Book Review: Axiom’s End, Noumena #1

Book Review

Axiom’s End, Noumena #1

By: Lindsay Ellis

3.5 Stars

Science Fiction, Conspiracy, Aliens, Alternate History

The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom’s End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist 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 don’t read much political conspiracy, or alternate history, or alien contact stories. Axiom’s End, by Lindsay Ellis, was fun. I think I liked it because of the alternate history angle. Chapters prefaced with news and blog articles about government secrecy, about how “truth is a human right,” using fictitious events blended with actual history (if I recall correctly, I believe the book takes place circa 2007). When Cora gets caught in the middle of one conspiracy, the story carries into a deeper encounter than I expected based of the blurb.

While the overall story kept me reading, there were plenty of times I was annoyed/frustrated enough with the main character to wonder if it was worth finishing. My thought that she was the archetype of “average” kept me in it. Whenever I rolled my eyes or exclaimed some frustration over a decision or action, I remembered this point.

The caricature of one of the government agents is enough for an eye roll as well, but again, not enough for a deal breaker. I get why people hate this book and I get why people love this book. I fell more in the middle.

I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Happy Readng 🙂

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