In an alternate 2007, President Bush is dealing with (in addition to the War on Terror) his own Julian Assange-type character named Nils Ortega. Except Ortega is also kind of an Alex Jones-type person, as he’s obsessed with supposed cover ups of alien visitations. His daughter is a college dropout living with her mother and two siblings, and they were all abandoned by Nils after he leaked some government documents called “the Fremda Memo” and fled the United States. The narrative is mostly told from the perspective of this daughter: Cora Sabino, with occasional asides from Nils in the form of articles from The New Yorker or emails.
Anyway, this book is all about first contact with aliens and the government cover-up that surrounds it.
It was, for me, an absolute page-turner. I couldn’t get enough of Cora or Ampersand, the CIA code name for one of the aliens.
I first became of Lindsey Ellis in the same way that most people familiar with her were introduced: YouTube. Now retired from the platform, she used to run a channel making video essays on books, movies, and various cultural issues. I generally liked her stuff, and she even played a principle role in getting me to re-evaluate my own biases in regards to Stephenie Meyer and Twilight.
If this is what she’s doing with herself now that she’s no longer making content for YouTube, I whole-heartedly support her. This book hit all the sweet spots for me – with the exception of one (relatively) small thing: the sexual tension between Cora and Ampersand. That may be too strong of a descriptor for it, but it just felt awkward to me. Not because it was poorly written – but because I don’t really get the….I don’t know. Cross-species fanfiction thing. That’s what it felt like to me. And given some of her video subjects, that seems like it might be a fair comparison. Either way, I kept wondering if the two were going to start going at one another.
But, hey, this is only the first book in the series – so we still have time. Maybe I’ll warm up to the idea.
Special shout out to narfna for giving me so many recommendations to help me read more women authors. I plan on exploring more of those books