Friday, 10 October 2014

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I was very lucky to win a copy of all the books in The Southern Reach Trilogy. Jeff VanderMeer is not an author I have come across before and there was a bit of a buzz about these stories, so I entered a Twitter competition and won! 

I put off reading them for a time as other books were grabbing my attention but recently decided to start them, not really knowing what to expect. Well, from the moment I started I was hooked. Hooked is probably an understatement actually! 

For a number of years, an abundance of wilderness where a supposed environmental disaster occurred known as Area X has been monitored by a secret agency known as the Southern Reach. 

What lies over the border of Area X is mostly unknown and of eleven expeditions that have been sent in to investigate, not everyone comes back alive. Those that do return are never the same again. 

Annihilation is the first in the trilogy, and is the story of the twelfth expedition. It is the journal of a nameless biologist; one of four brave, intelligent souls who have volunteered to enter Area X to hopefully bring back intel of the mysterious Area X. The more the team uncovers about the fated area, the more dangers they face, from each other and from the unknown. 

Told in the form of the biologist’s journal, it’s a brilliant combination of reading a personal diary crossed with secret government documents. The story slowly builds and you experience Area X as the expedition party does. You are exposed to half truths as they are and more mysteries present themselves, than questions are answered...I loved it! 

At times it was genuinely chilling and so cleverly described I even had gasp-out-loud moments! I devoured this in one night, I literally couldn’t out it down, I had to see it through to the end, almost as if the elusive Area X might cease to exist if I didn’t! It’s quite hard to pinpoint a genre for this book; sci-fi, horror, mystery, thriller or all of the above. 

Please read the book and let me know your thoughts. This was like nothing I have ever read before and I feel excited and privileged to already have books 2 and 3 ready to read. Ridiculously compelling and hugely original, The Southern Reach Trilogy is something to be very excited about!

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