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(Southern Reach #2)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  65,704 ratings  ·  6,602 reviews
In the second volume of the Southern Reach Trilogy, questions are answered, stakes are raised, and mysteries are deepened ...Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in 'Annihilation', the second book of the Southern Reach trilogy introduces John Rodriguez, the new head of the government agency responsible for the safeguarding of Area X. His first day is spen ...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published May 8th 2014 by HarperCollins (first published May 6th 2014)
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Shub Agar only the last 50 pages will be worth reading. i didn't find anything useful in the rest of the book Authority. Acceptance, I have no clue. I haven't g…moreonly the last 50 pages will be worth reading. i didn't find anything useful in the rest of the book Authority. Acceptance, I have no clue. I haven't gotten around to reading it.(less)
Sara Mazzoni Part Two ends with Chapter 18 and Part Three starts with 000 (again, like the first chapter); then there is Chapter 020. Chapter 019 is missing.

Part Two ends with Chapter 18 and Part Three starts with 000 (again, like the first chapter); then there is Chapter 020. Chapter 019 is missing.

There are two Chapter 000, they both tell about a dream the main character has about the sea – the place where he goes in the finale, I assume. In the second Chapter 000 his point of view has changed, he's now inside the ocean, looking up at someone who may be himself or somebody else. In the finale he jumps into the water, probably entering the Area X (or maybe he's already inside but he doesn't know...). The final chapter has no number.

The chapter preceding the final part is 00X. I guess it means now the Area X is spreading, and we cannot use human numbers anymore. Time itself is bending, Control experiences that several times; the reader experiences that too when chapter 000 appears again.

Where did Chapter 019 go? Good question. I guess it got sucked into the Area X.(less)
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May 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
”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
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

"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
Heidi The Reader
The mystery of Area X continues with an FBI agent's entry into the Southern Reach. What's going on? Why can't anybody remember anything? Why is everyone so antagonistic? And why does everything smell bad?

Rarely have I been so disappointed with a book as I was with Authority. The first entry in this series is a gripping, psychedelic adventure that reads like a nature-gone-wild acid trip. This book, on the other hand, is like going to work with a punishing hangover. You don't know what's going on
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One cardinal rule of trilogies is thoroughly broken with "Authority," Book Two in the Southern Reach Trilogy. That which states that the second tome must build something out of the previous one, that its limits are expanded, that the adventure is transmogrified to its very apex (see, Star Wars episode 5, Godfather II, "Senor Vivo & the Coca Lord" in Louis de Bernieres' Latin American trilogy... heck, even Catching Fire was the better of all the Hunger Games books). "Authority" does none of this- ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book begins with some delicious theatrical irony for the readers of Annihilation.

I put Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeek’s 2014 environmental thriller, down with one hand while reaching for the sequel with the other.

Authority is in a different style and tone than was its predecessor. Whereas the first book was a surreal dystopian nightmare, told from the first-person perspective of The Biologist from a series of journal entries, this is broader in scope and more ambitious in design. VanderMeek h
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
My thoughts on this are, you guessed it, complicated. This follow-up to Annhililation (which I LOVED.) is a very different beast. Set shortly after the events of the first book, it is completely different in feeling and in genre. It does not take place in Area X but rather in the Southern Reach itself where a new director has been placed who will have to try and figure out what is really going on.

There is one thing I am absolutely sure of: Jeff VanderMeer is a genius. He has a way of writing tha
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Timothy Urges
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The aftermath of Annihilation is dealt with in Authority. Questions are answered with questions. And minds are forced to open.

This book takes a very different direction from the first book. I thought I was going to be disappointed, but halfway through and to the end I came to highly enjoy it. There is a lot of setup. Every little detail is significant.

Maybe I’m a masochist, but I enjoy the confusion.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, mystery
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
Richard Derus
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
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I was originally going to give this one star out of spite. I felt like I had to read it even though 30% in I hated it and knew it wouldn’t change. I don’t think the ending was worth holding out for if you don’t want to read book 3, but the ending was good. Therefore- 2 whole stars.

Why didn’t I like this? Let me tell you!

1. Do you like reviewing reports all day? Filing paperwork? Do you like complaining about the rotten honey smell of your office’s cleaning agents? Do you like office politics?

Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
“It is superstition. But it might be true.”

After the genius that was Annihilation, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Authority. Annihilation posed so many questions and left all of them unanswered. I hoped that its sequel would help offer some answers, but I already knew and feared that it wouldn't. So here we are, at the end of book II, none the wiser.

Authority was weird. It was a huge mess, weird people and situations all over the place without an explanation of what was going on. All we have
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To enable a new beginning the old has to make way.

This continues the story of Area X, a part of what we now know is in the southern United States of America (somewhere in Florida to be more precise), that suddenly changed about 30 years ago. If the change really was sudden; there is still dispute about that. Anyway, about 30 years ago something happened and a form of border came down, shutting Area X off from the rest of the world. An agency, called Southern Reach, was formed to investigate and
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
2.5 stars (somewhere between "meh" and "I liked it").

This is a middle book and it shows. The last 20% of this book is great--full of action. But you have to slog through the first 80% to get there. Specifically, what I didn't care for:

* I couldn't connect with the narrator.
* Repetitive, slow-moving plot.
* Instead of answers about Area X (Lovecraftian monsters? Aliens? A parallel dimension?), this is a book about government conspiracy/bureaucracy.

What I wanted was to find out what was going on a
Emily B
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately I wanted some answers and didn’t really get any. Reading it felt like a bit of a drag as I wasn’t very engaged. The reason I kept going was so I could get to book three with the hope that it will be better.

I’m not sure why a whole book focused on office politics and strained family relationships which were barley connected to the original book.
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
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
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
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2018, scifi, stars-4-0
And further down the rabbit hole we go...

After the surreal narration of the first book, I did wonder what VanderMeer had in stock for us. Authority is very much different in the sense that we are not in the marshes anymore but seeing what is going on at the Southern Reach, government body in charge of investigating Area X. We are given some glimpses in their futile trials to understand what it is, its purpose and goal. There are other contrasting aspects too: instead of a first person narrative,
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, own, read_2014
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 it was in the first book yet the characters are a little more personable. Chiefly, they have names not just titl ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good:
As with Annihilation, this is wonderfully tense. The prose is great, conveying this small town mystery/thriller with humour and creeping dread. Excellent setting, great ideas, and some very good characters.

The Bad:
Once again, there is almost zero resolution. It’s frustrating, and turns an excellent book into a merely good one. It's also a bit slow.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Control is a failed spy turned incompetent administrator. He is dumber than he thinks he is,
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
David Katzman
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 se
André Oliveira
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
2.5*, 3* ?
What a mess.

This book is so boring and slow and uninteresting.
I just kept reading it because I loved the first one, Annihilation.

The ending is exciting and now I want to read the third and final book in the series.
But the truth is: My expectations are really really low.
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
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014, e-books
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
Mar 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"I need this book to be creepy. What should I add?"


"Middle Management!"

Scribbling furiously. "Oh, this is great stuff. Next, I have a lot of information I need the reader to know, how can I tell it to them without being obvious?"

"Disguise info dumps as interrogations!"

"Convoluted backstory for a milquetoast main character!"

"Yes! I love it. I want everyone who reads this to love it, too. What do people love most?"

"Vague, yet menacing government agencies that are actually fumbling idio
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NYT bestselling writer Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. His most recent novel, the national bestseller Borne, received wide-spread critical acclaim and his prior novels include the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance). Annihilation won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards, has been translat ...more

Other books in the series

Southern Reach (4 books)
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)
  • Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3)
  • Absolution (Southern Reach #4)

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