Ash Yang was all set to become the next high-flying starfighter pilot of the Star Corporation Academy - until she bombed her final test to save some innocent lives. She lost her dream job, but her selfless act landed her another, much stranger, occupation. Ash is the new Guardian of the Infinity Files, situated in the Library (not the Restaurant!) at the End of the Universe, and it’s her job to maintain peace across the galaxy.
In case that premise doesn’t tell you, The Infinity Files - author S.M. Wilson’s follow-up to her hit Extinction Trials books - is a lot of fun. Essentially the happy medium between Doctor Who and Star Trek, much of the entertainment value comes from the various planets and civilisations Ash journeys to as she collects dangerous artefacts from around the cosmos. Sometimes it’s an all-robotic society, other times it’s a world based on Tsarist Russia.
That’s the Doctor Who of it accounted for, but the outer mythology - concerning cultural clashes and unending conflicts between different races - is pure Trek. The world Wilson has created veers more to the fantasy side of the sci-fi genre, but it still touches on some heavy themes, particularly the futility of war. As for Ash, she’s a particularly strong protagonist. Green Lantern-ed onto a heroic path she never expected, she’s constantly challenged and thrown out of her comfort zone.
Wilson’s writing hurtles along at warpspeed, never allowing the pace to let up as Ash crashes from one crisis to the next. This is both a pro and a con, however. While it means your attention never wanes, a little breathing room here and there would’ve allowed for some deeper character introspection or world-building. As a result, the reader may feel slightly underfed upon finishing.
The good news is that The Infinity Files is the first half in a duology, so a sequel is on the way. Anyone looking for some pure escapism into outer space while we’re all grounded at home should take a trip to the Library at the End of the Universe.