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Authority (Southern Reach #2)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  12,368 ratings  ·  1,729 reviews
The bone-chilling, hair-raising second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X--a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization--has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the S
Paperback, 341 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by FSG Originals (first published 2014)
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Dan Schuna The entire trilogy is amazing. The focus and tone of the story shift dramatically between the first and second books. I read these as they were…moreThe entire trilogy is amazing. The focus and tone of the story shift dramatically between the first and second books. I read these as they were released and am re-reading them already, less than a year later. HIGHLY recommended.(less)

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I can't give this more than 2 stars because the center of the book drags along like a sacked brick. I tried and tried to get into it, but I couldn't remain interested.

It just doesn't need 200 pages to get across the idea of the Southern Reach. Relationships barely develop past the first meetings and the whole thing feels stuck. I guess this mirrors the feelings the main characters are supposed to be experiencing in the least fun way possible.

None of the little mysteries really go anywhere exciti
Jeffrey Keeten
”In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth.”

 photo AreaX_zps424bf064.jpg

John A.K.A. Control has been made director of The Southern Reach Facility. The last director finagled her way onto the last expedition into Area X and has never been seen or heard from again. The assistant director doesn’t only dislike him, but is working actively to undermine him. I’ve been in
Aug 12, 2015 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Carmen by: Derek in Real Life

"Imagine a situation, John, in which you are trying to contain something dangerous. But you suspect that containment is a losing game. That what you want to contain is escaping slowly, inexorably. That what seems impermeable is, in fact, over time, becoming very permeable. That the divide is more perforated than unperforated. And that whatever this thing is seems to want to destroy you but has no leader to negotiate with, no stated goals of any kind."

Control, also known by his
Nov 20, 2014 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Recommended for fans of metaphors, slow-moving puzzles

If Annihilation reminded me of Jeanette Winterson’s writing, then Authority reminded me of Kafka, but not the interesting Kafka, one of the boring ones, which surely if I say which one, my dear friends are going to quickly assure me that I’m quite wrong and there is no way Kafka could ever be boring with such Big Ideas. So maybe I don’t mean Kafka. Maybe I mean one of those other stodgy old writers from Advanced English who was clearly writing about the Human Condition in Big Fat Metaphors. Mayb
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X--a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization--has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka "Control") is the South
The author, evidently paid by the word, tells a very long and atmospheric tale, approximately 200 pages overlong. An intriguing last few chapters and ending could stand alone as prelude to the final book.
The Floor beneath his shoes was grimy, almost sticky. The fluorescent lights above flickered at irregular intervals, and the tables and chairs seemed like something out of a high school cafeteria. He could smell the sour metal tang of a low quality cleaning agent, almost like rotting honey. The room did not inspire confidence in the Southern Reach.

Far from the formidable, shadowy, mysterious organization it was portrayed as in Annihilation, the Southern Reach is actually a painfully prosaic go
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

I’m betting, if you’re like me, you had a ton of questions at the end of the wonderful ANNIHILATION. If so, you’ll be glad to know that Authority answers quite a few of them. Not all, but a few, and it’s a perfect filling in the sandwich of awesome that is the Southern Reach trilogy. Authority picks up a few months after the disastrous events of Annihilation and the biologist is in the custody of Southern Reach after being found standing in an empty parkin
Holy crap, this book was unbearable! I'm trying to think of something good to say about this book...and failing. It reminds me of an unholy blend of the final season of Lost, The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, The Office, and Waiting for Godot. Endless trivial descriptions of bureaucracy, oblique dead-end details, and an obstinate refusal to further the plot in any way, other than with fruitless clues. It seems that fans of Annihilation were enthralled by the ominous Lovcraftian horror of Are ...more
About thirty-two years ago, along a remote southern stretch known as the "forgotten coast," an Event occurred that began to transform the landscape and simultaneously caused an invisible border or wall to appear.

The women seem to recall little about Area X. They say almost nothing about what they saw and what happened to them during their expedition. John Rodriquez/Control is tasked with finding the facts.

"What do you remember about your husband?"

"That I had one."

"Did you know he came back, lik
5 Stars

Authority by Jeff Vandermeer, book two in the Southern Reach series is a fantastic read. This book is not your typical middle novel as it is a very different book from Annihilation. Vandermeer continues to prove to me what an amazing author that he is, versatile, verbose, and a gift for painting the vivid picture.

Control is the star of this book and it takes place almost exclusively at the Southern Reach. This book is more of a mystery and a puzzle to solve than the adventure that was boo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read this book twice. I was 1/3 of the way through in the print and downloaded the audio because it is read by Bronson Pinchot, who I think is amazing. After finishing the book in audio, I went back and re-read the last 2/3, kind of backwards, starting from the last section and then deciding I should go ahead and re-read all of it to see what I had missed. I'm glad I did as there was a key scene I must have drifted off from in the audio.

Area X is scary and still very unknown when this installa
David Katzman
May 31, 2014 David Katzman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of highly crafted language, fantasy, horror, psychological drama, mystery...
An unsettling study of the ineffable. The indescribable. A slowly constricting knot. Our human edifices are evanescent. Or as I say in my novel A Greater Monster , "A home is paper thin."

Nature is a harsh taskmistress. Nature is implacable. We have been playing with fire for a long time now. Humans think they own the land. The clouds. The air. The water. We do not own it. It owns us. We've been borrowing it without paying back the principal. And it's going to come due soon.

Authority is the seco
This book was frustrating to read. I did not find Control as intriguing a viewpoint character as the biologist, and he spent the vast majority of this book running from place to place not finding any answers. There were occasional moments that were engaging, such as Control's interviews with "the biologist", and much of the last quarter of the book. I still think that Vandermeer's writing is fantastic, and the creepy moments in the book are genuinely creepy, I just wish that the book had spent l ...more
Kristen Shaw
Wow, is all I can say about this trilogy so far. At times I thought I was veering towards liking Authority more than Annihilation, but really, both are immensely interesting books with their own pleasures. The strongest aspect of Authority, for me, is the slow build of tension. The pacing is absolutely terrific, making it difficult to put down. A lot of typical "horror" novels are a let down in this regard - they promise a great reveal which is usually disappointing. Authority doesn't disappoint ...more
The border was coming to the Southern Reach.

Authority pretty much picks up where Annihilation left off, but not in a way that I could have anticipated. It turns out that the "psychologist" from book one, was also the director of the Southern Reach -- a scientific and military complex near the border of the mysterious Area X. All the public has been told about Area X is that an environmental accident occurred there, and that it is off-limits. The new director, John Rodriguez, tells the demoralize
Honestly, I wanted to stay longer in Area X, not get relegated to an almost sterile administration building for most of the novel.

Control (the man, not the action) didn't even really begin to grow on me until well-past half-way mark. At least there were elements of spy-fiction, but in all honesty, the conflict in the novel was rather too light.

I know we're not supposed to have answers in this kind of novel. I don't really expect them. It's all about the journey and cultivating a sense of wonder
There seems to be a trend, the last few years, and I'm rather liking it: in 2012, I found a couple of authors who got me very much on side with (what feels like) a new wave of fast-talking, clever fantasy. In 2013, I discovered that 'literary fiction' is a broader category than I thought it was, and more importantly, it doesn't bite. It's 2014 now, and I feel like the books that are inserting themselves into my consciousness at the moment are ones that play with the rules of genre, of sci-fi, of ...more
I give the cover five stars. It really is the best thing about the novel. Damned fine cover.

For some reason I have the overwhelming feeling that this Southern Reach Trilogy was at one time an entire novel. It feels like it was split into three for a better marketing angle. I could be dead wrong, but there's something odd about the whole set-up.

No matter, I enjoyed this book. It didn't make me sit up and scream in pleasure. There's something about the story that's still not clicking with me. Par
I liked the narration but this story isn't working well for me. I'm playing with the idea of not reading the last one at all.

I probably will though, because I feel the need to finish the series after investing all this time.
Coming after Annihilation, this book seems to make so much more sense, to be begin with. There are still aspects of mystery, confusion, and not just around Area X — there’s missing time, people who haven’t even been to Area X seeming contaminated by it, etc, etc. But the horror is muffled, the adventure is muffled, and instead it becomes more of a spy story, a sci-fi story. Still a mystery story, but a different kind of drive to the narrative.

Don’t kid yourself for a moment that’s actually going
he Southern Reach trilogy is fast becoming one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I’m not yet at the conclusion. In ANNIHILATION, we were exposed to the strange and dangerous other world of Area X – terrain cut off from the rest of land by some mysterious event. We followed the latest exhibition consisting of a biologist, surveyor, psychologist, and anthropologist into the unknown and watched the breakdown of sanity in big brother-like live streaming. In AUTHORITY, the ambiguity is as abundant as ...more
The second installment of the Southern Reach trilogy moves away from the eco-horror of the first novel, opting instead for a Kafkaesque tale of bureaucratic secrets, and mind control. You do get some answers, but they're the best kind of answers: ones that lead to more questions.

The novel, which examines the Southern Reach organization that oversees Area, is suffused with a sense of dread, underscored with frustration of the Cloud of Unknowing that comprises Area X. Several thematic motifs are r
Okay.... it looks like we are to go the rabbit hole with this one. Do you think the rabbit on the cover was a hint??

John "Control" Rodriguez is sent by his handlers at the government agency known as Central to investigate Southern Reach, the science division that is supposed to be monitoring the geographical anomaly known as Area X. There is so much going on at Southern Reach, hidden from John but bubbling to the surface, evident in the barely suppressed insanity of the staff and the rigid belie
Kyle Muntz
This is an astoundingly uncompelling novel, so much that lots of it felt almost unreadable to me--which is a shame considering the first was so great. There are trickles of some interesting information, but even that feels very muted and flat, which is generally a feeling that runs through all this book. It's a kind of post-Kafka book of office drama set outside Area X, an interesting move considering the switch to a position of authority gives a very interesting, promising perspective, and a ve ...more
Richard Thomas
Didn't know what to expect after the first one, and this was definitely not what I expected. I really enjoyed this, very creepy at times, tense, paranoid, and a book I couldn't put down. I enjoyed Annihilation more, but this was still a great read. On to Acceptance. JV is doing some innovative things with this trilogy, and while I was a fan before, I think I'm really a much bigger fan now.
After reading Annihilation, I went straight out and bought the next two books in the trilogy and went straight through Authority. Jeff Vandermeer, I love you for getting us to the end of this trilogy in one year!! I would have been satisfied with one book a year, considering the publication rate of some authors is one book every four or five years, but no, instead we can actually get to the end while everything is fresh! You, Jeff Vandermeer, are a gentleman and a paragon for all other authors t ...more
With Authority comes new characters, and new territory. In Annihilation we read about the mysterious Area X and it's unknowns. But here we breach the buildings of The Southern Reach, the compound bordering Area X. While I may have preferred the landscapes and bizarre fauna and flora of the first installment, I'm undoubtably still hooked.

Authority is narrated by Control, a Southern Reach newbie, sent in to dig up some answers. He's essentially dropped in blindly, and resisted by some, but it d
Maggie K
When I read Annihilation, I thought it was just weird and kinda creepy, but not really deep enough to be truly scary. the entire viewpoint was from the perspective of a person who ad a lot of walls, and this inhibited the horror for me a bit. However, it intrigued me enough to jump into the second book, Authority.

Authority is from the POV of the new director of Southern ends up the psychologist of the first book was really the director, and now she is ...missing. As the new director t
Autorità è una performance grottesca, quasi un capolavoro de La Fura dels Baus, una danza inquietante intorno a un fuoco spaventoso, senza proiettare nessuna ombra. È la presa di coscienza di un maniaco del controllo (ma è molto di più in realtà) dei rischi e delle volontà perdute nell'Area X. Ci sono cose che possono essere viste ma forse sembrano altre, realtà che odorano di muffa e parole malsane. Bello, bello, assurdamente e clamorosamente bello.
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Jeff VanderMeer's most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series has been acquired by publishers in 15 other countries and Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the movie rights. His Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world's first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won ...more
More about Jeff VanderMeer...

Other Books in the Series

Southern Reach (3 books)
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)
  • Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3)

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“A circle looks at a square and sees a badly made circle.” 19 likes
“Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dim-lit halls of other places forms that never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who have never seen or been seen. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear” 3 likes
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