You may remember that I read the first book of the Southern Reach Trilogy, called Annihilation, in anticipation of the movie. You may also remember that I wasn’t crazy about it. However, I eventually saw the movie and loved it.
So even though I didn’t like the first book, the general premise and the movie itself tempted me to give the second literary installment a try.
I recently finished Authority, the sequel to Annihilation, and it left me rather apathetic. The author, Jeff Vandermeer, elected to change course from the first book and focus instead on the Southern Reach facility, the entity responsible for sending the team into Area X from the first book. Our main character is no longer the biologist who narrated Annihilation. Instead, Vandermeer is using a third-person narrator with the story squarely settled on “Control,” the new head of Southern Reach. Control (John Rodriquez) moves throughout the book utterly confused. Like the reader, he has no idea what is going on in Area X, nor does he understand the full scope and history of Southern Reach.
In the beginning of the book, I accepted Control’s chaotic immersion into Southern Reach. I assumed that he would soon solve some of the enigmatic entity’s mysteries. Instead, Vandermeer chose to pile even more mystery upon both Control and the reader. Though some revelations arrive, both Control and the audience are left feeling even less informed than they did before!
I basically plodded through most of this book. The ending intensified, but for the most part, I never fully invested in neither the story nor Control.
However, I’ve come this far, so guess what I’m reading now? Yes, Acceptance, the third part of the Southern Reach Trilogy. Like Control, I seemingly have to know Area X and Southern Reach’s secrets, no matter what level of discomfort occurs during the process of discovery.
I have a feeling, though, that the third book will ultimately disclose nothing. That appears to be the pattern. I’ll let you know.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)