Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer Cover

Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats.


Plot

There is a piece of land called Area X in which strange things happen. Cut off from the rest of the world, it is a natural paradise. A group called the Southern Reach keeps watch over the area, sending in expedition after expedition. The few who come back from these expeditions are changed.

This is the story of the twelfth expedition, told by a nameless biologist and what they find in Area X.

Review

This was a strange little book. On the positive site, there was the mystery of Area X and what was at the heart of the tunnel that kept me reading. And, I have to admit, it is very creepy at times. I give the book that.

However, and there is a big however, the whole book was terribly fuzzy and vague. It’s like there is a hazy curtain thrown over the whole book, everything remains remote. Area X, but especially the characters.

There were four of us: a biologist, an anthropologist, a surveyor, and a psychologist. I was the biologist. All of us were women this time, chosen as part of the complex set of variables that governed sending the expeditio


I had no connection whatsoever to any of the characters. They don’t even get names. Not only are they nameless, they also feel nameless: bland and emotionless. I just didn’t care about them much. They were utterly forgettable.

I would tell you the names of the other three, if it mattered, but only the surveyor would last more than the next day or two.

Also, the vagueness makes the book utterly confusing at times. There were many descriptions that felt like they just tried too hard to be … highbrow, I guess. But they were just confusing.

Not a wall of light – gold, blue, green, existing in some other spectrum – but a wall of flesh that resembled light, with sharp, curving elements within it and textures like ice when it has frozen from flowing water. An impression of living things lazily floating in the air around it like soft tadpoles, but at the limits of my vision, so I could not tell if this was akin to those floating dark motes that are tricks of the eye, that do not exist.


Conclusion

An interesting premise, but the writing is confusing, the characters bland and the story vague.

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