Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis

A couple of weeks ago, Lindsay Ellis’s latest book hit the market. After reading about it probably somewhere on John Scalzi’s blog I simply had to get Axiom’s End. The story is set in an alternate 2007. After something looking like a meteor landed in Southern California conspiracy theorist Nils Ortega starts to release classified documents about this so-called “Ampersand Event”. When a second similar event takes place his formers family is pulled once again into the crosshair of various federal agencies who want to find out how Ortega was able to get to these documents. When Nils’ daughter, Cora Sabino, meets the entity that was responsible for the Ampersand Event, all hell breaks loose endangering the very existence of the human race.

I really enjoyed the world that was built here although I’m not sure why the alternate history was necessary. At least I cannot remember any themes or topics that wouldn’t have been possible in the current time. My guess is that the reason for putting it close to the financial crisis back then was to have a proper point of reference for a major disaster given the uncertain state of other, more recent states of emergency. The author also built a lot of background for the involved alien species with a caste system and multiple sub-species.

Sadly, the plot and the pacing didn’t work as well as the world-building. There was simply no real climax. The last 50 pages should have been the final confrontation but I somehow wasn’t excited for it nor did it have the gravitas it should have had. To phrase it in the words of one of the book’s characters, it should have been “existential” but it somehow wasn’t. The scale simply wasn’t there.

I also simply couldn’t warm up to the main character. As Carrie put it in her review of the book:

… the main character felt awfully young and I had to keep reminding myself this was even supposed to be adult and not young adult …

That being said, I’m still probably going to read another entry of that series just to find out if the whole alternate history thing becomes a more integral story element.

Over the years I've written quite a few reviews 🙂 You can find them at /reviews/.

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