Tuesday, February 25, 2014

24:120 Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The first in a new trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer.  Area X has been uninhabited and off limits for a long time with only teams of specialists being allowed in past the border for years now.  Of those eleven previous exhibitions, most have never come back and those that did were never the same.

Now the twelfth expedition is entering.  A group of four women; the psychologist (de facto leader), the anthropologist, the surveyor, and the biologist who is our narrator.  They are there to map out the territory, collect specimens, and bring back a report of what it has become.  They are expecting the unexpected but that doesn't begin to prepare them for what they find.  It starts with the tunnel (tower?) that they discover near the established base camp and the words written with some sort of living organism on the interior of it.  What is even more disturbing than the secrets Area X is hiding are the ones that they have brought with them over the border.  Will any of this expedition make it back to tell any of the secrets they learn?

My first time reading Jeff VanderMeer and all I can say is Wow!  I was blown away by this book.  I want to call it a psychological thriller but that doesn't do it justice.  It was thought provoking and anxiety inducing.  I spent much of my reading time biting my nails in suspense as to just what the heck was going on.  There was so much subtlety and nuance to almost everything that I know I will have to read it again just to try and catch half of it.  I can't wait for the  next one!  And can I just say, I love that they are bringing all three books in the trilogy out this year?!

Page count: 195p/4,811p ytd/185,804p lifetime

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