Axiom's End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis - Book Review

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis book cover

I originally read Axiom's End shortly after it was released when I noticed it in my local library's "new" section. I follow Lindsay on Youtube, so I was looking forward to reading her debut novel even though I had no idea what it was going to be about. I love science fiction, so I got even more excited when I started reading it and realized it was a first contact novel. I usually read about people in space, and have little experience reading first contact sci-fi. This is definitely a really good intro to the sub-genre since it is very light and easily digestible. Although it is an adult novel, I could easily see it mistaken as a young adult book.

Axiom's End takes place on Earth back in 2007. It is an alternative timeline novel, so the world-building is basically already there if you were alive back then. I remember being in my final year of high school in 2007, so it was very easy for me to picture the world as it was back then. Throughout the book, we get little excerpts from the news and Nils Ortega, the whistleblower father of the main character, Cora Sabino. I can't decide if I liked this addition or not. It adds additional information to the story, but it also feels irrelevant at times. If they had not been included, it would not have harmed the story (with one or two exceptions). I do wonder if this will become more important in the rest of the Noumena series.

This book has several characters, both human and alien. The humans are not very interesting. The main human in Axiom's End is Cora Sabino. She is the daughter of Nils Ortega and Demi Sabino. She has two siblings, Felix and Olive, and two dogs, Thor and Monster Truck. Her paternal aunt is Luciana Ortega, a former employee of ROSA (Refugee Organizational and Settlement Agency). Demi is your typical frustrated single mother and Felix and Olive don't get much attention in the book. Nils comes off as a narcissistic asshole. Luciana is somewhat interesting, given her background and nerdy personality, but we don't spend much time with her, and when we do... it's very meh. Cora is whiny, annoying, impulsive, immature, and somehow painfully realistic. She low-key kinda reminds me of Bella Swan, and while reading I felt like I was crazy. I am glad to find out after reading several reviews I wasn't the only one who felt that way. 

I really enjoyed the aliens in this book and would love to have a book just with them and their interactions with each other. I found their story and backgrounds to be super interesting. I want more! The interactions between humans and aliens were also written very well. Lindsay did a great job with how she described the appearance of the Pequads which made it very easy for me to picture them in my head. Then, she managed to make these monstrous sounding creatures....well...feel human. 

My biggest issue with Axiom's End was the pacing. It starts off solid and then wanes somewhere in the middle before taking off at a rapid pace. I've not seen anyone else complain about pacing, so this may just be a me thing. I read this book twice and the sessions of reading went exactly the same. Overall, it honestly feels a little bland if you are not new to sci-fi. I am hoping this is just a first novel in a series problem that many series tend to struggle with. Ultimately though, I think Axiom's End is a solid debut novel and I will be reading and reviewing book two soon.

Rating:  ★★★☆☆ 3/5

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Is it worth reading?

Sure. Good for beginners to the scifi genre.

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