16 hours | Macmillan Audio| Science Fiction | Release Date: 7/21/2020
I’ve been following Lindsay Ellis for a while. She creates incisive, deep-dive video essays on film theory that have been helpful for me when I get in a review rut. She’s more recently been involved in some bonkers omegaverse lawsuit drama–which I’m sure did great things for this book’s publicity. All that said I was rooting for this book to be good but it was kind of a disappointment.
Axiom’s End started strong. We’re dropped into fall 2007 with 20-year-old college dropout Cora Sabino. Her estranged father is a Julian Assange expy and has just leaked classified documents about an alien cover-up. I found it all super compelling but after that part the story completely lost steam for me.
Ellis clearly put a lot of work into developing her alien species but it comes out as a lot of spoken exposition between Cora and the alien she comes in contact with. I never fully bought in that Cora would become so endeared to the non-humanoid aliens that she’s out here risking her life.
The audio is primarily done by Stephanie Willis. She did an amazing job narrating everyone from a smarmy FBI agent to a post-natural alien species. One of the aliens communicates with text to speech and I’m not sure if Willis was doing the robot-y voice of it if was a special effect added in but either way it added something special to the audiobook. Oliver Thorn also pops in to provide an arrogant, brassy voice for epistolary interstitials from Cora’s estranged father.
This book is clearly inspired somewhat by Ellis’ time in the Transformers fandom and if you’ve watched her video series on Michael Bay there is a fun Easter Egg for you!
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.