Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer


By Jeff VanderMeer

  • Release Date: 2014-02-04
  • Genre: Literary
Annihilation book review score

4 Score: 4 (From 777 Ratings)

Annihilation Jeff VanderMeer Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

The Southern Reach Trilogy begins with this Nebula Award-winning novel that "reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world" (Kim Stanley Robinson).

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent 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 expedition 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—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—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.

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User reviews about this book

  • Maybe Stop Here

    By KN4RR
    I thoroughly enjoyed Annihilation. It was dark, creepy, weird...and wonderful. I thought I was in for a treat; two whole books left...both longer than the first. Well, halfway through Authority and it’s a total snooze fest. I’ve been told Authority does pay off but so far it’s been as bland and uninteresting as What I remember going to work with my dad was when I was little was like.
  • Great

    By Dryas Iulia
    Dont listen to people that say the 2nd and 3rd books arent as good. It works as one continuous (wonderful) novel. Read them all and give them all the stars~
  • A good example of mastered creative writing.

    By Mesquitebuffalo
    A short and sweet review. This book is great. I can’t put my finger on it, the exact reason why. But I can mention two or three things about the book that I like. The Psychologist is psychedelic and diabolical. The biologist, and also our narrator, fills in the narrative with plenty of interesting information about herself; here reason as to why she became a biologist is perfect; sweet and sufficient and really very good in terms of story telling because not only is it creative and beautiful but it’s meaningful and also full of great examples of pitch perfect imagery. Actually, nearly all the imagery in the book is pitch perfect and vivid and real, not overdone or underdone. I’m jealous of the perfectness of the story telling. A good example of the creative writing craft nearly mastered. Bravo 🤓
  • Sooooo weird

    By Josie's Pop
    This is different from anything I have read recently. It’s almost too dystopian, but inventive and imaginative. If you like alternative views of the future and don’t mind bending your mind a bit, you will enjoy this.

    By Cici34256
    This was one of the worst books I’ve read in my life. It was a never ending staircase with no stairs. I kept waiting for the ‘good’ part and it never happened.
  • Surreal with a heart

    By Juderyder
    A decent into madness? An understanding beyond the unexplainable? Best advice...strap in and enjoy the ride. Let your mind travel and float, void of all you think you know. For the mind can play tricks and choosing to believe what the eyes see even if that thing is beyond comprehending is a fascinating journey.
  • Creepy

    By Alioh61
    A good story with a lot of mysteries. I definitely feel the need to read the other two books to see what Area X really is. It was a bit slow here and there, but not so bad that I came bored. I recommend it. And, it really is creepy.
  • One word...

    By Martholomeow
  • A Different Kind of Story About a Very Strange Place

    By Prairie_Dog
    "Annihilation" is a very different book, which I'm not sure I can classify. It seems like science fiction, horror, and fantasy all at the same time. It has been classified by some as an example of the "new weird" and that seems to be as good a definition as any. It also has been compared to Lovecraft, and there are certainly elements of that in the book. The story revolves around the mysterious Area X, which is actually a fictionalized version of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. This area has been changed by an undefined as yet force, which has resulted in a barrier being formed around the area. The area is returning to a natural state, but one with very unnatural elements. A shadowy government organization called The Southern Reach is in charge of this area, and has sent 11 acknowledged expeditions into it to try to discover its secrets. The members of expeditions either do not return, or return strangely changed. This is the story of the 12th expedition. The four characters of this expedition are never named, just identified by their professions. Our narrator is "The Biologist" and she is a very unreliable narrator indeed. Often her narrative has a dreamlike quality. She tells her story of the 12th expedition, and we learn more about her and Area X from her memories that are triggered by her experiences. There is a great deal of her internal dialog, but oddly enough, there is little other dialog with the other expedition members. Surprisingly, not a lot actually happens in the book as far as actual events: two areas are explored, odd things happen, disturbing discoveries are made, and everything falls apart. Our Biologist is deeply changed by her experiences. I found "Annihilation" fascinating! The idea of the strange Area X is certainly fresh and different. I'm glad this is only the first book of the trilogy, as I have many questions that I hope will be answered, but I fear that not all of them will be (and that might be good too). I'm pretty impressed with the setting and concepts, and I'm looking forward to the second novel, "Authority," in which we may learn something about The Southern Reach...
  • Ick

    By Sencilla
    This novel drags on like a whining child. It initially sucked me, because I thought something was going to happen. But no. Unless more and more whining counts for something.

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