Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer


Why do I feel like I’ve fallen behind on both reading and writing my book reviews? Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer is the first in The Southern Reach trilogy. This was another Book Club pick. They also made a movie out of this book with Natalie Portman that looks really good!

I’m still hesitant to vote for books from a series for book club. Having a book habit is stupid expensive, and I don’t live as close to a 2nd & Charles as I used to. Maybe it’s time to get a grown up library card. Anyway, from what I’ve heard (and I can attest to that now), Annihilation is fairly standalone within the series.


Initial Thoughts

I feel like Annihilation started off pretty weak. I’m not sure if I was just out of it when I started reading the book, but I was missing the WHY. In summation, there are expeditions which travel to a particular portion of the US. There was some sort of border that cut this portion of the country off from the rest of the country. The point of the expeditions is to explore it.

That’s really all you get about the WHY of what’s going on. This particular expedition is composed of four women. During these expeditions, no one refers to each other by name. You don’t even learn the other people’s names. You simply refer to each other by your respective occupation: “biologist”, “psychologist”, or “surveyor”. It’s kind of odd.

Honest Opinions

I actually liked this book! I realize it may seem like I didn’t, but it ended up being good. It was engaging and kept you guessing until the end. In fact, I think I’m still guessing a bit. However, I didn’t love it enough to proceed with the next two books. Annihilation did well at being a standalone book, unlike A Gathering of Shadows earlier this year! If someone asked me for a sci-fi novel recommendation, this would absolutely be on the list.

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