- File Size: 1097 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Going To Mars (May 1, 2018)
- Publication Date: May 1, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07CKLY9Q8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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This is the second book in the series, though technically it's the third, and is definitely not a standalone. You can read books 0 or 1 in any order but don't get to this one until those are done.
Like the other books, Xandri is a stand out character and is in a unique position as a diplomat of sorts between new species and their introduction to the rest of the universe. I give Sønderby kudos for her imagination, vivid settings, and her talented ability to suck me into a new world. With every word, I'm either on a space shuttle, space station, new planet, jungle, underwater, wherever...just not in my real world reading about a fictional one.
This time around, Xandri is working with symbiotic underwater species Voices, whale-like creatures, and Hands, similar to octupi that live together as part of a greater whole. I thought these creatures and their world were really cleverly done. And the read delivers a full story with action, discovery, and romance using a large cast of memorable characters. There's a satisfying feeling of going full circle from book 1 by the end of the read.
For me, I enjoyed books 0 and 1 more not because this isn't just as well-written but due to personal preference. Books 0 and 1 are heavily in Xandri's point of view but this one is a pretty evenly split between Xandri and Diver. Diver is a great character but I prefer getting Xandri's perspective over anyone else's and I felt more distance from her. It also gave Xandri more of a super woman affect than the other books and I like seeing her internal struggles more.
Unlike books 0 and 1 that started off with action sequences, "Tone of Voice" does not. Due to events from "Failure to Communicate" we have to take some extra time to get Xandri into the middle of things in this one so it initially felt a little slow to me. However, it soon picks up. And, for people waiting on more Xandri and Diver interaction, that initial set up gives them more time together.
The romantic arc develops on the m/f side so we get some satisfaction there after flirtations with it through the other books. But, I was disappointed to see the f/f relationship get sidelined. I'm not against Diver, and he is really great, but I'm definitely on Team Kiri so I hope that we get more of that later and not have it squashed all together. A polyamory V triad is totally okay with me here. Please, please, please.
Like the other books in the series, this also has a wide-breadth of ethnic diversity, neuro-divergences, sexual diversity, gender diversity, and species diversity.
A good read and just a really fun series that I recommend as a whole.
(Fair warning, this review will mostly be an autistic person losing his mind over/rambling about how great a representation these books are)
(Also, WARNING for possible MILD SPOILERS, 'cause I can't judge if I'm being vague enough or not)
This second (well, third) book did not disappoint at all. It is the first time I've ever immediately launched into a re-read as soon as the last page was done.
I did not find out what my loopy brain wiring really meant (that it didn't, in fact, mean "broken") until I was well into my twenties and didn't even have the language to process it even as I lived it. These books has been possibly the most wonderful surprise along my journey of discovery.
Out of the handful of books depicting and written by autistic people I've read, only Kaia Sønderby's writing has captured so well into words the visceral feeling of being a somewhat passing autistic person. Xandri's largely invisible (from the outside) struggle with the universe assaulting her senses, and doing the right thing despite it (or simply doing what she wants to do, but feels she can't allow herself) is 100% what I'm going to point people to if they want to know how autism actually is.
Book 1 drove that home almost too well - the end result was grim to read. There and here in book 2 as well, the constant dread of everything that comes out of your month as well as the bewildering unknowability of how anyone would react to it - and you - would almost be too real to read, if it wasn't for the rest of the characters.
Beside the protagonist is a rainbow of wonderful characters of all kinds. Her friends, and love interests, and shipmates, and captain, all of them I find well written. The unfolding story reveals more details of each of their characters in way that helps endear them to me without a riot of life descriptions and internal monologues to try and sort through (I'm looking at you, rest of epic SF/F), since we only see most of them through Xandri's eyes. Even the minor characters get to shine, if only for a few scenes, and reveal depth even as the focus of the story is so intensely on Xandri for many parts (in a very realistic depiction of the paranoia about yourself autism can impose on every moment of your interaction with anyone else).
The sudden appearance (after, aside from brief literal interludes, two books of mono-Xandri) of a second view point (second protagonist? Yeah, I'm calling them a second protagonist) was surprising, but it was also wonderfully done, reflecting Xandri from outside to bring forward even more facets of a character I already loved. And revealing the contents of the brain meats of a second character I now also love. I suspect at least one more protagonist will crop up in future books and I'm super excited for that. *unmanly squeal of delight* Anyway.
The romance plot threaded throughout the story represents yet another aspect of my internal brain let's-call-it-process I never thought to see on digital paper, particularly the actually painful collision between overwhelmingly strong emotions and how unsafe it feels to let them come out. The short teaser asides of Book 1 have become a shining thread of story and I am here for it.
The book still depicts a great (and at moments even horrific) struggle, although thankfully saves most of it just for just the third act this time. (This is a good balance of the super heavy stuff against the rest, more of this, please and thank you.) The LHFH present an almost eyebrow-raisingly strong antagonistic force (they're just selling bulk illegal cloaking that can beat AFC scanners on space-eBay, aren't they?), but I'll give that a pass, and I suspect we'll get an explanation of it later anyway. A realistic and gripping story of battle ensues. Still another thing I love these books for is showing how strong an autistic person can be in overcoming adversity ("overcoming adversity" being the unfortunate default of existing in society for many of us, giving us an unreasonable lot of experience at it).
So, what I'm saying it, every line of this book is great, and if you want to know how the wondrous and terrifying jumble on the inside of the noggin of an autistic person looks/feels like, you should read it and both the previous ones and the ones after this. As an added bonus, you'll find a vibrant sci-fi universe, a great cast of characters, and a deeply emotional and uplifting journey with my favourite protagonist. Protagonists. *unmanly squeal of delight*