Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer | Sci-Fi Book Review

✨Second time was not the charm, a mini-book review ✨

I first tried reading Annihilation, the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, about 4 years ago. At that time, I was very much still in my “trying to figure out my bookish wheelhouse, just picking up anything I recognize from Barnes and Noble and a bunch of YA” phase. You know, that phase. I got a couple chapters in before deciding this was simply too weird and promptly returning it to the library.

Cut to 2020 me. I know what kind of reader I am, and I’ve read some ~weird~ stuff. If I can read The City and the City by China Mieville, about two parallel worlds that coexist in the same space but the residents have to pretend they don’t catch glimpses of the other world… etc etc, I thought for sure this weird little book about an expedition into an unexplained Area X zone would be right up my alley.

(Reader, I was mistaken.)

On paper, this story works for me. It’s just the execution that kept me at a distance from everyone involved and everything going on. I can get on board with a clinical sounding report of this story, if the intrigue is there to pull me in. But I just couldn’t make myself care about this world for longer than a 5 minute section.

So this comes down to, “I see what you’re doing, I just don’t care to follow along to find out if I’m right.” I know I would look back at this first book with more appreciation if I binged the whole series. But I honestly can’t be bothered to put off great books I’m actually excited about to try.

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff Vandermeer
Read on audio with narrator Carolyn McCormick
One-sentence synopsis: A group of explorers set out into Area X, to find out the mysteries of the dangerous fringe of civilization

What’s a book that should have worked for you – all the elements were there – that you just didn’t like?

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