Gary's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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really liked it

The first book in a trilogy of novels called The Southern Reach, detailing events related to a bizarre geological event called Area X. In Annihilation, four scientists - all women - make up the 12th expedition into Area X and immediately encounter an impossible structure (a "tower" that descends into the ground like a tunnel) that isn't on their map. The expedition quickly spirals into disaster when they decide to explore the structure.
The novel is narrated by "the biologist" (the characters withhold their names from each other), a willfully unreliable narrator who almost immediately finds herself in circumstances where she can't trust her own perception. Additionally, the shady motives and apparent manipulations of the Southern Reach (the agency in charge of the investigation) are absurdly obtuse, even stranger, in some ways, than the unknowable phenomenon of Area X itself. This all could have resulted in a seriously confusing, pretentious clusterfuck of weirdness, but in fact the novel is anchored by a rather conventional, linear structure. Though the biologist sifts through memories ranging from childhood right up to the moments before the novel begins in her search for answers, the momentum of the narrative is surprisingly straightforward and uncomplicated.
It's a terrific read overall, suspenseful and emotionally satisfying in the end. It leaves a lot of mystery hanging in the air, but I suspect that will end up being true of the trilogy as a whole. I think Area X is meant to remain unknowable, and justifiably so. So a warning to the type of reader who absolutely needs to have every possible question answered so that everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow: this probably isn't the book for you. For those who love a journey for its own sake, however, I highly recommend this novel and I am looking forward to reading its sequels.
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Reading Progress

March 12, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 12, 2015 – Shelved
March 19, 2015 – Started Reading
March 19, 2015 –
page 41
March 20, 2015 –
page 87
March 23, 2015 –
page 118
March 24, 2015 –
page 151
March 26, 2015 –
page 195
March 26, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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William Thank you for the review!

This book was more like Edgar Allen Poe in it's power and terror. Wow. The words living on the walls as she goes down and down in the "tower" are quite incredible.

You must also read his Borne. My Review

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