Lovers of forbidden love stories have a young adult romance to devour. Moreover, the unique background of the circus and the complete control that borders on tyranny that circus management reigns over its performers—even if they are just minors—will break your heart. Fortunately, as we learned in book 1 (Amour Amour), the “circus is family” and the hero and heroine have family that ultimately comes to their rescue. Adding to the allure of the fresh and new unique plot in Infini is the adept narration by Bahni Turpin and Johnathan McClain subject to one caveat noted below.
As this is book 2 in the Aerial Ethereal series, it is worth noting that there are continuing characters from the first book who function as secondary characters in this book. However, though it will certainly enhance your experience, it is not necessary that you listen to Amour Amour first, as the romance between the hero and heroine of this book is fully contained in Infini.
The hero of this story is Luka Kotava, the brother of the hero from Amour Amour. As a Kotava, Luka is one of the famous Kotava aerial acrobats, though not necessarily the most talented of his family. Luka’s penchant for getting in trouble (due to battles with both kleptomania and bulemia as residual coping mechanisms from a traumatic childhood event) make him one of the circus management’s least favorite performers. The heroine is Baylee Wright, a talented juggler.
Luka and Baylee were childhood best friends. Then when they entered adolescence their relationship morphed into more as they experimented with the overwhelming feelings that each inspired in the other. It was during one of their “experimenting” sessions, as young teens, that they are caught in the act and forced to agree to never even talk again with other. According to the circus’ management, they were never to speak about the incidence to anyone–as the circus has a strict rule of no fraternization with other performers for minors–or ever look at each other again. They were threatened that if they were caught breaking the terms of their new contract, that the circus would be forced to fire not just them but all minors employed with the circus due to legal reasons.
Luka and Baylee, with no guardians or lawyers privy to the arrangement, agreed to the terms for fear that they would ruin other minors’ dreams of being performers in the circus. Though they miss each other desperately, and believe they will never find true love again, they see no way around the harsh verdict. The fact that they were also assigned to different shows in different states helps them comply with the terms of this contract of adhesion.
Four years later, however, everything changes once again when they are assigned to the same show and forced to work together. Will Luka and Baylee feel the same spark after so many years? And if they do, will they be able to live up to the terms of the contract knowing that their HEA hangs in the balance? Then again, the alternative is the dashing of many circus minors’ dreams–could they be so careless about others dreams?
Bahni Turpin and Johnathan McClain narrate Infini in the typical contemporary romance fashion where the female narrator narrates the chapters from the heroine’s perspective and the male narrator those from the hero’s. This style works well to differentiate the point of view being shared and also gives each character their own personal sound and style.
I recently listened to Ms. Turpin for the first time in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas–and Ms. Turpin greatly impressed me in that performance. Well, I’m happy to say that Ms. Turpin is equally suited for romance titles as she did a great job with infusing Baylee’s parts with the heart-breaking emotion of forbidden love while also equally nailing the strong, feisty heroine parts.
Mr. McClain also has a good handle on communicating emotion which is well suited for an angst-filled young adult romance. Moreover Mr. McClain is able to provide differentiated voices for the numerous male voices in the story. I especially liked his very convincing voice for the evil, haughty director of the show.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t note the same narration issue that I found in Amour Amour. Though we have new narrators, neither seemed to even attempt a Russian accent for the Russian born Katova performers. While this didn’t detract from the story as much in this book (perhaps because I had already become accustomed to it in the first book), it did leave me questioning why narrators who could do the Russian accent were not cast for this book which features a Russian acrobat hero and his brothers and cousins.
If you’re looking for a fresh and creative young adult romance, then I believe Infini will provide for an interesting and intriguing story. The forbidden romance angle definitely tugged at my heart and left me rooting for this couple who seemed to be at the mercy of a cruel and heartless circus management team (both in their forbidding of their relationship and just generally in their seeming careless indifference to their health as they forced them to try extremely dangerous stunts).
Now I can’t wait to listen to more of the Ritchie sisters works.
Note: this title is included in the Audible US Romance Package
AUTHOR: Becca and Krista Ritchie
NARRATED BY: Bahni Turpin and Johnathan McClain
GENRE: Contemporary Romance - Young Adult
STEAM FACTOR: 6
REVIEWER: BJBuy Infini by Becca and Krista Ritchie on Amazon