By: Lindsay Ellis
Truth is a human right.
It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government—and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him—until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.
Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human—and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.
I picked up Axiom’s End because I enjoy watching Lindsay Ellis’ YouTube video essays. She’s smart and interesting and is great at saying things I think but can’t articulate. I also enjoy Sci-Fi, so I figured I might as well read her book.
It was weird. Interesting, but a bit weird. The aliens always kind of creeped me out because she’d frequently used descriptor words for spiders. They were like a fusion of a raptor and spider or something. They’re aliens, so I’m not sure if the image in my head is right.
I liked Cora, the heroine. She was a good representation of a decent human. She had her weak moments, but she was also strong and smart, and kind. She was who you would want to make first contact after years of watching movies and seeing how shit our government would be at something that important.
Cora’s family was in the book, briefly, and I’m less sure about them. Her father abandoned them for power and fame. Her mother hasn’t handled that very well, even though she was given a choice to go with him. Cora has a younger brother and sister, but they’re too young to add much. There’s also an aunt that comes off as a bitch.
Cora’s relationship with Ampersand, the alien, ended up developing into something I expected but wasn’t a fan of. He could be likable, but a lot of that was because you were seeing him through Cora’s eyes. She feared him, but she was also drawn to him. That’s not an emotional combination I’ve felt before, that I can currently remember, so it’s not something I particularly liked.
I enjoyed Axiom’s End but again, and this is a horrible description, it was a bit weird. I’ve only read a few first contact books, and none of them are ever what I expect. Maybe that’s my problem? Probably. Whatever my preconceived ideas are just don’t match up to what the genre delivers.
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