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Acceptance (Southern Reach #3)

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,122 Ratings  ·  1,484 Reviews
It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes only more daunting.

In the final installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have
Paperback, 341 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by FSG Originals (first published 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 12, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I'm not sure why, but everything kind of fell apart for me on this one (and, looking over the reviews, I'm clearly in the minority on that.) The only story that was truly compelling to me was the Lightkeeper's. Otherwise it just felt like a race to wrap up different story threads and tie it with a bow. When you step back, not a whole lot of anything actually HAPPENS in this book. People walk around. Thoughts are processed. We flash back to the past. People marvel at Area X's oddness. They see an ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 04, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
”Writing, for me, is like trying to restart an engine that has rested for years, silent and rusting, in an empty lot--choked with water and dirt, infiltrated by ants and spiders and cockroaches. Vines and weeds shoved into it and sprouting out of it. A kind of coughing splutter, an eruption of leaves and dust, a voice that sounds a little like mine but is not the same as it was before; I use my actual voice rarely enough.”

 photo Area_X_zpslyyoygx8.jpg

There is this need for people trapped in Area X to write about what they
Claudia Putnam
Bumping to 4 because the writing really is terrific. And because I'm still thinking about it, and about some of the comments on this review, below. Thanks all!

Spoiler alert... I'm not hiding this review, but I'm giving something away. Don't read if you don't want to know anything in advance.


Actually, I don't have much to say. Basically, (this is the spoiler) Earth is being terraformed (whatever-formed, really) by an alien organism to prepare the way for colonization by aliens who have pr
Sep 27, 2014 Kaora rated it it was amazing
For those of you like me who loved Annihilation and struggled with Authority, you will be happy to know that this book is more like Annihilation than Authority. We are back in Area-X with Ghost Bird and Control, although there are multiple view points alternating through this book that also bring us back to the history of Area-X.

The thing that I adore most about these books is the writing. The haunting metaphors that set the tone for this mind-fuck of a novel. The pacing was perfect, and the boo
Wei Lien Chin
Feb 17, 2016 Wei Lien Chin rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
That's it? Well, I must admit, I feel a little hoodwinked.

Acceptance is a noticeably better book than Authority, but that is not saying a lot, considering that the second book in the series is dreadful in every sense of the word. Just when you thought that the middle chapter of a trilogy cannot get any more weighted down, Authority showed up to prove us all wrong. Every page towards the end felt like a sucker punch to the guts, and it took great determination to pick up the next and final book
Nov 20, 2014 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended for fans of sci-fi, hallucinogenic fiction
From my blog:

Once again, Vandermeer astonishes me with evocative, symbolic language:

“The fifth morning I rose from the grass and dirt and sand, the brightness had gathered to form a hushed second skin over me, that skin cracking from my opening eyes like the slightest, the briefest, touch of an impossibly thin later of ice. I could hear the fracturing of its melting as if it came from miles and years away.“

And once again, Area X takes center stage in the
I am afraid to report that I found the final installment of The Southern Reach Trilogy to be a disappointment and let down. After really enjoying the first two books in this series, Annihilation and Authority this verdict pains me. VanderMeer succeeded in creating this weird, amazing world populated by fascinating characters. But all the promise and potential of the first two books were squandered, in my opinion, by Acceptance's ending.

Spoilers for the series and this book follow, so be wary.

Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone

Bodies could be beacons, too, Saul knew. A lighthouse was a fixed beacon for a fixed purpose; a person was a moving one. But people still emanated light in their way, still shone across the miles as a warning, an invitation, or even just a static signal. People opened up so they became a brightness, or they went dark. They turned their light inward sometimes, so you couldn't see it, because they had no other choice.

The final exploration of Area X. After the catastrop
Sep 05, 2014 Renee rated it liked it
I want to give this five stars. I do. It's well-written on a technical level, but VanderMeer did what I feared he would -- he left the biggest mysteries unsolved. I invested time and energy reading through three novels that set up an intricate, intriguing story that ends in disappointment and frustration.

We find out the fates of most of the major characters, which is great. At least I wasn't left wondering who lived and who died. But if you're reading these books expecting to find out what Area
Ilenia Zodiaco
Nov 07, 2015 Ilenia Zodiaco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Accettazione" - capitolo conclusivo della trilogia dell’Area X - è l’ennesima apnea nel conturbante oceano creato da Jeff Vandermeer.
Preparatevi a rimanere intrappolati, come i protagonisti, per delle lunghissime ore nell’Area x, per di più nel bel mezzo dell’inverno. Se Autorità - secondo capitolo della trilogia - adottava un punto di vista esterno alla Zona anomala e ci offriva un quadro meno compromesso, un’inquadratura dal confine, in Accettazione ci troviamo di nuovo nel caos dell’Area X,
Sep 18, 2014 Melki rated it liked it
Area X was looking at her through dead eyes. Area X was analyzing her from all sides. It made her feel like an outline created by the regard bearing down on her, one that moved only because the regard moved with her, held her constituent atoms together in a coherent shape. And yet the eyes upon her felt familiar.

I'm not sure why none of these books have captured me like Annihilation. There was just something about those four nameless female scientists that held me rapt and it has not been repe
Sep 17, 2014 Richard rated it it was ok
There's a paragraph or two in Acceptance that perfectly sums up my feelings about this trilogy(So much so that I had to look it up!). The key line is - "The allure of the island lay in its negation of why". The author is talking about how humans constantly need to have a purpose, constantly need to find the why behind something and neglect to just accept the `what` of something.

Its so apt, because its exactly what happened to these books. Area X is summoned up in all its glory in the first book.
Jun 30, 2014 Maria rated it it was amazing
After Authority's "nothing happens and you're gonna like it" plot line, this was exhilarating. The excellent pacing from Annihilation is back! And the beautiful, disturbing prose is still here, as ever.

There are no neat answers here. In fact, I have several questions. I call this "my own damn fault for reading so quickly" (forgive me, it was exciting). Well, I'm not sure how much is that and how much is intended/unintended ambiguity on the part of the author. Which is fitting, for Area X.

If anyo
J Edward Tremlett
Jun 26, 2014 J Edward Tremlett rated it liked it
Call her Ghost Bird. That’s not her real name. But then, when she was the Biologist, she wasn’t supposed to use her real name, either.

But then, was she ever the Biologist at all? Or is she merely a copy of the woman who went into the topographical mystery known as Area X to find answers about her dead husband?

Yet another explorer who went into that deadly and subversive enigma and never came back out again?

That’s just it — she’s not sure. She’s not sure of a lot of things, to be honest. But she
Really 3.5 stars

I'm already tired of my previous argument that the first book was the unconscious and the second was the superego. There's no where else for this book to go except a healthy balance: Hence the name, Acceptance. My argument is too trite and obvious.

So, instead, I'll move on to how this novel either succeeds or doesn't as an actual novel meant to entertain us.

I had issues with the previous novel which did get much better once the Authority crumbled, and this novel takes place entir
Sep 05, 2014 Benni rated it it was amazing

This isn’t a review of only Acceptance, but also the first two books of the Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation and Authority. Some believe that Annihilation, in particular, can be a standalone novel, and while I do not disagree, I have no idea why anyone would not read the entire trilogy.

In Annihilation, the Southern Reach sends its twelfth expedition into the mysterious Area X. Four women—a psychologist, anthropologist, surveyor, and biologist—a
Althea Ann
Nov 05, 2014 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
I loved 'Annihilation'; I had a few doubts about 'Authority' - but 'Acceptance' pulled it all back together.

However, if anyone reading this is thinking about starting here: don't. You will be totally lost. I actually think you could conceivably skip the middle volume, but 'Annihilation' is a required prerequisite.

'Acceptance' brings us back to the depths of Area X.
The book has a lot of jump-cuts and flashbacks (I actually think it might've worked better chronologically, but that's not what Vande
Sep 12, 2014 David rated it it was ok
i slogged through all 3 of these slim volumes, waiting for a rational explanation of area x. didn't happen. guy can write, but this short story sized plot went on and on and by the end i was sick of the all of the whinny characters and felt stupid having spent all these hours reading the series instead of watching re-runs of battlestar galactica with loren greene.
oh well. peter hamilton has a 600 pager coming out this month, and if you haven't read the void series, get busy.
Jan 11, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing
But what if you discover that the price of purpose is to render invisible so many other things?

So....I loved this a lot. This was better than I ever hoped that it would be, and after the first two I hoped that it would be pretty great. Acceptance is weird and abstract and beautiful and sad.

The final book in VanderMeer's trilogy follows three parallel plotlines: Saul the lighthouse keeper, Gloria's first trip into Area X, and the rag-tag remnant of survivors from Authority. The thing that really
Andrea McDowell
I have a hypothesis about this series.

If you like boundaries between civilization and nature, humans and animals, intellect and emotion, you would probably classify these books as horror. And if you aren't particularly invested in those boundaries, you won't.

I've read a number of reviews (both official and non) about these books that discuss how terrifying they are. But they're not. At least, not for me, and believe me, I've got a thin skin and a poor stomach for most horror. This was just life
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I saved this book to read until I was on a trip to Florida, so it had been about six months since reading book #2 in this trilogy. At first a few of the details that are referenced were specifics I had forgotten, but it made more sense as I went on.

There are some answers in this book, some of what I was expecting, some that was surprising and more disturbing. A very good finish to the trilogy and I was glad to read all three in one year. I know this was an impossible feat but I wish more trilogi
Sep 16, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
3 Stars

4 Stars for the overall series....

Acceptance, the bold final installment of the Southern Reach series fell flat for me. This was the slowest book of the series even though we return to the mysterious Area X. If you have read the other two books you know what to expect from this one.

Unfortunately, by the very nature of the Area X in combination with our Identity crisis protagonists, we the reader are left with very little to connect to. I felt impatient while reading this. The mystery and
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Have you read Annihilation and Authority and now you’re ready for some answers? Jeff VanderMeer delivers the answers you want, and much more, in Acceptance, the final book in the Southern Reach Trilogy. This is a hard one to review, because it’s kind of the “big reveal” book, although it’s really not VanderMeer’s style to smack you in the face with shocking revelations. Shocking things do happen, to be sure, but events unfold like one of the deadly flowers
Evan Jensen
May 23, 2014 Evan Jensen rated it it was amazing
Since a precise analysis of Area X would be the death of its effects as a character and central funnel around which the story pulls, I have to say that the balance between a supposed understanding and a surrendering to its incomprehensibility was nicely weighed. It loses none of its weirdness and groping disconcert, and the implications are just as staggering as could be hoped for.

This one is a departure in narrative viewpoint from the first two Southern Reach books, moving in a round between fo
I got this on Netgalley and promptly went out and bought the first two. Because I am ridiculous and apparently really easily marketable to. Anyway, I liked them a lot. The reviews for them are here and here. Since you are, I think, best off reading all three of them in order and in one go, I’ll try and make the review below devoid of too many spoilers for any of the trilogy. Do hiss/spit feathers at me if I fail, but I’ll try.

Acceptance is a weird beast: in a way it felt a bit like neither one t
Jul 21, 2014 Escheresque rated it it was amazing
The best conclusion to a trilogy I have ever read. I've spent the last week thinking about it, dwelling on it, and (alternately) being terrified by it. It is a brilliant piece of literature.
Kyle Muntz
Aug 27, 2015 Kyle Muntz rated it it was ok
Another thoroughly disappointing novel, though not quite as bad as the second. (Maybe hovering around a 2.5.) This one is pretty elaborate structurally, and mostly seems like a set of parallel character studies... but, again, the problem is Vandermeer's terribly flat characterization (in a series where the characters worked best as unnamed ciphers), which blunts the emotional impact of everything. Saul, the lighthouse keeper, was particularly disappointing--his thread is a kind of origin story, ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Let me just say up front: if you’re looking for a resolution, a concrete simple answer, this isn’t the book for you. I think that’s the point: VanderMeer gives us the uncanny, the unknowable, the impossible, and posits that maybe when we come across alien life we’re not gonna know what the heck to make of it. That we might not see any rhyme or reason in what they do — that to us, there may not be any rhyme or reason.

If you’re looking for solutions to some of the smaller mysteries, like what the
Tobin Elliott
Dec 30, 2014 Tobin Elliott rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook, horror, fiction
So that's it? That's all we get?

I wish I had known. I wouldn't have wasted my time.

With this frustrating final book in the trilogy, I alternated between anger (because VanderMeer continued to stuff the pages with useless, time-wasting back stories), and annoyance (because the story wasn't going anywhere for the most part), with frequent side-trips into unadulterated boredom. There were large swaths of narrative that my eyes slid over but my brain couldn't get the gumption up to care about.

I'm e
Apr 21, 2015 Zach rated it really liked it
Still thinking through this, and plan on writing something longer eventually, but first thoughts:

1. I loved the structure of this one. Like _Veniss Underground_ the different narrative sections are presented in first, second, and third person in a way that never feels gimmicky or unnatural.

2. Control is mostly demoted to a sidekick, a role in which he is much more palatable than he was as a main character. This also means we are free of the tortured metaphors that his voice deployed in Authori
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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)
  • Authority (Southern Reach, #2)

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“Perhaps so many journals had piled up in the lighthouse because on some level most came, in time, to recognize the futility of language. Not just in Area X but against the rightness of the lived-in moment, the instant of touch, of connection for which words were such a sorrowful disappointment, so inadequate an expression of both the finite and the infinite.” 10 likes
“Bodies could be beacons, too, Saul knew. A lighthouse was a fixed beacon for a fixed purpose; a person was a moving one. But people still emanated light in their way, still shone across the miles as a warning, an invitation, or even just a static signal. People opened up so they became a brightness, or they went dark. They turned their light inward sometimes, so you couldn’t see it, because they had no other choice.” 8 likes
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