Tuesday, July 21, 2020

ARC Review: Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis

51171377Title: Axiom's End
Series: n/a
Author: Lindsay Ellis
Source/Format: Publisher via Netgalley; eARC 
More Details: Science Fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: St. Martin's Press; July 21, 2020

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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.
Axiom’s End is not the first book about first-contact that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020—so my expectations were on the higher side. The story had a lot of promise in its premise from the beginning, and I ended up having an inordinate amount of fun reading this novel. Plus I thoroughly liked Ellis's take on first-contact.

Axiom’s End was good. It deals with first contact alongside an alternative and politically tumultuous version of 2007, where a memo about aliens gets leaked to the public. During the ensuing fallout is where the story begins and where the main character, Cora was introduced. From the start, the premise was a pretty exciting one, and I thought the author did a good job with developing the different parts of the story. In particular, I liked the details about Cora’s connection to the memo—through her estranged father—because it added tension to the earlier parts of the story even before aliens got involved. It also added a personal edge to the conflict, and I thought it presented an interesting contrast between Cora and other characters in the story—particularly for those who weren’t her family members—and how different their reactions to the memo were.

I also enjoyed Ellis’s take on aliens. The ones features in the story were kind of cool to say the least, and they were by far one of my favorite aspects about Axiom’s End. Since Cora becomes an interpreter for one of the aliens, there were plenty of details about them—such as how they looked, some of their societal norms, the reason why they were there, and their technological advancements. It was an interesting bit of world building that fleshed-out the aliens.

Cora was a pretty entertaining protagonist, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective. I liked how the author approached her character, including her conflicted feelings about the aliens as well as her father. It grounded her character amongst the extraordinary circumstances of the story. It was also an interesting emotional contrast, with the fear, confusion, and determination she experienced throughout much of the story. I did enjoy the few scenes Cora had with her other family members though, particularly with her aunt. Cora’s father was a different story. Some of his tactics and writings leaned more towards manipulative, and it was clear where his concern was focused.

Overall, I enjoyed Axiom’s End. There was a lot to like about the story, and the end wrapped up the plot in a satisfying way. I will definitely check out more work by this author in the future. Have you read Axiom’s End? Do you plan on reading it?

About the author...

LINDSAY ELLIS is an author, Hugo finalist and video essayist who creates online content about media, narrative, and film theory. After earning her bachelor's in Cinema Studies from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, she earned her MFA in Film and Television Production from USC's School of Cinematic Arts with a focus in documentary and screenwriting. She lives in Long Beach, California, and Axiom's End is her debut novel.

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by St. Martin's Press (publisher) via netgalley for this review, thank you!


  1. i haven't read any of ellis's work but i really enjoyed your review
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Thank you! Axiom's End is Ellis's first book, and I'm looking forward to what she writes next.


Comments are appreciated and always welcome. :)

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