The past week has been full of grey skies with a dash of rain, so when I picked up this book that offered me a scenic journey through a mysterious world of strange creatures and mystery. I couldn’t say no to that promise.
This book brought me a brief escape from the dreary weather, but it also brought me a strange adventure that I was not expecting. I’ve had this novel in the ever-growing list of books that I hope to one day read, and I decided the beginning of a new year was the perfect time to try and knock a few books off that list. Warning: there may be spoilers ahead.
Here is a little bit about the novel:
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.
This novel is a great start to an interesting trilogy that I have yet to finish. It paints the picture of an intelligent landscape with a minf of its own that is growing ever closer to civilization, threatening to overtake it with the same mystery that shrowds Area X.
The twelfth expedition quickly loses sight of their original goal – the lighthouse – and instead becomes heavily involved with an undergrown tower, which is the main focal point for most of the novel. I found myself just as taken by the tower, and I was just as compelled to figure out just what strange answers it held. It appeared to hold such power over Area X and those who inhabited it, and throughout all 195 pages of the novel I couldn’t help but wonder what was at the very bottom. Sadly, the answer to that question is never revealed.
I enjoyed witnessing things develop as the twelfth expedition crumbled to pieces, and it was satisfying to get the answers to some of my questions. It kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more, which is something that I like in a novel. The concept was something that drew me in, and the execution was just as good.
If you are looking for a short read then this novel is for you. It took me less than a week to finish it, and I enjoyed every minute of this novel. Annihilation is a great start to the trilogy and I’m excited to read the other two novels,