For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border – an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.
The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.
Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Page Count: 195
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Annihilation’: 1 out of 5
I’m one of those people who wasn’t aware the book ‘Annihilation’ existed until Netflix made a film based on it. I haven’t seen the film but, assuming they wouldn’t make a film out of something boring/unenjoyable, I excitedly grabbed a copy of this from my local library.
How wrong I was.
Admittedly, it wasn’t all bad. For the first 50 or so pages I was quite intrigued. The premise of being sent out into unknown wilderness to figure out what had befallen previous expeditions to the area is an exciting one. It has all the hallmarks of a heart-pumping, ‘good god, my blood is racing so fast I can hear it in my ears’ kind of thriller.
But it wasn’t.
It was so far from that, that I found myself reading it before bed on nights I couldn’t get tired enough to sleep. After ten pages or so it would knock me out like a light. Nothing happened. And the things that the author wanted to be exciting plot points, were things that had already happened before our heroine arrived so we just got to see the aftermath and had to sit through her bland musings on what might have occurred.
I use the word bland. I feel that I am being overly generous. None of the characters had any … character. The four main characters that we start the book with are female. But they might as well have been unthinking, unfeeling robots for all the character they exuded. Literally nothing other than the fact that one of them frequently remembers her husband gave me any indication that they might have been female. It just felt so hard going. And the flashbacks happened far too often and offered far too little to the story. The book was less than two-hundred pages and a good portion of it was flashbacks.
When you remove those and factor in how little actually happens, we are left with next to no exciting story with zero interest (from me at least, other readers may have had a far more enjoyable time with this) in the characters or what they were going through.
I’m sure some of the ‘revelations’ that we spy throughout Annihilation will come back to have some meaning in the next two books, but I’ll not be sticking around to find out as I just feel there is not enough pay-off for me to invest any more time in this.
It’s so very rarely that I give a one star score out, but I genuinely fell out of love with reading for a short while due to this book.
I didn’t pay for Annihilation but I feel cheated all the same, as I expected so much more from such a good concept. That is, perhaps, more my fault than the author’s, in all fairness.