Author: Jeff Vandermeer
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Southern Reach, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Jeff Vandermeer is an absolute titan in the science fiction genre, but before the Natalie Portman film inspired by this book, I hadn’t read any of his work. And honestly, I wish I’d discovered it long before now. Annihilation, the first book in a trilogy, tells the story of the nameless narrator: a biologist whose curiosity about Area X leads her to discover that literally, nothing is as it seems, and her companions: a surveyor, anthropologist, and psychologist, respectively, all have something to hide, perhaps something deadly. But the island itself holds terrible secrets, and the biologist must decide whether they should stay buried, or if she should force them out into the light. But her need for answers may be too great for her to survive.
This book was, in a word, unique. I haven’t encountered anything like it, to be honest, and it was great! The narrator was nameless, but not dull or bland, and the way that she describes Area X (and what drove her to it in the first place) was like sparks on the page. At times, it was hard to picture what was going on, because so much of the narrative relied on inference and implication, and it took some time for me to get used to it. Nonetheless, I loved this book; it was giving me distinct Princess Mononoke and Alien vibes. Strange, to be certain, but not in a bad way! Also, confession: I haven’t actually seen the Natalie Portman film, and I don’t want to; the book was enough of a crazy experience that I don’t want it to get muddled in any way. I also enjoyed the general feel of the novel: claustrophobic, forbidding, mysterious and frightening. I’m so happy that this is the first in a trilogy; I really want to know what happens next! With twists and secrets galore, I adored Annihilation, especially when I think about all of the different characters, their motives, and what is really wrong with Area X. And that ending! Authority cannot come soon enough! I can’t even put the exact plot into terms; it would be too hard. I’m just excited; I feel like I’ve found a brand-new, inspiring and stimulating author whose impact I will never forget! The bottom line: Strange, thought-provoking, and scary, I loved Annihilation, and I can’t wait to read the next two books in The Southern Reach series! Next on deck: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams!