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Lindsay Ellis is releasing a novel Sign me the F CK up (((READ EPUB))) ⇡ Axiom's End ✗ Truth Is A Human RightIt S Fall 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 DecadesRealizing 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 Sinister Than She Ever Imagined Lindsay Ellis wrote a book YEEEEEESS I ve been following her since her Nostalgia Chick days and this makes me so happy I never expected my Youtube geeky world to clash with thelately criminally neglected by yours trulybook world butit s vastly appreciated.Lindsay Ellis apparently wrote a book guys I m oddly excited for this OMG I loved this book, it was a pleasure to read the whole way through, and it explored some fascinating ideas of real substance with great heart and feeling The pace was excellent, the plot was excellent, the characters seemed real, flawed, and likeable At times, the book was hilarious and I laughed out loud Yet it also dove into sharply realistic descriptions of trauma and genocide But despite these heavy subjects, I never felt weighed down or depressed, like I often do when books root themselves in dark subjects I was insulated by a sense of hope and love for humanity sentient life that the author managed to evoke throughout My one complaint was the prose It wasn t terrible, but there were a lot of verbal cliches, and those tend to bother me But honestly, everything else about the book was so great that I completely tuned that out by the end of the second chapter.If I get my job at the bookstore back after the pandemic, I m going to be hand selling this one.Thank you to the folks at Macmillan for sending the ARC to our store Lindsay is a friend, so I shouldn t review this in any real sense, because I am in this book s corner But I think it s a lot of fun, with a really involving plot and incredible amounts of forward momentum The central relationship between human and alien is really well done, and I ended up being surprisingly involved in it Anyway, read it Enrich my friend Reader Fox Blog Truth is a human right.For a book that touted this statement periodically through the novel and even presented it as a main theme by introducing it within its marketing, Lindsay Ellis Axiom s End really didn t have a whole hell of a lot to do with truth being a human right That said, I actually really liked it What s terrible is that I actually found my enjoyment quite surprising considering how difficult I found this book to get into at first dull girl s boring life is only not so dull because apparently, her daddy s some sort of Snowden but only because the government is lying about aliens visiting us and how much I kind of detested Cora in the beginning.But, I had to read it because I love Lindsay Ellis video essays and so the bright side is that it gets better The absolute best thing about Axiom s End was the main alien character, Ampersand He, unquestionably, carried the entire novel In fact, he carried it so much so that the actual main character, Cora, could have been replaced with literally anyone which considering she was a college drop out would have been nice and I would not have even noticed This may be why there was a certain point in the novel where I was genuinely rooting for her death but we ll get into that later.Ah, but oh my gosh, Ampersand is so brilliant.I just loved him so much For a great many reasons, I adored this character I think the piece that it really came down to is his intellect And Ellis actually did a superb job of portraying it He was an exceptionally logical and intelligent creature who d thrown himself into a world of unknowns in order to savesomething that had crash landed and was stuck on Earth forreasons.Okay, so his motivation was great until it wasn t And I think, in its own way, the act of turning this into a mild love story kind of rendered Ampersands initial purposepointless That said, I really didn t mind at all It kind of mirrors real life, in a way.Okay, so I don t actually hate Cora.She grows on you I ll be fair and say that I really didn t care for her at first, but she s a genuinely wonderful set of eyes through which to experience this world and the events of it After we get past how dreary her life is without aliens, she becomes interesting I loved reading her point of view, ironically enough, and I found her to be incredibly real I was even incredibly fond of her motivations.I loved her relationship with Ampersand, watching the tentative alliance turn to genuine trust and friendship They were great together and genuinely did make an incredible book together The slow burn of their development was an impressive choice on Ellis part and, quite frankly, next to Ampersand s shining personality was the second best thing about this entire novel She brought out the emotion in his fact and logic driven exterior.That ending, though.Okay, the way Ellis decided to end her debut wasn t bad I didn t love it, but I get why she chose it and I imagine the majority of readers will prefer it to the ending that I wanted But I also just think that the ending I spent about the last 20% of the novel hoping for would have been way better, even if I m fairly certain a lot of people would have hated it.Honestly Their loss.And mine, too Apparently view spoiler The whole fusion bond thing was interesting, but really lacked the emotional punch I needed from it Also, it was done without Cora s consent or knowledge This kind of bugged the hell out of me since both Ampersand and Cora spent a good deal of time asking each other if they consented to be touched, solet s just throw that to the wind, then, eh But, the ending I truly think this novel needed wasCora s death.I know, I knowwouldn t that just make the entire journey seem pointless To which I say, sure But it also makes it beautifully tragic Especially after Ampersand gives up nearly everything trying to save her Also, there s something ironic in this idea that he wouldn t allow her to kill Obelus because of his fusion bond with him and then ends up losing her after having created that bond I just love this idea so much.So much would have been better if Cora had died in Ampersand s arms and he had been left alone with Obelus and his failures.And the fact that Ellis instead chose to end her novel safely, open ended with Cora and Ampersand sort of just beginning their now shared lives together was so boring I know it s a debut, but take a risk hide spoiler Ellis is as incredible as always. Note I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review All opinions are my own and have not been influenced I don t normally watch video essays on YouTube It takes a very specific kind of personality to get me interested enough to watch anything on YouTube for than 10 minutes especially something that s just analyzing something else But Lindsay Ellis is one of those YouTubers who can get me to watch an hour long video and enjoy it So, when I heard about her debut novel, Axiom s End, I was really excited to give it a read And I was even excited about it when I heard it was a science fiction alternate history novel about humanity s first contact with an alien species That kind of story is one of my favorite kinds of science fiction stories and I was really excited to see what kind of a take Ellis would have on it Having now read the book, I can say that it wasn t really what I expected at all Ellis certainly puts her own spin on the first contact genre, spinning a pretty interesting tale and delivering a book that, while a bit difficult to initially get into, makes for a compelling and enjoyable read.First things first I found this book difficult to get into, but once I got into it, I was really into it Allow me to explain From page one, we re thrown into this story headfirst with no time to really get our bearings The novel begins on the day California experiences a second strange meteor crash within the same month There s no easing into this story the plot is basically already in motion and we re left to just try and keep up with it There s no time to really get adjust to what s going on or what anyone s relationship with each other is because things just have to keep going It s like watching a TV series but skipping the pilot You can mostly follow what s going, but you never quite shake the feeling of having missed something vitally important And all of this is surrounded by some prose that initially feels really clunky Though, on that shortly.So, as the book opens, everybody is already on edge and we don t really understand why until a little later In those opening pages, we also learn a lot about Cora, our protagonist, and her relationship with Nils, her Edward Snowden Julian Assange esque father who has just made some kind of bombshell announcement that Cora has no interest in learning about though Nils ends up factoring into the story a lot less than you d expect Then, the meteor crashes and all hell breaks loose as we re very quickly introduced to strands of the conspiracy that will stretch across the entire novel Something breaks into Cora s house, terrifying her family Government agents arrive and take her family into custody Cora goes on the run Cora starts to learn about the plot, only to suddenly end up somewhere else, having been kidnapped by something potentially extraterrestrial Etc., etc It s just a lot that all happens incredibly quickly and it was often very difficult to follow I felt like I needed an encyclopedia to understand what was going on and why There was almost too much going on, to the point that it was a bit numbing At times, it was like reading the Wikipedia summary of the novel instead of actually reading the story It wasn t a very good experience and I was worried I was really going to dislike the book.Thankfully, this feeling didn t last too long The first third of the novel takes us very quickly from Cora being extremely skeptical about aliens to Cora literally meeting an alien named Ampersand , getting abducted by Ampersand, and agreeing to be Ampersand s translator as he goes about fulfilling his mission which I won t spoil And it s here where the book finally starts getting interesting, partially because it s the time when it finally slows down to start explaining what s been happening up to that point From here on out, the plot is really interesting and it s delivered in easier to follow batches And that plot is a really interesting one I don t want to go into any detail about it because it s well worth experiencing as spoiler free as possible, but once it finally gets going, it moves at a really satisfying pace fast enough that you never get bored but slow enough that you re able to follow it There are times where I wished the novel would slow down a bit so that a particular theme or idea could be explored fully, but I d suspect some of that exploration is being saved for a future novel in this series.Overall, the story is intricately plotted and thought out which is both a positive and a negative The world building is excellent it s set in 2007 and you can feel it almost immediately There are references to Bush, the impending financial disaster of 2008, and tons and tons of mid 2000s pop culture It s all very believable and it s an interesting time to set a story like this The world building seems to exist mainly to set up ideas for future books, but it didn t bother me much because the world that Ellis has created is one that I d want to spend time in The details she shares here are important to this story but not so important that they need to dwarf everything else It s just background, contextual information that enhances our understanding of everything that s going on And it s great But sometimes the details of everything are a little too intricate and it becomes difficult to follow all of the strands again This doesn t happen very often, though, and Ellis is pretty quick to explain something, so it s or less fine On the whole, Axiom s End is a well written and well executed story that excited me, held my attention, and left me wanting.Ellis does a great job of avoiding the usual pitfalls of a first contact story The story isn t really about how all of humanity reacts to an alien presence it s about how Cora and Ampersand react to each other Their story is what forms the heart of the novel and it s a delight to track it They re both interesting characters with intriguing backgrounds, but unfortunately, both characters don t quite get equal development In all honesty, Cora is one of those characters who are really difficult to like Her trauma defines her, and it s led her to be really closed off and standoffish to people This kind of character is not always very fun to spend an entire novel with, and Cora isn t a particularly sympathetic narrator at first To be fair, Cora s unlikability is sort of the point Ellis uses Cora s trauma as a contrast with Ampersand s, comparing and contrasting their experiences, and the scenes where the two of them discuss their pasts and how they re feeling about their presents tend to be among the best scenes of the novel But it doesn t really change the fact that it s really hard to connect with Cora until she meets Ampersand.However, after that fateful meeting, Ampersand kind of steals all the attention away from Cora as he s significantly interesting just by virtue of being a fish out of water alien But still, the connection the two of them share is easily the most interesting aspect of the novel and it s clearly the stuff that Ellis most wanted to explore The two of them push each other into some emotional places as they probe at each other s respective trauma and grow closer and it s so juicy to read There s a hint of Beauty and the Beast to their relationship though probably not in the way you d expect On the whole, their storyline is immensely interesting and the way Ellis uses them to explore the ideas of trauma and morality and how the two interact with each other Like I said, Axiom s End is less about how society reacts to aliens but how one specific human reacts to one specific alien, and how their shared experience influences their worldviews And in that context, it s a great story.Axiom s End is definitely a debut novel it is both Lindsay Ellis s first published novel and also the first novel in a series of books involving Cora and Ampersand Firstly, it reads like a debut novel in a few different ways As I previously mentioned, the novel s prose is a bit rough at first It often ranges between way too descriptive and not descriptive enough, frequently spending a lot of time describing things that don t seem to matter much in the long run while under describing things that seem important And the word choices often feel as if Ellis is stretching to use different synonyms to avoid being repetitive instead of just describing what she s trying to describe succinctly It makes the whole thing feel a bit obtuse and less accessible Now, to be fair, there s nothing technically wrong with the prose there are no glaring grammar errors or anything like that The problems with the prose are probably subjective and the result of my own preferences rather than something that s actually a problem I personally don t enjoy overly descriptive prose and I tend to prefer straightforward descriptions of things But your mileage may vary there I m sure most won t find anything noteworthy about her prose But for me, it was a bit clunky for a while though I did eventually get used to it and found myself able to just go with what she was doing.Secondly, Axiom s End is clearly the first part of a series of novels While the main conflict is technically wrapped up by the book s end, the novel closes on a pretty big cliffhanger I d liken it to the feeling you get when you watch a season finale of a TV show the season s main plotline is wrapped up, but the episode ends with the beginnings of the plotline that will form the narrative thrust of the show s subsequent season That s exactly what happens with Axiom s End And, to be fair, there s nothing wrong with that as long as you know going into the book that you re not getting the entire story Lindsay Ellis has been very forthright about this on her Twitter, trying to make sure that readers know they re reading the first part of a series, but the book s actual promotional material doesn t mention anything about the book being the first in a series, and I suspect that readers who aren t expecting a cliffhanger might be disappointed when they find one So, here s your warning this book ends on a cliffhanger It s a damn good one, too, and it s left me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series But, had I gone into this not knowing it was the beginning of a series, I d have probably been annoyed by the cliffhanger So, just be aware of that and know that a sequel has already been confirmed and is currently expected to come out next year.All in all, Axiom s End is a pretty solid debut from Lindsay Ellis While the first third of the novel is a bit dense and hard to get into, once the story really gets moving it s very easy to get enveloped in all that s going on with Cora and Ampersand It s a really unique take on a first contact story, focusing on the micro implications of a human and alien making contact rather than on the macro implications Ellis brings a passion to the material she clearly has something to say about humanity and how we interact with other species, and she does a great job of articulating this Ellis does an equally impressive job of setting up an entire world here, teasing us with little references to all that s going on outside of Cora and Ampersand s story and leaving us wanting to explore of this world In much the same way, the book ends on a cliffhanger that deftly propels us into the next chapter of the story which has, thankfully, already been announced for a 2021 publication At the end of the day, Axiom s End is one of those books that takes a bit of time to get going, but once it does, you ll be extremely happy you read it I thoroughly enjoyed it and I m excited to see where Lindsay Ellis takes it in the future. I requested this arc because I really enjoy Lindsay s film criticism on YouTube, and hoped that would be enough to overcome the sci fi, as that remains one of my struggle genres.Unfortunately, I couldn t connect with the characters, at any point I could buy into trauma leading to an emotional connection between Cora and Ampersand in the macro but upon a mild second ponder, what would attract him to Cora And I m speaking mentally, not in judgement of her oft discussed rachet root situation I just felt we lost so much of her character while she acted as interpreter for Ampersand there isn t a lot of room for development when your MC s main function in the story is to be the mouthpiece for another.I also didn t understand why this needed to have the backdrop of the financial crisis the NINJA mortgages still exist in a world also grappling with first contact , you don t need both problems to blow up the stock market.I don t want to harp on, as this is a debut, and judging by the other reviews posted so far, I am the outlier but it really didn t work for me.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an arc for review This has in no way influenced my opinion.