Book Review: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Hello everyone! I’m perplexed. I’m not sure what Annihilation was. That much I know, it was fascinating, kept me reading, and it was unlike anything I had read before. It had that old time sci-fi feeling, but yet it felt like horror without the fear element. Usually, I dislike the first person narrative, but this book demanded it. The voice was well done.

As a book Annihilation is a short and quick read. It is well written, and the mystery keeps intriguing the reader despite the writer stringing you along. Unfortunately, the characters felt thin and unreal. Maybe it was the fact they had no names, or you observe them through the main character’s, the biologist’s, eyes leaving them irrelevant. Now as I think about it that was done on purpose as the biologist’s relationship to the team was superficial. That was another thing that nagged me. If someone will train them, cloth them, supply them, why was the team so unattached and hostile towards each other and so ill-prepared, and I don’t think that can be explained away with lack of knowledge what Area X is. I found the book’s backstory incoherent and not thought through, but in a way that added to the feeling of mystery.

I liked the book because it felt like I was “inside” the biologist and seeing what she saw. Not feeling though, but that was due to her personality. The ending felt like it came too quickly. Altogether the pacing was out of balance. What confused me while reading was I had seen the movie. Oh boy, they had taken liberties with the storyline and with everything, really. I liked the book better, yet, the movie fixed some weakness the book had but took the idea away at the same time. If you have seen the movie, read the book. It is worthy of your time.

When I was twelve years old, I read some sci-fi book about climate change and how it had changed a planet. There were places which had overgrown with greenery. Annihilation felt the same. I can’t remember the book’s name, but it was written either in the fifties or the seventies. The sense I got from both books was the world would be a better place without us humans. That there would be something left if we didn’t exploit our world for profit. The thought that instead of forest and nature growing they are shrinking makes me sad. It is not only dangerous for our survival but for our happiness. I get why the biologist was happier and content in Area X.

Thank you for reading!

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