Once again, I have turned to Twitter to help me make a decision and once again the result was a tie (Why do you keep doing this to me?). So, I have made the decision to review the first book, Annihilation, of the Southern Reach trilogy and that I will do another post for the movie and the remaining books. I still haven’t watched it yet, just because I have heard that there are some parts of the other books in it, even if it is supposed to only be about the first one and I don’t want to be spoiled. But for those of you who wanted a big post about everything concerning this series, you will still get it when I am done reading and watching.
I went into this book with fairly low expectations, which probably helped me incredibly in getting completely sucked into the world. I can see how the writing might not be for everyone, as it is very factual and without many embellishments. I would even go so far as to call it cold and distant, but considering the setting we were in, I kind of appreciated that scientific detachment. In a way, it added a layer of realism to it more than a flowery language ever could.
You never find out the names of any of the people involved, our MC is simply called the biologist. She wants you to think that she is objective when she details what happened in Area X, but it is very clear that she had an agenda of her own when she got there. Some part of me never quite liked the biologist, but at the same time I could relate to her on so many levels. I understood her need for solitude and I share the same ability of completely getting lost in my work. And I might not be identical to her when it comes to friends and family, but I still sort of got her behaviour.
Despite everything this book is, I didn’t expect to also find a heartbreaking love story in it, but all the bits about the biologist and her husband gave me exactly that. I am not saying those parts were my favourite … but they kind of were. It was so much about letting people in, knowing them in ways no one else does and about how everyone needs something different from a relationship.
“I loved him, but I didn’t need him, and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.”
Should you ever pick up this book, I hope you don’t expect to find answers in it. It is an enigma until the very end. It probably leaves you with more questions than you started out, but there is beauty in its mystery. I am very much looking forward to what the next books have in store for me, but I also have a feeling that we, as the readers, will never get that full picture of everything. Still, it is so very imaginative and chilling! I know I probably should have been scared (seen as this is a sort of Horror SciFi book? And I hate horror?) but I was weirdly fascinated instead. I am also very curious to see how that all translated to the screen, even though I already know that they changed quite a bit (and made it look scarier from what I could tell from the trailer).
Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A promising start to the trilogy.
Did you read the book? Did you watch the movie? Let’s talk!