Carmen's Reviews > Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, horror, science-fiction, traditionally-published, he-says
Recommended for: Anyone
Read 2 times. Last read December 13, 2014 to December 15, 2014.

I am convinced now that I and the rest of the expedition were given access to these records for the simple reason that, for certain kinds of classified information, it did not matter what we knew or didn't know. There was only one logical conclusion: Experience told our superiors that few if any of us would be coming back.

Area X is thought to be a myth. A conspiracy theory. Something whispered about in environmental circles.

But it's real. Appearing 30 years ago and baffling everyone with its existence. The government has sent people - trained people, skilled people - to explore Area X and try to come up with some explanation for it. Those people have disappeared. Or died. Or killed themselves. Or murdered each other. Occasionally, they actually return from Area X, as pale pathetic shells of the people they once were, their personalities seemingly extracted by the unknown force which has claimed that part of the country and seems to be slowly advancing and widening.

The main character is a biologist. She is part of Expedition 12, the government's 12th mission to Area X in a desperate attempt to find answers. She has no name - it was stripped from her in training. She and her three companions only call each other by their occupational titles: the biologist, the anthropologist, the surveyor, and the psychologist. All are women.

Trained for months in a secret government facility (a sector known as The Southern Reach) in weapons, science, survival skills, and combat training, the four scientists really have no idea what lies in wait for them on the other side of the border. Nothing could prepare them for what happens next.
...

This book is an intense mind-fuck full of slow, sweet build-up, and almost palpable tension which ends in an explosive and thoroughly satisfying climax. VanderMeer is a master at giving you small hints and victories as you piece together what is going on as each member of the team slowly succumbs to the horrors of whatever is causing the illness, insanity, and transformation that is spilling out of Area X's every living cell, from the bark of the trees to the gigantic unseen animals that you can hear moaning in the reeds but never actually get a good look at until they are hurtling toward you at full speed, jaws open.

He is amazing at small touches that at first sound almost innocuous but in the end leave you reeling from their impact and hidden implications.

This book is creepy and horrifying. So I'd classify it as a horror. It also is a strong science-fiction entry.

Another thing that is wonderful and amazing about this book is that it really only deals with women. Women are the good guys, the bad guys, the smart ones, the stupid ones, the brave ones, the scared ones. Men definitely exist and are spoken of in the novel, but since the entire mission is composed of females, females serve every character function in this book. It's mindblowing and I really loved it. (I wish that this kind of story could exist when men are ALSO in the picture, but it seems that as soon as a man enters a book, all of women's responses, attitudes, dialogue, and thoughts are affected in some way as a result. Usually not for the better.)

Two really kick-ass characters exist in the biologist (our main character) and the surveyor, who has a strong military background. Even though they are both kickass, they are kickass in very different ways, and it was fascinating to see how that played out. The villain of the piece (I won't tell you who) is also, of course, female - devious, manipulative, and sinister. There's a more cowed, peace-loving character as well, who plays the 'weak' role and is always trying to please others and help them. The book is a interesting collection of character studies that was always blowing my mind with new revelations.

I really felt an affinity for the biologist. I could relate to her character. She's certainly complex and unlikable in a lot of ways. We are inside her head (this book is in first-person) and it is a delight to see such a strong, capable, cold-blooded woman take on this challenge, use her scientific brain to figure stuff out, and do whatever she has to do to survive. She was spectacular, I was on the edge of my seat rooting for her and cheering her intelligent, sometimes brutal decisions.

I have read this book twice in one day. I couldn't put it down and I also felt like I should read it a second time in order to really absorb VanderMeer's beautiful writing and also his complex and mind-blowing concepts.

If you enjoy books or are a person who likes to read, I highly recommend this excellent book to you. I hope the next two books in the trilogy (Authority and Acceptance) are as good. Even if I had to take this book by itself, though, it would still be a 5-star read and a stand-alone novel in its own right.

P.S. It is fair to note that the paperback U.S.A. edition of this is absolutely gorgeous. A work of art. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the back side of the cover and the back side of the back cover are detailed with an intricate, green, beautiful drawing of a marshy swampland filled with dragonflies, flowers, herons, bullfrogs, and ibis. If you do not skip immediately to the first chapter, there is a rather large detailed drawing of a boar on the title page. It's gorgeous and I want to own it. It's really, really rare that I buy a book published in English, so... the fact that I feel a deep and urgent NEED to see this on my shelf is really saying something.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 8, 2014 – Shelved
December 13, 2014 – Started Reading
December 15, 2014 –
page 3
1.54% "Our expedition was the first to enter Area X for more than two years, and much of our predecessors' equipment had rusted, their tents and sheds little more than husks. Looking out over that untroubled landscape, I do not believe that any of us could yet see the threat. There were four of us: a biologist, an antropologist, a surveyor, and a psychologist. I was the biologist. All of us were women this time, chosen...."
December 15, 2014 –
page 5
2.56% "All you heard was the low moaning. The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you."
December 15, 2014 –
page 8
4.1% "We had also been ordered not to share our journal entries with one another. Too much shared information could skew our observations, our superiors believed. But I knew from experience how hopeless this pursuit, this attempt to weed out bias, was. Nothing that lived and breathed was truly objective - even in a vacuum, even if all that possessed the brain was a self-immolating desire for the truth."
December 15, 2014 –
page 9
4.62% "I would tell you the names of the other three, if it mattered, but only the surveyor would last more than the next day or two. Besides, we were always strongly discouraged from using names: We were meant to be focused on our purpose, and "anything personal should be left behind." Names belonged to where we had come from, not who we were while embedded in Area X."
December 15, 2014 –
page 11
5.64% "We had been told not to look back upon arrival, but I snuck a glance anyway, while the psychologist's attention was elsewhere. I don't know quite what I saw. It was hazy, indistinct, and already far behind us - perhaps a gate, perhaps a trick of the eye. Just a sudden impression of a fizzing block of light, fast fading."
December 15, 2014 –
page 12
6.15% "I understood why no one lived in Area X now, that it was pristine because of that reason, but I kept un-remembering it. I had decided instead to make believe that it was simply a protected wildlife refuge, and we were hikers who happened to be scientists. This made sense on another level: We did not know what had happened here, what was still happening here...\n - This whole paragraph is pure gold."
December 15, 2014 –
page 16
8.21% "I was continuing to watch through the binoculars, and as the boar came closer, its face became stranger and stranger. Its features were somehow contorted, as if the beast was dealing with an extreme of inner torment. Nothing about its muzzle or broad, long face looked at all extraordinary, and yet I had the startling impression of some presence in the way its gaze seemed turned inward..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 19
9.74% "With a strange smirk, almost as if judging us, the surveyor descended until we could only see her face framed in the gloom below, and then not even that. She left an empty space that was shocking to me, as if the reverse had actually happened: as if a face had suddenly floated into view out of the darkness. I gasped, which drew a stare from the psychologist."
December 15, 2014 –
page 21
10.77% "With the tower, we knew none of these things. We could not intuit its full outline. We had no sense of its purpose. And now that we had begun to descend into it, the tower still failed to reveal any hint of these things. The psychologist might recite the measurements of the "top" of the tower, but those numbers meant nothing, had no wider context.Without context, clinging to those numbers was a form of madness"
December 15, 2014 –
page 22
11.28% ""Don't touch it, whatever it is," the anthropologist warned.\n I nodded, but I was too enthralled with the discovery. If I'd had the impulse to touch the words on the wall, I would not have been able to stop myself."
December 15, 2014 –
page 23
11.79% "In as calm a voice as I could manage, aware of the importance of that moment, I read from the beginning, aloud: "Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that..."\n Then the darkness took it."
December 15, 2014 –
page 24
12.31% "Because it helped me fight the compulsion to keep reading, to descend into the greater darkness and keep descending until I had read all there was to read. Already the initial phrases were infiltrating my mind in unexpected ways, finding fertile ground."
December 15, 2014 –
page 25
12.82% "I was unlucky - or was I lucky? Triggered by a disturbance in the flow of air, a nodule in the W chose that moment to burst open and a tiny spray of golden spores spewed out. I pulled back, but I though I had felt something enter my nose, experienced a pinprick of escalation in the smell of rotting honey."
December 15, 2014 –
page 29
14.87% ""There may not be enough time in the world for that," the surveyor said. Of all of us, I think she had best grasped the implications of what we had seen: that we might now be living in a kind nightmare.\n ...\n Nothing radical had yet changed in me, and as we took our samples and readings in the general vicinity of the camp - as if to stray too far would be to come under the tower's control - I gradually relaxed and..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 31
15.9% "I still didn't like the anthropologist very much, but mostly in the context of the mission, not anything she had said to me. I felt that, once in the field, much as some athletes were good in practice and not during the game, she had exhibited a lack of mental toughness so far. Although just volunteering for such a mission meant something.\n ...\n When the nightly cry from the marshes came a little after nightfall, whi"
December 15, 2014 –
page 32
16.41% "Then she abruptly stood and said 3 words: "Consolidation of authority."\n Immediately the surveyor and the anthropologist beside me went slack, their eyes unfocused. I was shocked, but I mimicked them, hoping that the psychologist had not noticed the lag. I felt no compulsion whatsoever, but clearly we had been programmed to enter a hypnotic state in response to those words, uttered by the psychologist."
December 15, 2014 –
page 34
17.44% "I now hid not one but two secrets, and that meant I was steadily, irrevocably, becoming estranged from the expedition and its purpose.\n - So strong."
December 15, 2014 –
page 35
17.95% "In terms of their affect, I could not tell any of the 8 apart. I had the sense that they now saw the world through a kind of veil, that they spoke to their interviewers from across a vast distance in time and space...\n ...\n At the time, I was seeking oblivion, and I sought in those blank, anonymous faces, even the most painfully familiar, a kind of benign escape. A death that would not mean being dead.\n - Bam!"
December 15, 2014 –
page 38
19.49% "The psychologist's habit of allowing a slim smile to cross her face at inappropriate times made me want to slap her.\n ...\n I was truly curious. In some ways I found the psychologist as fascinating as the tower. Her motivations, her reasons. Why not resort to hypnosis now? Perhaps even with our underlying conditioning some things are not suggestible, or fade with repetition, or she lacked the stamina for it after the"
December 15, 2014 –
page 39
20.0% ""We should continue with our plan," the psychologist said. "We should investigate the...tower." The word tower in this context felt like a blatant plea for my loyalty.\n - This psychologist is such a manipulative, underhanded so-and-so. Grrrrrrrr"
December 15, 2014 –
page 40
20.51% "I did not want to let the psychologist out of my sight. I wanted her embedded in the risk of the exploration, not standing at the top, with all of the power over us implied by that position.\n ...\n "There's no reward in the risk of all of us going down," the psychologist said, and from the inflection I recognized a hypnotic command.\n The surveyor's grip on the rifle loosened. The features of her face became som"
December 15, 2014 –
page 41
21.03% "The first thing I noticed on the staging level before we reached the wider staircase that spiraled down, before we encountered again the words written on the wall... the tower was breathing.\n - This whole page is gold."
December 15, 2014 –
page 42
21.54% "But I didn't. Instead, I "got my shit together," as my husband used to say. I got my shit together because we were going to go forward and the surveyor couldn't see what I saw, couldn't experience what I was experiencing. And I couldn't make her see it.\n "Forget it," I said. "I became disoriented for a second.""
December 15, 2014 –
page 43
22.05% ""I feel fine," I lied. "I don't see anything now," I lied. My heart felt like an animal had become trapped in my chest and was trying to crawl out. The surveyor was now surrounded by a corona of the white phosphorescence from the walls. Nothing was receding. Nothing was leaving me.\n ...\n She said, "Just don't touch me again or I'll hurt you."\n I nodded in agreement. She didn't like knowing I was physically stronger t"
December 15, 2014 –
page 45
23.08% "...they had no answers. Nor when one day for "no reason" I punched a fellow student in the face when she said hello to me in the lunch line."
December 15, 2014 –
page 46
23.59% "And I never did look back, for better or for worse. ... \n ...\n There are certain kinds of deaths that one should not be expected to relive, certain kinds of connections so deep that when they are broken you feel the snap of the link inside you."
December 15, 2014 –
page 47
24.1% "The tower steps kept revealing themselves, those whitish steps like the spiraling teeth of some unfathomable beast, and we kept descending because there seemed to be no choice. I wished at times for the blinkered seeing of the surveyor. I knew now why the psychologist had sheltered us, and I wondered how she withstood it, for she had no one to shield her from... anything.\n ...\n The sense of unease in ignoring..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 48
24.62% "Things only I could see: That the walls minutely rose and fell with the tower's breathing. That the colors of the words shifted in a rippling effect, like the strobing of a squid."
December 15, 2014 –
page 51
26.15% "The surveyor hesitated. After my show of impulsiveness earlier, it would be some time before she trusted me again. Not the kind of trust that responded unthinkingly to a request to plunge us into darkness. But she did it. The truth was, I had purposefully left my gun in its belt holster and she could have extinguished me in a moment with her assault rifle...\n - This whole paragraph, plus use of the word 'extinguish'"
December 15, 2014 –
page 56
28.72% "I was speechless. I could only stare at him as if he were a mirage and if I moved or said anything he would dissipate into nothing, or less than nothing.\n ...\n I was trying to reclaim remnants of the man I remembered..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 58
29.74% "Whatever had happened in Area X, he had not come back. Not really."
December 15, 2014 –
page 59
30.26% "Bodies were one thing; no amount of training could prepare you for encountering a monster."
December 15, 2014 –
page 60
30.77% "...her hands in her lap, her head down as if in prayer, something green spilling from her mouth. Her clothing seemed oddly fuzzy, indistinct. A faint golden glow arose from her body, almost imperceptible,..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 61
31.28% "There wasn't much left of her face, and odd burn marks were all over the remaining skin. Spilling out from her broken jaw, which looked as if someone had wrenched it open in a single act of brutality, was a torrent of green ash that sat on her chest in a mound. Her hands, palm up in her lap, had no skin left on them, only a kind of gauzy filament and more burn marks. Her legs seemed fused together and half-melted,..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 63
32.31% "Something clicked into place, and I could see it all in my head."
December 15, 2014 –
page 66
33.85% "Always, as I looked back, I could see that there had been an almost willful intent to obscure, to misdirect, disguised as concern that we not be frightened or overwhelmed. The map had been the first form of misdirection...\n ...\n That if we did not ask questions, it was because we were programmed not to ask questions."
December 15, 2014 –
page 67
34.36% "By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything... and we knew nothing."
December 15, 2014 –
page 68
34.87% "It was as if we had come up too fast from a deep-sea dive but it was the memories of the creatures we had seen that had given us the bends.\n ...\n I couldn't read her at all. I didn't know if she was turning on me or just cautious. Coming aboveground had emboldened her, regardless, and I had preferred her uncertain."
December 15, 2014 –
page 70
35.9% ""You prefer this place, you really do, don't you?" the surveyor said. It wasn't really a question; a kind of pity or disgust infused her voice. "You think this is going to last much longer? Let me tell you, even on military maneuvers designed to simulate negative outcomes, I've seen better odds."\n Fear was driving her, even if she was right."
December 15, 2014 –
page 71
36.41% "I didn't say what I was thinking: That it might not be that simple. That she might make it back across the border only in the abstract sense that --- had, stripped of what made her unique. But I didn't want her to feel as if she had no way out."
December 15, 2014 –
page 72
36.92% "It was brain tissue - and not just any brain tissue.\n - OMG!"
December 15, 2014 –
page 74
37.95% "The wind picked up, and it began to rain. I saw each drop fall as a perfect, faceted, liquid diamond, refracting light even in the gloom, and I could smell the sea and picture the roiling waves. The wind was like something alive; it entered every pore of me and it, too, had a smell, carrying with it the earthiness of the marsh reeds. I had tried to ignore the change in the confined space of the tower, but..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 75
38.46% "Even the darkness seemed more alive to me, surrounding me like something physical. I can't even say it was a sinister presence.\n I felt in that moment was if it were all a dream - the training, my former life, the world I had left behind. None of it mattered anymore. Only this place mattered, only this moment, and not because..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 76
38.97% "I had shoved him up against a wall, thrown things at him. Anything to break through that armor of resolve that I know now might have been thrust upon him by..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 77
39.49% "I told him point-blank, so there would be no mistake: This person he wanted to know better did not exist; I was who I seemed to be from the outside. That would never change."
December 15, 2014 –
page 78
40.0% "I had never talked to the frogs; I despised anthropomorphizing animals."
December 15, 2014 –
page 80
41.03% "We read for a while, then went back inside and made love. It was a kind of repetitive, trancelike...\n - 'til end of paragraph."
December 15, 2014 –
page 82
42.05% "With every atypical word, he was driving me further from the memory of the person I had known, and despite everything that had happened, preserving that idea of him was important.\n ...\n This was the only thing I discovered in him after his return: a deep and unending solitude, as if he had been granted a gift that he didn't know what to do with. A gift that was poison to him and eventually...."
December 15, 2014 –
page 83
42.56% "The brightness infecting my senses had spread to my chest; I can describe it no other way. Internally there was a brightness in me, a kind of prickling energy and anticipation that pushed hard against my lack of sleep. Was this part of the change? But even so, it didn't matter - I had no way to combat what might be happening to me."
December 15, 2014 –
page 85
43.59% "Was she afraid? Did she just not like me enough to say yes? Whatever the reason, her opposition angered me, as did the smug look on her face.\n In the moment, I did something that I regret now...\n - This whole page."
December 15, 2014 –
page 86
44.1% ""This damn rifle..." - OMG!\n ...\n I had long ago stopped believing in promises. Biological imperatives, yes. Environmental factors, yes. Promises, no."
December 15, 2014 –
page 91
46.67% "For example, the spores I had inhaled, which pointed to a truthful seeing. \n I was brought up short by this idea, ..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 93
47.69% "Anyone within the lighthouse could see me coming for miles. Then, too, that other effect of the spores, the brightness in my chest, continued to sculpt me as I walked, and by the time I reached the deserted village that told me I was halfway to the lighthouse, I believed I could have run a marathon. I did not trust that feeling. I felt, in so many ways, that I was being lied to."
December 15, 2014 –
page 95
48.72% "I am convinced now that I and the rest of the expedition were given access to these records for the simple reason that, for certain kinds of classified information, it did not matter what we knew or didn't know. There was only one logical conclusion: Experience told our superiors that few if any of us would be coming back."
December 15, 2014 –
page 96
49.23% "But in what had been kitchens or living rooms or bedrooms, I also saw a few peculiar eruptions of moss or lichen...\n - This paragraph and the following one."
December 15, 2014 –
page 97
49.74% "Then something more wrenching occurred. As they slid by, the nearest one rolled slightly to the side, and it stared at me with an eye that did not, in that brief flash, resemble a dolphin eye to me. It was painfully human, almost familiar. \n - OMG OMG OMG OMG I am freaking out over here. This book is so scary..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 99
50.77% "It appeared that some past defenders of the lighthouse had been at war with the sea. I did not like this wall because it provided evidence of a very specific kind of insanity."
December 15, 2014 –
page 104
53.33% "Perhaps he'd left in time, but probably not. Perhaps he was even moldering on the ground floor in a forgotten corner. Or, and I experienced a sudden shudder, maybe he was waiting for me above, at the top. In some form."
December 15, 2014 –
page 106
54.36% "Can you really imagine what it was like in those first moments, peering down into that dark space, and seeing that? Perhaps you can. Perhaps you're staring at it now.\n - OMG OMG OMG OMG"
December 15, 2014 –
page 108
55.38% "...sometimes with someone I knew but who was a stranger just leaving..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 109
55.9% "That's how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality. (108)"
December 15, 2014 –
page 110
56.41% "This whole page."
December 15, 2014 –
page 112
57.44% "I also had a sensation I can in hindsight attribute to the brightness growing within me: of a presence pressing up from below, impinging on the edges of my senses. A prickling crept across my skin at unexpected times, for no good reason."
December 15, 2014 –
page 116
59.49% "But I had begun to realize that you had to wage a guerrilla war against whatever force had come to inhabit Area X if you wanted to fight at all.\n - This whole paragraph."
December 15, 2014 –
page 118
60.51% "All he'd ever wanted was for me to open up to him, and as a result he had always been there for the taking. Now, though, I would have to take him as I found him, and it would probably be forever, and I found the truth of that intolerable."
December 15, 2014 –
page 122
62.56% "Kissing a boy and making him strip for me because I didn't know any better.\n ...\n My mom once so out of it that she poured orange juice into my cereal instead of milk."
December 15, 2014 –
page 123
63.08% ""You're very self-contained," she said once, but not as a pejorative. It was only as we walked for a second day from the border toward base camp that it struck me that perhaps the very qualities she might disapprove of from a psychiatric point of view made me suitable for the expedition."
December 15, 2014 –
page 124
63.59% ""You're still here," she said, surprise in her voice. "But I killed you, didn't I?" The voice of someone waking from dream or falling into dream.\n "Not even a little bit."\n - OMG"
December 15, 2014 –
page 125
64.1% ""Didn't like what you've become?"\n A chill came over me. "I'm the same as always."\n The psychologist's gaze drifted out to sea again. "I saw you, you know, coming down the trail toward the lighthouse. That's how I knew for sure you had changed."\n "What did you see?" I asked, to humor her.\n A cough, accompanied by red spittle. " You were a FLAME," she said, and I had a brief vision of my brightness...."
December 15, 2014 –
page 127
65.13% ""I'm not changing!" I shouted it, an unexpected rage rising inside of me..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 128
65.64% "This whole page."
December 15, 2014 –
page 131
67.18% ""We should never have come here. I should never have come here." The rawness in her tone hinted at a personal anguish that went beyond her physical condition.\n "That's all?"\n "I've come to believe it is the one fundamental truth."\n I took her to mean..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 134
68.72% "I had not seen a name or heard a name spoken aloud for months, and seeing one now bothered me deeply. It seemed wrong, as if it did not belong in Area X. A name was a dangerous luxury here. Sacrifices didn't need names. People who served a function didn't need to be named. In all ways, the name was a further and unwanted confusion to me, a dark space that kept growing and growing in my mind."
December 15, 2014 –
page 135
69.23% "We had all been given..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 137
70.26% "I was not yet privy to the idea...\n ...\n The arguing came later..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 138
70.77% "...and yet even so, somewhere in the heart of me I had begun to believe there was no place I would rather be than in Area X.\n ...\n ...I saw a thin green fountain of light gushing up...\n ...\n There shall be a fire that knows your name, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you."
December 15, 2014 –
page 139
71.28% "A few minutes later, the moaning started...\n ...\n It seemed so utterly human and inhuman, that, for the second time since entering Area X, I considered the supernatural."
December 15, 2014 –
page 140
71.79% "A few minutes passed, and I made good progress. Then, abruptly, something nudged against my foot, flopped over. I aimed my flashlight at the ground - and leapt back, gasping...\n - This whole page."
December 15, 2014 –
page 141
72.31% "I hesitated for just a moment. Some part of me wanted..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 142
72.82% "Was it the remnants of the scientist in me, trying to regroup, trying to apply logic when all that mattered was survival?\n If so, it was a very small part.\n - This whole page."
December 15, 2014 –
page 143
73.33% "Sometime before morning, I woke to find that my brightness had become literal...\n ...\n But I did remember one thing, now: where I had seen the molted mask before..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 144
73.85% "Death, as I was beginning to understand it, was not the same thing here as back across the border.\n - This book is so flippin' good. Also, note: page with bullets"
December 15, 2014 –
page 146
74.87% ""Tell me your name!" she screamed. "Tell me your name! TELL ME YOUR GODDAMN FUCKING NAME!"..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 147
75.38% "I didn't think. I didn't hesitate.\n ...\n I was not sure, given the logic of this place..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 148
75.9% "If she had suddenly..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 149
76.41% "I crumpled to the ground..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 150
76.92% "If I could have reached...\n ...\n It may be clear by now that I am not always good at telling people things they feel they have a right to know, and in this account so far I have neglected to mention some details..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 151
77.44% "You can either waste time worrying about a death that might not come or concentrate on what's left to you."
December 15, 2014 –
page 153
78.46% "So smart."
December 15, 2014 –
page 157
80.51% "... thousands of transitional environments that no one saw, that had been rendered invisible because they were not 'of use.' Anything could in habit them for a time without anyone noticing. We had come to think of the border as this monolithic invisible wall, but if members of the 11th expedition had been able to return without our noticing, couldn't other things have already gotten through?\n - OMG"
December 15, 2014 –
page 158
81.03% "The individual details chronicled... this whole paragraph."
December 15, 2014 –
page 163
83.59% "I, too, knew that Area X ended abruptly not far past the lighthouse. How did I know this? Our superiors had told us during training. So, in fact, I knew nothing at all."
December 15, 2014 –
page 165
84.62% "...and there before me, myself...."
December 15, 2014 –
page 168
86.15% "He knew how much I hated words like love.\n - Pages 167 and 168 are breaking my heart. My heart is broken."
December 15, 2014 –
page 170
87.18% "Somehow it surprised me..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 172
88.21% "In that moment, I had convinced myself I would rather die knowing...something, anything.\n I passed the threshold. I descended into the light."
December 15, 2014 –
page 173
88.72% "People my entire life have told me I am too much in control, but that has never been the case. I have never truly been in control, have never wanted control."
December 15, 2014 –
page 175
89.74% "But the longer I stared at it... \n 'til end."
December 15, 2014 –
page 178
91.28% "What can you do when your five senses are not enough?"
December 15, 2014 –
page 179
91.79% "The very idea of gun now seemed as pathetic and useless as the word sample. Both implied aiming at something. What was there to aim at?"
December 15, 2014 –
page 184
94.36% "Was i in the end stages of some prolonged form of annihilation?"
December 15, 2014 –
page 189
96.92% "How I wish, beyond reason, that I had answered him,..."
December 15, 2014 –
page 192
98.46% "If I don't have real answers, it is because we still don't know what questions to ask. Our instruments are useless, our methodology broken, our motivations selfish."
December 15, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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message 1: by Jonnie (new) - added it

Jonnie This book is an intense mind-fuck full of slow, sweet build-up, and almost palpable tension which ends in an explosive and thoroughly satisfying climax - well consider me convinced! ;)


Carmen LOL Thanks, Jonnie!


Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books) Awesome! You gave it 5 stars so I hope to get to it soon.


Carmen Thank you Carole and Kelly!


message 6: by Joe (last edited Dec 16, 2014 09:27PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joe Valdez Resplendent review, Carmen. I had to skip around so I wouldn't catch any spoilers, but I know I'm on to a great book when you describe it in a fashion that sounds suspiciously like great sex. Maybe I have a dirty mind.


message 7: by Mitticus (last edited Dec 16, 2014 10:09PM) (new) - added it

Mitticus Sold! cada vez que leia Area X, cambiaba en mi mente por Area 51 XD Otro libro más para el cerro de TBR. Excelente reseña.


Carmen Joseph - That's okay, I like your mind! ;) The review is pretty spoiler-free, but I understand that you want to go into this clean and unbiased. :) I really hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did!


Carmen Mitticus - Ay, ¡yo también con "Area 51"! :) ¡Gracias por comentar!


Caitlin I just finished this book and loved it to bits. I don't understand how the author can pack so much awesomeness into less than 200 pages, but you review really captured the spirit!


Carmen Aw, thanks, Caitlin! I thought this book was amazing! :)


message 12: by Susy (new)

Susy Excelente reseña, ¡me encantó!


Carmen Ay, gracias, Susy.


message 14: by Terence (last edited Mar 25, 2016 04:54AM) (new)

Terence Awesome review Carmen. Why is it so rare that you buy a book in English?


Apatt This book keeps going in and out of my TBR, I'm too easily swayed by mixed reviews. Your excellent review is the final impetus I need to get on with reading it, I think :)


Carmen Apatt - I liked it, but it seems that this is a very polarizing book. People either love it or despise it, there's not much in between. I hope you enjoy it. :)


Apatt Carmen wrote: "Apatt - I liked it, but it seems that this is a very polarizing book. People either love it or despise it, there's not much in between. I hope you enjoy it. :)"

Perhaps I'll be the first to feel ambivalent about it then ;)


Carmen LOL Maybe.


message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Vegan I 100% agree with you about the biologist, Carmen. Great character! (I did like the book and almost added 1/2 star.)


Carmen Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, Lisa! Biologist for the win! :D


message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Vegan Carmen wrote: "Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, Lisa! Biologist for the win! :D"

Definitely, Carmen! ;-)


Ɗẳɳ  2.☊ Although I am completely at odds with your rating, Carmen, this is a fantastic review, and your character discussion is spot-on!


Carmen Ɗắɳ 2.☊ wrote: "Although I am completely at odds with your rating, Carmen, this is a fantastic review, and your character discussion is spot-on!"

Aw, thank you, Dan! :D


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