Dan Schwent's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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really liked it
bookshelves: ebooks, 2015

Four women, the twelfth such expedition, enter the mysterious Area X to observe and collect samples. Will the calamities that have befallen previous expeditions befall them as well?

I'd read four Jeff VanderMeer books prior to this one and they were all unsettling in one way or another. This one was par from the course.

Annihilation is a horror tale about secrecy, the unknown, and insanity. The biologist is the narrator and an unreliable one at that. The other characters are known only by their job function as well, giving the book a depersonalized feel. The story is more about mood and the character of the biologist than it is about exploration.

This is one of those books that I have a hard time quantifying my feelings about. It was really strange and I was captivated by it but I'm not precisely sure I'd say I liked it. There were more than enough unanswered questions to make me want to read the next book in the series, however.

With Annihilation, VanderMeer has crafted a creepy ass tale that would make H.P. Lovecraft shiver. Four out of five stars.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2014 – Shelved
February 6, 2014 – Shelved as: buy-this-for-me
February 11, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 26, 2014 – Shelved as: ebooks
March 3, 2015 – Started Reading
March 4, 2015 –
7.0%
March 4, 2015 –
44.0%
March 4, 2015 –
60.0%
March 4, 2015 –
70.0%
March 5, 2015 –
75.0%
March 5, 2015 –
84.0%
March 5, 2015 –
87.0%
March 5, 2015 –
92.0%
March 5, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015
March 5, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Bill (new)

Bill How are you enjoying this, Dan? I've been listening to Brian Keene's horror podcast and he was raving about this guy.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I've read four of VanderMeer's other books. This one is kind of creepy so far but I'm not very far into it.


Mona Dan wrote: "I've read four of VanderMeer's other books. This one is kind of creepy so far but I'm not very far into it."

I had very mixed feelings about this book...


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent All of VanderMeer's stuff is pretty twisted so I think I'll enjoy it.


message 5: by Jason (new)

Jason Schneeberger Sounds like something I'd enjoy. You sold me by mentioning Lovecraft


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jason wrote: "Sounds like something I'd enjoy. You sold me by mentioning Lovecraft"

I wish I had the other two books in the series on hand so I could tear into them soon.


Melki I loved the first one, but didn't care for the rest of the series. I'll be interested to see what you think.


Ɗẳɳ  2.☊ Isn't this yet one more dystopian?


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Dan 2.0 wrote: "Isn't this yet one more dystopian?"

There's not much dystopia in the first volume if it is.


Kinsey_m I read the three in a row, and I wouldn't recommend to let much time lapse between one book and the next. There are just so many little things to remember that will be lost otherwise Each book has a different feel and I found myself slogging at some points but in the end it all came together. Nevertheless it felt more like a 3-part novel than a trilogy (they are more closely related than Shriek and Finch, if you've read those, although to be honest I didn't finish Finch).


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I loved the Ambergris trilogy. It's crazy how different the three books were.


message 12: by Mona (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mona Dan in your review of "Annhilation" you said, "This is one of those books that I have a hard time quantifying my feelings about. It was really strange and I was captivated by it but I'm not precisely sure I'd say I liked it."

That's kind of how I felt as well. And also not certain I want to read the rest of the series.


message 13: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I need to find out more about Area X!


Kinsey_m Dan wrote: "I loved the Ambergris trilogy. It's crazy how different the three books were."
I absolutely loved Shriek, but couldn't get past the writing style in Finch. I haven't read City of Saints and Madmen because I'm afraid of VanderMeer's postmodernist experiments. For me his books would be much better without them (and that includes the Southern Reach trilogy) because he is such a great writer, but for my taste he sometimes overcomplicates things when there is no need.


message 15: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent City didn't have as much postmodernist stuff in it from what I remember, just a lot of novellas and short stories set in different time periods in Ambergris. That was like ten years ago, though.

I thought Shriek was harder to get through than Finch but the idea of a hard-boiled detective story set in Ambergris hit all the right buttons for me.


Ɗẳɳ  2.☊ 1.0 wrote: "There's not much dystopia in the first volume if it is."

My mistake. This book is so popular I've seen it creep up on many reviews. When I saw it was a trilogy, I just jumped to the conclusion: must be dystopian.

Seems nowadays, everybody and their dog's written a trilogy.


Kinsey_m Dan wrote: "City didn't have as much postmodernist stuff in it from what I remember, just a lot of novellas and short stories set in different time periods in Ambergris. That was like ten years ago, though.
..."


I loved the idea of hardboiled detective in Ambergris, it was something in the sentence structure that really grated on my nerves. I have to admit that I read the Southern Reach Trilogy, and then almost immediately Shriek and immediately Finch, so may have simply overdosed on fungal spores. I may try City at some point in the future, but I have to say that what I love the most about VanderMeer's writing is the character depth and development, so it may not work for me.


message 18: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I did think it was a little odd that fungus comes into play in nearly every VanderMeer book I've read. I don't remember fungus in Veniss Underground but there may have been some.


Kinsey_m You are right! I Remember meerkats, but not fungus. Southern reach is not as fungus-centered, but still there is some microbiology parellelisms involved (but I won't spoil them for you :)). If you do read the 2nd and 3rd book, I hope you really enjoy them.


Stefanie Melki wrote: "I loved the first one, but didn't care for the rest of the series. I'll be interested to see what you think."

I felt the same way!


William I was very impressed by Borne (my review), and curious about Van Der Meer's other works.

Thank you for this review.


message 22: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent William wrote: "I was very impressed by Borne (my review), and curious about Van Der Meer's other works.

Thank you for this review."


I liked the trilogy that started with City of Saints and Madmen better than this.


William Dan wrote: "I liked the trilogy that started with City of Saints and Madmen better than this. "

Thank you.


William The New Yorker's review of the movie

very disappointing, sadly. It's released here in London next week. Have any of you seen it yet?


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