Synopsis: 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.
“There are certain kinds of deaths that one should not be expected to re-live, certain kinds of connections that are so deep that when broken you feel the snap of the link inside you.”
I’ve found myself reading more new releases than ever before, especially over the last year. Which is rad! I love being a part of the buzz for an author & their new book. I appreciate all of the advanced copies publishers send me. I’m actually overwhelmed with them these days & have been turning many down. It’s a wonderful problem to have, don’t get me wrong! But that means that I’ve been neglecting the piles (& piles & piles &&& OMFG SO MANY PILES) of older books that I’ve been wanting to get to for ages. The Southern Reach trilogy, for example.
Annihilation is.. well.. uh. Fuck. It’s.. what *is* it exactly? ::gazes off into the distance:: I’m still not entirely sure. I guess in the most simplest of terms, it’s a plant-based horror novel. Yeah. For real!
This focuses on a team of four women (a biologist, psychologist, anthropologist & surveyor) whose names are never revealed & are instead only ever referred to by their titles. These researchers are tasked with venturing into Area X, a mysterious bio-dome that has appeared on the coast of Florida. Something is happening in Area X that cannot be explained. Within the barrier, nature is increasingly dangerous & strange. This area is quarantined by a shady government agency called the Southern Reach.
The four researchers are part of the 12th expedition inside Area X. Which suggests that none of the other expeditions were successful.
I mean.. what could go wrong, right?
Turns out, lots!
Annihilation was weird & wonderful & subtly disturbing. It had me shaking my head more than a few times, questioning what the fuck I was actually reading. I bloody adore strange books & this is most definitely that!
It’s a thought-provoking story with a delicious creeping dread that I really dug!
“Some questions will ruin you if you are denied the answer long enough.”