4/5

Axiom's End by Lindsey Ellis

Y’all. Lindsey Ellis, the queen of critic, accidentally without knowing at all who I am, asked me to critique her book.

…I’ve realized that I’ve just set myself up for failure here.

Well, if you haven’t heard of Lindsey Ellis, she’s the most hilarious, cerebral part of my daily YouTube binges and you should check her out. She even has a video about the publication of this book, so that was really fun to recall while reading.

Axiom’s End is the perfect read for the current environment. I’m so happy about this book. First off, aren’t the 70s vibes from the cover so good? And isn’t the title gorgeous? It gets even cooler once you read it and then think about it a few times (and then a few more times because you’re an idiot) and finally get it. I even loved the formatting with a document before each chapter.

As for the text itself, it started out slightly slowly. The character, in her expositional stew, isn’t my favorite. I feel like she’s been overdone lately in books meant for this target audience. She reminds me kind of exactly of April from <i>An Absolutely Remarkable Thing</i> and also a little of Alex from <i>Ninth House</i>. It’s as if, for some reason?? The entire world?? Believes that people between the ages of 20 and 30 are completely cynical and a little self-absorbed?? But, as the story goes on and she starts interacting with the Ampersand Event, she gains a lot of dimension such that I was chill with her by the end of the book.

Another thing that’s unfortunately obvious before the plot really kicks off is Ellis’s…”strongly held” sociopolitical views. I mean, I should have known because I’ve watched basically every video she comes out with, but still. While characters should probably have their opinions on religion, politics, etc., I also think there are more open-ended ways to express your characters without asking the readers to pick up your own worldview as they read.

Of course, this all really only distracted me before the plot picked up. And once it did, you guys, I didn’t want to put it down. The plot is so fast-paced and exciting that you’re completely drawn in. Obviously I won’t spoil anything, but I genuinely had no idea how the book would end and HAD TO KNOW.

Ellis also excels in her imagination of the alien civilization. She really thought of so many details to make them distinct as a species, and I was so appreciative of that. I expected nothing less; Ellis isn’t one to skimp on culture.

And that’s another thing. I think she explored some really interesting themes about our tendency to view the world through our own lenses, and how that effects our group and personal relationships. There’s one relationship in particular in this book that just makes my heart sing, and not because I want to be them, but because the relationship oozes with realism and flaws while retaining its tangible warmth.

Guys. I wish I could tell you so much more, I really do, but this is book is a must-read-yourself. A sci-fi icon, if you will.

Are you planning on reading it? If you’ve read it, do you love it? Do you believe in aliens? How do you think we can better open our minds to other cultures? Are you going to binge watch all of Lindsey Ellis’s videos after this too? Answer every single one of these questions down below, I need to know, 100%.

Thanks for reading guys!