Totally on accident, I have now read three alien invasion/first contact books in a row. (I did try to read a Nalini Singh in the middle and put it down in annoyance – sorry, gang!) But it was interesting to see the variety of stories: far in the future with scenes set on spaceships and other planets vs. two on Earth. Axiom’s End is the smallest of the stories in scale. Our hero is a young woman named Cora, who becomes pivotal to communicating with the alien called Ampersand. She’s the liaison between Ampersand and the CIA (and various other government agencies who want to be in charge).
I really liked all the parts with Cora and Ampersand, but paid shockingly little attention to all the parts that did not have to deal with the two main characters. There’s this whole big thing with her dad, a wacko conspiracy nut who regularly harasses the government, but it really doesn’t make a ton of difference to the story except that the CIA already knows who she is. And then I read the blurb on the back of the book that said it was an alternate history, and I had no idea. Something about one of the President Bushes? The politicking did not even register to me, so I have no idea what was alternate about it. So there were definitely parts that failed to grab me, but the whole relationship between alien and human, and the growing levels of trust and affection, more than made up for those parts. There are secrets and setbacks that felt real – of course navigating two such vastly different cultures would have some bumps in the road.
I haven’t hardly mentioned the plot, but it didn’t actually feel all that important. There are some other aliens, there is a bad alien and a threat of attack, lots of running and hiding and worrying. But for me, it was mostly about the relationship between the two. Plot: 2.5 stars. Cora and Ampersand: 5 stars.