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Hummingbird Salamander

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  86 reviews
From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.

Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterr
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: April 6th 2021 by MCD
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cryptic, claustrophobic, complex, confusing! So many C words can be used to define this rich, fresh, stunning mysterious story dances between dystopian sci-fi, thought provoking suspense and ecological mystery!

We patiently learn to walk in the dark as the author gives us small hints about the MC’s motivation to find the mystery behind a dead woman: Silvina: a troubled ecoterrorist and daughter of Argentine industrialist. She leaves a key to a storage unit. As our MC turns the key she finds tax
"We must change to see the world change"

The more I read about him and his works, the more I appreciate Jeff VanderMeer. His love for nature radiates from every word he writes. I cannot but have the outmost respect for his dedication and implication in preserving wildlife and nature, in general. His #VanderWild tweets are a delight. Even from this book, "a percentage of the royalties will go to environmental organizations dedicated to fighting wildlife smuggling", as he noted in the acknowledgmen
Max Birner
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars-2021
Hummingbird Salamander will leave you in the dark for as long as it possibly can, before divulging it all in a shocking reveal. It’s a book where you’ll be dazzled but confused as you follow the cryptic mystery that initially begins with a taxidermied hummingbird.

In this part sci-fi part mystery novel, we follow the main character, Jane, as she is trying to discover the history of a woman named Silvina. After being led to a locker with a note from “Silvina” with a taxidermied hummingbird, Jane i

A thriller by Jeff VanderMeer? Hell yes! The author, intriguing premise and stunning cover made it one of my most anticipated novels of 2021. On one level, Hummingbird Salamander is a thriller about a security expert who gives her name only as “Jane” and who informs readers she’ll show them how the world ends. On another, it shows how climate change transforms us and our environments. It’s not an easy read; it has a lot of moving pieces and the labyrinthine plot requires focus and patience.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
When the Southern Reach trilogy came out, I bought Annihilation at a book festival, and then returned the next day and bought both sequels, having read the first book that evening in a single gulp. If this didn't quite reach those heights for me, it pushed a lot of the same buttons. Unknowable mysteries, a narrator who is slow to reveal her truths, some absolute truths about office life. There's no cosmic horror here; more of an eco thriller. If the puzzles aren't quite as satisfying, they're st ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Hummingbird Salamander is a unique eco-thriller that ultimately made me re-examine my relationship with the environment. While this is a departure from VanderMeer’s previous books, it does deal with his usual themes of the environment and how we are destroying it.

I have complicated feelings about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed the ride of discovering who Silvina was, what she was involved in, and why she sent that letter to Jane. Yet, I didn’t particularly like the reveal of the
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, and totally different from any of Jeff's previous novels. Best analogy is... hmm.

It's like if Ursula K. Le Guin and John le Carré teamed up to write The Monkey Wrench Gang... but, you know, in the present.

It's an eco-thriller, a rumination on humanity's impact on the planet, a speculative look at a future that probably seemed way more 'in the future' when Jeff started writing the book than it does at the tail end of 2020. It's got signature Jeffy things like, well, taxidermy and a bag
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jeff VanderMeer, one of the ur-authors of the New Weird subgenre of speculative fiction, has taken a change in direction here, writing his new eco-thriller in a less ambiguous reality than his famed Southern Reach trilogy or earlier Ambergris trilogy. Hummingbird Salamander is the very personal first-person story of Jane Smith, which she gives as a convenient handle for herself, whether it is her actual name or not. Jane works as a security analyst – of the internet security variety – with a dar ...more
I received an advance copy of this book for free from Netgalley.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

Those of you expecting something like Annihilation (VanderMeer's most well-known, and in my humble opinion, best book): prepare for disappointment. In the context of VanderMeer's work, this is closer to Borne, but slightly less weird, faster paced, and more confusing.

The main character's purse has a name (?), and that name is "Shovel Pig" (???). I think that one fact says a lot about this book as a whole:
Feb 15, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaways
I just found out that I won a Goodreads giveaway for a copy of this book, and I cannot wait to read it!!
Stacey Camp
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Jeff VanderMeer’s Hummingbird Salamander is a dark eco-thriller that leaves you feeling unsettled and angry at the world in which we inhabit.

The book starts off with a bang. The main character, who is known as Jane, follows a trail of breadcrumbs left by a mysterious heiress who goes by the name of Silvana. The trail starts in the form of a taxidermied hummingbird, later to be discovered as extinct due to environmental degradation and climate change. Jane is haunted by Silvana – driven to find
Jan 04, 2021 is currently reading it
I won a copy of this in November and it just arrived (phew, was starting to worry). I will read it soon. I've enjoyed many of this author's short stories, although I have no tried his long fiction before.

NOTE: There's another giveaway going on now, if you, friends, think you might like this
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story of a tech security company employee who is drawn into a complex environmentalist plot touches on themes VanderMeer has explored in the past. In some ways, this read to me like an inchoate version of a Southern Reach story, most similar to Authority. The unconventionality of the narrator's voice, in addition to too much distance from the conflict made this one tedious for me. Sentences are clipped, phrased in unexpected tenses, and rarely as lyrical as you find in Annihilation, Authori ...more
Andrew Tucker
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I discovered Jeff VanderMeer through the novel Finch when I was looking for detective novels that mashup genres. I have been a big fan ever since and Borne was one of my favorite books last year.

When I read the synopsis of Hummingbird Salander I was excited to see him return to the detective genre - sort of. Although this is a mystery/detective novel of sorts it is definitely VanderMeer style where just sol
Nicholas Perez
Jan 06, 2021 marked it as to-read
I see Jeff VanderMeer's name and that's all I need to know. ...more
Tommy Cucchiara
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What if Taylor Swift’s “mad woman” was actually about an alleged ecoterrorist?
Barry Mulvany
I'm honestly not sure if I liked that or not. I think overall I did but there were definitely parts that I struggled through.

The book is narrated by an unnamed woman who just calls herself Jane Smith. She lives a fairly normal life with her husband and teenage daughter, and works for a cybersecurity consulting company. She is left a note by someone called Silvina, which leads her to a storage facility where she finds a taxidermied hummingbird. This all starts a chain reaction where her life is u
Crystal King
Fans of VanderMeer's other novels (he first hooked me with Borne) may not find the same synergy with this particular book--a contemporary, noir-like, environmental mystery with an obsessed, mostly unlikeable main character. It's a different pace, a more familiar (although still odd) world, and circumstances that are much larger than life. Ultimately, I think I'm not the best audience for this particular novel, but truly, VanderMeer is a brilliant writer. He turns many an amazing phrase in Hummin ...more
Bonnye Reed
Feb 02, 2021 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
pub date April 6, 2021
MCD, publisher
Jay Batson
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
I'm just saying it up-front: This is an uncomfortable review to write, because I SO want to like this book. But, I have to give it 2.5 (maybe 3) stars.

I fell in love with the Borne series by VanderMeer. His style of writing thoughts, not sentences, and impressions, not story worked in Borne. Because this entity (probably) wasn't human. But it had emotion, and discovered purpose despite a story that only emerged as you wrestled it out of the snippets you were given. And then the Southern Reach tr
TEELOCK Mithilesh
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Author of Annihilation Jeff VanderMeer’s latest is a thriller haunted by conspiracy, endangered species, and perhaps the death of the planet. A security consultant receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit containing a taxidermic hummingbird. By removing the hummingbird from the unit, the protagonist sparks a series of events that spiral out of control, endangering herself and her family. (Suffice to say, it probably won’t be long before a Hollywood studio picks up the rights.)
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Review for Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the early copy!

I should begin by saying how much I have previously enjoyed works by VanderMeer. If you've read his books before, you will know exactly the writing style you are heading into.

If you're new to his works, he threads current day issues, along with seemingly wacky nature, environmentalism and a twist of science fiction that borders on future reality in order to we
Hummingbird Salamander is a novel about ecoterrorism and a near future end of the world, as an IT security analyst finds herself drawn into a mystery. The narrator, who we only know probably isn't called 'Jane Smith', works for a tech security company in the Pacific Northwest, but when she is given an envelope with a key to a storage unit containing a taxidermy hummingbird, she becomes embroiled in a strange and dangerous mystery that leads to an eco-terrorist with a father in shady business. Sh ...more
Sunyi Dean
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher and the author for the free copy, in exchange for an honest review.

THis is the first non-speculative Vandermeer book I have read; the rest are SFF to some degree (as far as I know.) Some parts of it I loved, and some parts I struggled with, but I overall found the book a really positive and engaging read. It's beautifully written, full of paranoia and sadness and love for the natural world, and has an intriguing main character who is difficult because sh
Siân Plummer (plumreads__s)
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh, where do I even start with this review? I haven't previously read any VanderMeer, but I have seen VanderMeer's novels all over bookstagram and have been meaning to read Annihalation and others for some time. When I saw a copy of VanderMeer's latest novel up for review, I had to click request and cross all my fingers and toes for approval. I feel super lucky and grateful to be accepted.. Hummingbird Salamander is a really unique story. The pace is fast throughout, making it incredibly ...more
Susan Oram
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
A dystopian speculative thriller about a conspiracy, endangered species and a dying world. When security consultant Jane tries to help an old friend and takes a stuffed hummingbird from a storage unit, she sets in motion a series of events that spin out of control. Plot twists kept me turning the pages to the fabulous ending. The stark writing style matched the tone of the book, and I enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 16, 2020 marked it as to-read
Pretty good, I like that this is less weird and faster-paced than some of this other work. It contains his good imagination and innovative plot, and will satisfy many sci-fi fans.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!

Received from NetGalley
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Made possible through

Like many of the reviews I've seen, I have to agree that this book took me by surprise. It was very realistic in the sense of narration, an individual recalling an event from memory: chaotic and all over the place. It was never a "this happened, then this happened, then that happened, etc." type of book. And while I found this method of story telling to be a bit confusing, I appreciated the depiction of the fallible human memory. Overall this was completely unp
Edwin Howard
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Without any pomp and circumstance in HUMMINGBIRD SALAMANDER, by Jeff VanderMeer, readers are thrust right into the story of "Jane Smith" who is led to a storage unit containing a taxidermized hummingbird. There is also a clue about a special salamander from a recently deceased enigmatic ecoterrorist named Silvina. As Jane begins to follow the clues and Silvina, a conspiracy that seems to have no limits unfolds and as Jane finds more clues, she becomes addicted to finding the treasured salamande ...more
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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

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