AnnihilationAnnihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
on February 4th 2014
Pages: 195
ISBN: 0374104093
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I picked up this book at my local library because I saw the movie trailer and was intrigued. Knowing it was based on a book, I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie.

Four women, an Anthropologist, a Surveyor, a Psychologist, and a Biologist (the narrator) make up the 12th expedition to AREA X. They do not share their names – names aren’t necessary, their research is the most important thing these women need to focus on while in Area X. Area X is an area which has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Many expeditions have gone into the area but were their expeditions successful – the first came back basically describing a utopia, others came back not quite themselves and died soon thereafter from cancer and some committed suicide.

I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to volunteer to join in on any of these expeditions after knowing those facts; however, these women enter Area X. The Biologist’s husband was on Expedition 11 and his return was not quite so happy because he wasn’t quite himself anymore.

The women on their expedition, encounter various strange life forms, an interesting topography and learn that one of them may have secrets. I will leave it at that. This book is a very fast read. I read it in one sitting. The book has a creepy feel as I never quite knew if Area X was an alien environment, had nature “found a way” or perhaps turned on them, was this some strange evolution thing going on, etc. You get the picture. I had a lot of questions while reading this book that never quite got answered. Plus, one character seemed to have secrets and we never go to learn about them. This is the first book in the series and hopefully there will be some answers to the questions.

I went back and forth while thinking about rating this book. Do I give it a 3 or a 3.5-star rating? I did sit and read it in one sitting. It completely sucked me in. I enjoyed the writing and the story, but it also frustrated me as I had so many questions while reading it. Of course, the Author is not going to answer all my questions, that is what the next two books are for, but I still wanted just “something” more. I also appreciated how this book was a blending on genres: Science fiction, horror, mystery, etc.