I did it! I finally finished this series!
That’s not very eloquent.
You’ll remember that I enjoyed the movie Annihilation, so I read the source material of the same name and found myself … less impressed. I let a bit of time pass by and then gave the second book–Authority–a chance. It also failed to win me over.
So you may be wondering why I bothered to read the third book called Acceptance. I’d like to say I’m a completest, but, if I’m being honest, I just wanted some kind of answers regarding Area X and the Southern Reach.
I’ve got some good news–Acceptance proved more enjoyable than its predecessors.
Everything about Acceptance was superior to the first two installments. I particularly found the narrative style effective. VanderMeer elects to alternate chapters between Ghost Bird, the Director, the Lighthouse Keeper, and Control. By doing this, we are given access to the thoughts of characters we, other than Control, haven’t really before experienced. The fact that we were just as ignorant as the characters in the first two books regarding the events plaguing them frustrated me to no end. With Acceptance, we finally experience revelation … sort of. More on that in a moment.
Now, I’m the first to admit that the main reason I liked Acceptance is because it finally gave me some insight into Ghost Bird, Area X, Southern Reach, the Lighthouse Keeper, and the Director. Trudging through the first two books should not be a prerequisite to liking the third, however, and I realize this position is a little contradictory. By the way, the irony of the third book’s title did not escape me.
But, the truth is the truth. If you read Annihilation and Authority, I guarantee you’ll find Acceptance worth your while. Be prepared, though. While it revealed enough to satisfy me, you won’t get much in the way of hard and fast answers. VanderMeer sets the stage well enough to let your own imagination fill in the gaps, but there is no concrete conclusion to The Southern Reach Trilogy.
I fully accept that.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)