‘Annihilation’ by Jeff VanderMeer

“The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you.”

At just over two-hundred pages, Annihilation squeezes a big plot into a small space, but for the most part does a good job of it. Quite creepy, unusual and weird, somewhat similar to the likes of Alien, it is enough that I eagerly await money to buy the sequels.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world, and on the twelfth expedition, four women – an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and the narrator, a biologist – travel on their mission to collect specimens and record observations. They discover an anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding, but it is the surprises they come across, and the secrets between each other, that change everything.

Aside from the few issues, such as rehearsed dialogue and a concept compressed into what should’ve been expanded on further, the positives outweigh the possibility of this becoming an abandoned novel. While the character speak like robots in the first half of the book, their too-quick mistrust of each other that crosses from wariness to outright suspicion within one chapter, and the style of writing becomes slightly confusing, the idea itself is intriguing, and led by an opening into something that runs much deeper.

The voice describes an atmosphere of surreality and chilling imagination, one scene showing a body stuck to the wall by some green goo, unusual and yet fitting in the surrounding setting and theme. The exploration is fast-paced, delving into the interesting basis of a post-apocalyptic type area which, although does have a lack of backstory, provides enough information to keep you hooked and hope that it will carry over into the next instalments.

“Silence creates its own violence.”

When characters, excluding the biologist, sometimes merge as one, the scientific nature saves it from becoming completely indistinctive; when its chapters are unnecessarily long, the deep-rooted intrigue makes up for it; when the plot loses itself at points along the way, merging into something that I viewed as supernatural, it handles that change well and secures another part of the story.

Annihilation is an unexpected but welcomed book of the science-fiction genre. Although it is not the best read, it is an enjoyable one regardless.

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2 thoughts on “‘Annihilation’ by Jeff VanderMeer

  1. Naty says:

    Hi Kat! I have tagged you on my last post in a tag/meme for spreading the word on new blogs. If you want, you can check my last post and answer the tag 🙂

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