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Truth of the Divine
de Lindsay Ellis
Top Five Books of 2021 (328)
Books Read in 2021 (846)
» 1 més
Five star books (694)
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Lyndsay Ellis’s Truth of the Divine picks up shortly after the events of her previous novel, Axiom’s End, in a different 2008 in which the revelation of extraterrestrial existence – coupled with the government cover-up – led to President Bush’s resignation. Meanwhile, what was the Great Recession for us is quickly becoming a worldwide depression, creating the perfect environment for rising authoritarianism.
Cora Sabino, a one-time college dropout and now the advocate for the amygdaline alien Ampersand, continues to struggle with the trauma of having nearly died and been rebuilt following her encounter with Obelus. Ampersand begins trying to help her, but the arrival of a new amygdaline through a rupture in space scuttles those plans. The new Amygdaline, a member of Ampersand’s kin, came to Earth seeking to die with Ampersand. A right-wing politician dubs the new arrival Enola Gay based on the power displayed through the rupture in space. Ampersand forgets about Cora to help Enola, while Cora begins spending time with the reporter Kaveh Mazandaranis. The two bond while Cora’s life crumbles, though Kaveh becomes friends with Enola, giving the Amygdaline his new name “Nikola” and learning more about the universe.
The title references the Truth of the Divine, the origins of all life (pgs. 177-178). As Nik explains, consciousness arises from the mind intersecting with higher dimensions, much like those dimensions may explain gravity. Conscious beings may form empathic attachments, like Cora and Ampersand, which bind them regardless of distance due to the interdimensional connection. Further, humans are subconsciously aware of these dimensions, but cannot directly observe or interact with them, so they explain this awareness through religion (223-227). Elements of this resemble the philotic web of Orson Scott Card’s Enderverse series, though Ellis explains it in a manner that more resembles modern string theory while still keeping it mysterious enough so as not to overexplain. Earth and the Amygdaline’s home world exist in the same arm of the Milky Way, which Nik argues is the only part of the universe the Amygdaline have surveyed that is capable of supporting life due to the confluence of two supernovae billions of years ago (pg. 326). Nik finds it fascinating that two intelligent species should thus arise in such close proximity and in the same time to know each other, making the likelihood that the Amygdaline superorganism will deem humanity a threat all the more tragic.
Ellis contrasts the paranoid violence of humanity with how those traits will likely appear to the Amygdaline superorganism. Rebuffing the portrayal of first contact in the Star Trek franchise, Kaveh’s summation of events in Ellis’s alternate-2008 skews quite in the opposite direction: “The paradox of anti-government hysteria is it tends to lead to authoritarianism. The arrival of space aliens has not united humanity; they’ve only made us more tribal, more fractured, and it’s only going to get worse in the months and years to come. And now you have these proto-fascists arguing against the very idea of alien personhood and advocating for the creation of a while different category of person altogether” (pg. 151). As she writes through Kaveh’s voice in the end, “[Nikola] doesn’t think [the Amygdaline superorganism] will become some grand galactic empire, quite the opposite, in fact; their single-minded fixation on controlling everything they encounter combined with their rejection of the unfamiliar has led to a cultural and technological stagnation, which, he believes, will ultimately lead to their undoing. If that is the case, then Pequod is a poetic name for the ship that is their civilization. The whale is the Divine, and the Pequod will sink itself in the pursuit of destroying it” (pg.479). In this, Ellis expands the world she created in her first novel, delving deeper into the social implications and showing how the seeds of our current political crises are not new, but could have germinated through other inciting events.
I can't wait to read the rest of this series! I am torn between "feeling a little sad that I didn't spend as much time with my favorite characters from the first book" but at the same time "being so in love with and enraptured by all these amazing new characters." ALSO (not to tattle too much on my own emotional state lol but) I really related with Cora and empathized with all her POV chapters just... so, so much. Plenty of books have made me cry at the end, some have made me cry at the middle, but this might be the first that made me cry in the opening chapters -- because my heart was twisting as I completely understood how Cora felt. BRB, going to re-watch all of Lindsay's old youtube videos while I wait for her to finish writing the next book
I wavered back and forth for like the last three min if I was gonna put this as a 4 star book or a 3 star one. Honestly, it’s a 3.5 for me either way, but ultimately, I think I rounded down because, though once I sat through and read it, I absolutely was powering through and not wanting to stop for long periods of time, I was also often frustrated with what I was reading.
This book took a slightly different turn partway through and added a secondary POV that at first, I was annoyed by, and then INFURIATED BY because I just wanted to get into cora’s head again, and then, I ended up really thinking it was a smart narrative decision, and THEN the final passage of the book nailed me flat and I think that I will be thinking about it for a while.
(This is not going to be a very coherent review, as if mine ever really are lol. That’s not what I do here, I just vent some emotions about the book into a void).
I think I’ll be thinking about a LOT of this book for a while.
Cried at the end. 10/10
Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"Truth of the Divine is the new alternate history first contact novel from the instant New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LA Times bestselling video essayist Lindsay Ellis. The human race is at a crossroads; we know that we are not alone, but details about the alien presence on Earth are still being withheld from the public. As the political climate becomes more unstable, the world is forced to consider the ramifications of granting human rights to non-human persons. How do you define "person" in the first place? Cora Sabino not only serves as the full time communication intermediary between the alien entity Ampersand and his government chaperones, but also shares a mysterious bond with him that is both painful and intimate in a way that neither of them could have anticipated. Despite this, Ampersand is still keen on keeping secrets, even from her, which backfires on both of them when investigative journalist Kaveh Mazandarani, a close colleague of Cora's estranged whistleblower father, witnesses far more of Ampersand's machinations than anyone was meant to see. Since Cora has no choice but to trust Kaveh, the two must work together to prove to a fearful world that intelligent, conscious beings should be considered persons, no matter how monstrous-looking, powerful, or malicious they may seem. Making this case is hard enough when the public doesn't know what it's dealing with, and it will only become harder when a mysterious flash illuminates the sky, marking the arrival of an agent of chaos that will light an already unstable world on fire"--
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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Well, in the second one, the aliens are just as uncommunicative to the point of maddening. Don’t get me wrong, the beginning is strong. Cora is experiencing some severe PTSD from the first book, having A) failed to save a baby alien B) gone through this horrific adventure of chases and escapes C) been eviscerated then put back together. But Ampersand is here to make her feel better. She’s currently working for the CIA getting the aliens to communicate and share information about what other interstellar entities might be coming. Yet, they apparently don’t pay her and she still lives in poverty.
I would call it a political science-fiction thriller. It’s largely about the public discovery of aliens and how everyone reacts (spoiler: not well, as this novel is colored by Trump-era covid wash so it’s not exactly a “Men In Black” romp). Ellis has improved on her prose–there are fewer clunky phrases like “It was a manual car with a stick shift.” She’s improved on her story structure and characterization (both new and old). But she hasn’t improved on brevity. Since it’s first person POV, there is a lot of “thinking”.
It didn’t make me cry like the others claimed to have because it’s less about the Transformers-style love story. In fact, Ampersand is largely absent from this volume. And when he’s around he’s even more taciturn, worse than a Jane Austen male protagonist, which makes the book frustrating. Basically, he’s being a total bitch. This is a dark book (as far as relationships go), and its more about psychological trauma and trying to be a valid human being when that casts a pall on everything you do and are.
So if you’re coming here to see more of the alien-human romance, you’re going to be disappointed. If you looking for more “what are the politics of aliens coming to America”, then this is what you’re looking for. ( )