough to notice the infinite ocean of qi entirely incompatible with our own.

I should know. I’ve seen it.

Only difference is, I didn’t go mad. I wasn’t a cultivator. Technically, I wasn’t even alive.

But now I can sense it. I can touch it.

I can cultivate it.”

Title: To Flail Against Infinity

Series: The Stargazer’s War #1

Author: J.P. Valentine

Page Count: 493

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: November 3rd, 2023

To Flail Against Infinity by J.P. Valentine was only my second full read for the SPSFC-3 competition. It was the last of my slush reads but I was enjoying the first 20% so much, I went ahead and continued on to finish it out completely. As always with competition reads, please keep in mind my public reviews are entirely my own feelings toward these books and may not necessarily reflect our entire team overall.
The pacing of this read worked well for me. There were a handful of editing issues sprinkled throughout but nothing too glaring that tripped me up while reading. Mostly it just seemed some typos that I noticed once in awhile. This read did lean a bit into the faster pace but not so much that I felt like too much was being left out. There is certainly plenty of action and intrigue to keep things interesting. And as I usually mention in my reviews, I didn’t have any issues with names to trip me up in this one other.
The world building was really unique. Now keep in mind that Science Fiction is probably my second most read genre I still don’t read an overly abundant amount which means some of the aspects to this world may be more commonly found than I am aware of. But I really enjoyed the “magic” of Qi in this world. I also ended up enjoying the academy setting which as I’ve voiced before, I’m not a huge fan of stories that revolve around school. This one kept things interesting and spent enough time away from the academy itself for my enjoyment.
The character development also worked really well for me. Not only did we of course see quite an arc for our protagonist Caliban and several of our supporting characters, but we even get glimpses back to fill in some information of characters introduced briefly at the beginning to let us understand those characters and their reasoning just a bit more. I really liked the constantly struggle that Cal has throughout most of the book as he realizes his power and abilities. Sure he seems to progress quickly but it takes a lot of work for him and his friends to figure out how things work with his Qi being so different!
I’d also like to mention there were a couple of times reading this book that I ended up with goosebumps. That doesn’t happen often and usually only when really connecting with a story and its characters.
The ending was really good as well. I had made some notes along the way with some suspicions I had and I was close on a couple but I didn’t really nail anything specifically.
This isn’t necessarily a happy story due to many things that happen in this story but it all seemed to have meaning by the end.
This was my first read by J.P. Valentine and I will have to look into some more works from this author. I will certainly be looking to continue this series as well.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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