Review: Failure to Communicate – Kaia Sønderby

Failure to CommunicateAs one of the only remaining autistics in the universe, Xandri Corelel has faced a lot of hardship, and she’s earned her place as the head of Xeno-Liaisons aboard the first contact ship Carpathia. But her skill at negotiating with alien species is about to be put to the ultimate test.

The Anmerilli, a notoriously reticent and xenophobic people, have invented a powerful weapon that will irrevocably change the face of space combat. Now the Starsystems Alliance has called in Xandri and the crew of the Carpathia to mediate. The Alliance won’t risk the weapon falling into enemy hands, and if Xandri can’t bring the Anmerilli into the fold, the consequences will be dire.

Amidst sabotage, assassination attempts, and rampant cronyism, Xandri struggles to convince the doubtful and ornery Anmerilli. Worse, she’s beginning to suspect that not everyone on her side is really working to make the alliance a success. As tensions rise and tempers threaten to boil over, Xandri must focus all her energy into understanding the one species that has always been beyond her: her own.

I received a review copy of Failure to Communicate from the author.The blurb sounded quite fascinating even though I don’t usually read sci-fi. I was intrigued in the idea of communicating with aliens.

It’s #ownvoices for autistic representation.

The friendships that the various characters had with each other was beautiful. You could tell that Xandri was respected and trusted by a lot of the non-humans, which showed how much dedication she had in her job. The birdlike-aliens were especially awesome! I also loved Xandri’s relationship with Carpathia. I’m hoping that the Carpathia, who is an AI, will play a bigger role in the sequel.

It was scary to imagine there could be a world where there are no imperfections, every human is born without an illness, a disability or a developmental disorder. This book discusses the ethics of that, and whether such a world is a utopia or a dystopia. It’s a book that shows that these people who are viewed as imperfect, are not a problem for society. It is society that is a problem for them.

Xandri uses a slur for one of the alien races, and this is called out by another character. She still slips and uses it in her thoughts, thus showing that she grows as a character.

This is one of the first books I’ve come across with synesthesia representation. I felt like the concept was explained in a way that I could understand.

Halfway through the book, I suddenly had the realisation that the cover did not show two humans. The person on the left was an Anmerilli (you can see her tail in the shrubbery). I’m pretty sure it’s Noaya, and I really like the scene that is being pictured. I loved this detail in the cover.

Failure to Communicate is a fun, welcoming sci-fi adventure that takes you on a ride through communication and miscommunication. A beautiful and intriguing read.

5 stars

Do you want to read Failure to Communicate? I enjoyed it a lot!


15 thoughts on “Review: Failure to Communicate – Kaia Sønderby

  1. I don’t read a lot of sci fi, but several people in my life do, and I’m always looking for books to give them. This sounds perfect.


  2. I love the cover and the blurb of this book so much! I actually bought it sometime in February I think, and I hope I’ll have enough time to read it this month because I’m very excited about it.


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