Like you, I thought the movie trailer for Annihilation looked very cool, so I thought I’d check out the source material.
When the novel of the same name arrived at my local library, the volume’s slimness surprised me. At only 195 pages, I knew it would prove a quick read.
Of course, it may be helpful to know this is only the first of a three-book series. All three collected volumes are known as Southern Reach Trilogy. The three installments appear to have been published within months of one another, so that could explain the page count.
Whatever the case may be, I have to admit that Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer immediately felt like a bad fit for me. The prose in this book is … dense. It’s full of description largely pertaining to foliage and biology. Also, a first-person narrator delivers the story to us. I don’t know if it’s Vandermeer’s style or the style of his narrator, but I found the prose clunky and difficult to follow. To me, the sentences did not flow very smoothly which forced me to read and reread in a way that frustrated.
When Vandermeer’s characters spoke, this issue largely disappeared. The dialogue flowed freely and felt natural.
The plot itself interested me enough, but things moved rather slowly. In my opinion, there is no real “revelation” that makes the book a worthwhile, satisfying experience. Perhaps the other two books provide this experience. I’m not sure I’m inclined to read them, though.
The good news is that, as I said, this is a very slim book and so you can easily read it in a day or two and prove me wrong. I have been wrong about books before. I’ve even reread a few books to find that my opinion of them changed completely.
I still plan to see the movie, but, if I’m being honest, not much that I’ve seen in the trailers evokes much from what I read in the book.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)