Mike Kleine's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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it was amazing

If you're okay with new stuff and want to read something that is not very mainstream but also not too out-there, this is a great starting point. Annihilation is a good book (and the cover art is fantastic too). It's like the television series Lost meets the book House of Leaves meets the books series Wool Omnibus meets Jurassic Park (but without the dinosaurs) meets Roadside Picnic.

This is only the first book in a series--a trilogy, I know--but I really really liked it. And people who have reviewed this book either really love it or hate it. There are some inbetweeners, naturally, but from what I've gathered, it seems people are not happy when everything is not laid out and explained to them. And this book does not do that.

Jeff VanderMeer even has the narrator ask a ton of questions, only to sort of answer maybe a few. I think that's what makes this first entry in the series so amazing. We don't get character names (we get a biologist, psychologist, surveyor, husband, etc), we don't get to know everything (a-la third person omniscient narrator, this is told in the first person) and we just really don't know what the hell is going on all the time. What this does, is allow the reader, really, to create more story and imagery than the author intended. And it's sort of like that idea of off-screen violence in film: where what's really happening is probably not as bad as what you are imagining--your imagination is making it worse. And Jeff VanderMeer plays with this notion brilliantly. It's wonderful.

Not only was I intrigued the entire time (though some bits with the husband/flashback did drag bit), I probably read this book more quickly than I usually read other books. I felt dread and I felt lost--and that, I thought, was incredible. I like this book also because it reminded me of House of Leaves, which I still have not completed (I know, I know), but the tower/tunnel sequences reminded me of the labyrinth/staircase sequences in House of Leaves. Anxiety-filled dread and claustrophobia galore!

I want to say there are some flaws in this book and certainly, there are (read the other reviews to find out what these are), but overall, for what Jeff was able to achieve in so few words, bravo. And if you have the time, read the author's Reddit AMA and also read-up a little (if you have the time) on the backstory of the series and how this all came to be. It's actually quite interesting--and I'm always for someone who is trying to do something different--that hasn't been done before, you know?
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Reading Progress

April 8, 2014 – Shelved
April 8, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
February 16, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Eric T. Voigt The 'House of Leaves' comparison resonates, as does the ingestion rate of this novel.


message 2: by Mike (last edited Dec 23, 2017 08:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Kleine Eric T. Voigt wrote: "The 'House of Leaves' comparison resonates, as does the ingestion rate of this novel."

I almost bought Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy during a sale a couple of weeks ago but then I looked at my to-read list... One day.


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