Nate’s GoodReads Review of Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis

I couldn’t decide where I wanted to rate this until discussing it with a friend. He gave it 5-stars but I didn’t quite like it to that level. I was trying to decide between 3.5 and 4.5 and I think yeah… 4 is probably where it would be. I don’t know what I was expecting. All I knew is that it was some sci-fi thing. I expected something more action-based and did not get it. But I did get an interesting and strange trip in nostalgia for 2007 of all things. I’ve seen enough 80s and 90s nostalgic to last me the rest of my life but 2000s nostalgia doesn’t really come up often. I can think of a lot of reasons for this… but I digress. I was interested in “An Alien and his Pet Human” but I don’t think I really cared about the plot itself? Fleshing out the world, learning about another alien culture, learning that “we’re not so different, you and I” and thinking in a new way are all great. Most of the book is spent in an alien bunker doing this kind of thing. But the Obelus/Genome plot? Eh. That’s about all I can say about it. It was there. It wasn’t bad. There needed to be some tangible threat and they played that role nicely. But the resolution of Obelus/Genome didn’t feel like a strong payoff or the release of any tension.

All the world changing stuff seems to be happening in the background in some distant land despite the character being a first-hand witness to first contact. There’s also an existential threat looming over us that didn’t in any way, shape, or form get resolved. I understand this is a trilogy so that’s probably the end game but I was assuming we’d get something, some indication as to how we’re going to avoid our extinction. I guess I thought about Mass Effect 1 in that regard. Sure you don’t stave off the genocide coming our way but you delay it for some unknown amount of time. You also know its coming and how, knowledge that is so incredibly powerful because no other civilization in millions of years had that knowledge. So you’re given long odds but a fighting chance. I didn’t really get that here. We’re still screwed at the end of this book and possibly more so… the end!

Also I guess then there’s Cora. Our protagonist is an underdog washout loser at the start of the book. At the end of the book… she’s an underdog washout loser who also translates for an alien and beats someone with a shovel a whole bunch. Is she supposed to be like Bella Swan in that regard?

Now that I’m typing this out I’d probably give it 3.5 stars. “Since Goodreads can’t do that I’m rounding up to 4” is what I would say, but then I decided against it because I think 3 is more accurate AND because I’m being a spiteful [dick] to my reading partner, Ben, who pointed out that I left that sentence in. Yeah I spent an entire paragraph telling Ben that he can shove off.

I’m hesitant to continue on with the series and not just because my reading group partner keeps telling me how “dark” and depressing it is. I’m willing to be convinced to read further into the series but I’m not exactly clamoring for it. That’s it, that’s all I’ve got.

Nate Creed

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