Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I suppose, after reading a few hundred first-contact novels and/or movies, I should really read this book as a study of all the things that came before, rather than trying to put this on the same level as Arrival (movie) or Blindsight (book) or Deepness in the Sky (book). Or about 30-40 others that may be better than this.
That isn't to say that this was a bad book. Far from it. But it's dealing with old tropes. Cyborg aliens? Coverups? Translation issues? Fundamental communication breakdown based on a basic alien idea of futility? Sure. I can buy it. It isn't bad. Transformers have been around for a long time.
HOWEVER, I get the feeling that this novel wasn't really aiming at being groundbreaking. It tried to focus quite heavily on the whistleblowing aspect. The MC's father was a Snowden-like character and the entire tale takes place in the 2000s and the milieu shows. The new direction, the focus on linguistics, kinda felt like a poor-mans version of Arrival, especially since the handwavium ear implant could theoretically have been given to ANYONE. It was just more convenient to stick with Cora for narrative reasons. But honestly? After we get away from being Snowden's daughter/coverup tangent I couldn't really buy the whole ex-temp worker becomes essential translator schtick.
If I turned off my mind and just went along for the ride, I was okay. It was entertaining enough. But by the end, I wasn't all over this book. It felt kinda like Meyer's Host by the end.
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