Annex – Rich Larson

Synopsis: At first it is a nightmare. When the invaders arrive, the world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed.

Then it is a dream. With no adults left to run things, Violet and the others who have escaped capture are truly free for the first time. They can do whatever they want to do. They can be whoever they want to be.

But the invaders won’t leave them alone for long…

This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of two young outsiders who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over her city.

“Violet was heading to Safeway to pick up some groceries, walking down a silent street under a cloudy gray sky. Gray as the day the ship came down, scorching the city with the electric blue pulses Wyatt said were exhaust from its engines. There’d been no sun since. Just gray, a hazy emulsion that looked close to rain but never gave it up. Violet didn’t mind the new weather. Sun burned her and rain made everything too wet.”

Annex is like Peter Pan amidst the aftermath of an alien invasion!

Aliens aboard a massive spacecraft appeared above the city depicted in Annex. It was then taken over. We don’t learn much of the actual invasion, instead we are thrown into the ongoing story of the after-effects. We find out that the aliens attach neck clamps to the adults, which turns them into virtual zombies that they call wasters. Meanwhile, kids were taken & kept in warehouses, where they are implanted by parasites.

Because the adults aren’t around, the kids are left to fend for themselves. They decide that they must try to confront the aliens & save the world from these horrific creatures.

The main characters are Violet, a transgender girl who is part of a group of kids who have escaped (called the Lost Boys & currently living in a theater that they refer to as Neverland) & Bo, a young Nigerian boy who is trying to find his sister.

Representation in fictional stories MATTER. As a bisexual reader, I hope that one day there will be so many of these stories that we don’t have to continuously address it. That it isn’t such a huge fucking shock that a writer.. you know.. is actually writing characters that a wide range of us can relate to. We’re not all white, middle class straight dudes reading SFF. Books have always been an escape for me. They were my protection growing up, in many ways. These stories are life-changing for people. We need more of that. Saturate the market with tales that are diverse as fuck! THE TIME IS NOW!

I believe this is marketed as an adult science fiction novel, but it verged on the older end of YA for me. It’s just my personal taste, but I don’t read much YA. I can’t say whether that impacted certain instances in the book for me or not, but it was quite noticeable at times. Still.. I would never turn anyone away from reading this, even if they aren’t fans of YA. This is really fucking good, no matter your age!

There was this magical quality to the world-building, reminding me of some of the greats – Gaiman, Miéville, Ghibli. There were othermothers, whirlybirds, wormy walls, whale-things.. just so fucking gloriously imagined!

Annex is a pretty remarkable debut, but not quite a perfect one. I’m excited to see what the sequel has in store for us! I think Rich Larson is an immensely talented writer & we will be seeing even better things from him in the future.


(Thank you Orbit Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!)

6 thoughts on “Annex – Rich Larson

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