Annihilation (The Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer




“That’s how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.”

People have been kind of going crazy for this Southern Reach trilogy, haven’t they? Or at least it seemed that way, and I admit the pretty cover had me curious, but then I heard other bloggers and Book Riot people talking it up, and it was only $2.99 on the Kindle, and I finally gave it a go.

So. Annihilation. A group of specialists are recruited for the 12th expedition to Area X – not much detail is given about Area X, except that it has been cut off from society for a loooooong time. Multiple expeditions have been sent in, with conflicting results – some expeditions reported a perfect wilderness, some expeditions ended in mass suiciude, some ended in the complete disappearance of the members sent. Our narrator is the biologist in the 12th expedition, and she is accompanied by a psychologist, surveyor, and anthropologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, take detailed notes, and stay out of danger. We never learn their names. They go into Area X not quite knowing what to expect, but finding a massive structure never previously noted in the journals of past expeditions was a shock. Also surprising is the strange, impossible organism that seems to be growing inside of it.

Annihilation was a short read (I believe it’s a little more than 200 pages in print form), and an interesting one. At first, the number of mysteries and unanswered questions was a little frustrating, but as the book progresses I was more interested in just finding out WHY. The biologist is an odd narrator – she’s a woman I can kind of sympathize with, but she’s also an unreliable narrator, which makes for an fun dynamic. There’s a fun literary element to one of the surprises in the book, that I only mention because I know fellow book bloggers enjoy books that are about books and writing. While reading, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a series that I want to continue on with, but by the end I had already created BookSliced alerts for the next two books. The second book, Authority, apparently takes places in the government office that manages these Area X expeditions, and I REALLY want to get that side of it.

So yeah, worth the try. I’m hoping the next two books are equally good, and I’m sure I’ll fly through them.


Sarah Says: 3.5 stars



  1. Not even 200 pages! Just checked my print copy (which I bought after hearing nothing but AMAZING things from BookRiot!) and it’s a whopping 195 pages.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one – hopefully I’ll get around to it soon. It seems like it’s definitely a lazy afternoon/one-sitting kind of book that I can knock out in no time.


  2. Never heard of this one, but I’m so INTRIGUED because you locked away all the spoilers and all I want to know is what the deal is with Area X! Thanks for reviewing; I’ll have to check this one out!


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