Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Novel Rating 4/5 ⭐
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that changes everything.
Annihilation was far different from any book that I have ever read, seriously. To start out, you off the bat are not introduced to the main character, not even during the whole expedition do you learn her name. Which is very strange, I’ve never experienced that before but it added to the feeling of something ominous going on. You not only don’t know the name of the main character but you also don’t know the names of the other characters, in the book, the reasoning behind this was stated that it stripped the members of the expedition of personality and allowed a sense of calm and order for the expedition while they were in Area X. The whole novel had a mysterious and sinister cloud around it, which basically sums up Area X in a nutshell.
I really loved that the way Jeff Vandermeer wrote Annihilation, I don’t know if it was intended but it was written kind of like Catcher in the Rye where everything was mostly internal. There was more of a point in character rather than a whole plot in itself because you see the main character go through a change psychologically throughout her whole expedition in Area X.
This novel was so thrilling and the descriptions made for a really creepy spine-tingling experience and it just blew me away.
Annihilation movie rating 5/5 ⭐
The movie was beyond fantastic! It really was a mind-blowing experience, I felt so confused and elated when it was over but obviously in a good way. I’m really looking forward to watching the thrill all over again.
Obviously, the book and movie were different but they were so completely different that the only shred of similarity in both of them would be the Lighthouse.
I really didn’t mind the difference in the two, it really made for separate experiences! If I had to pick between the two though, I would totally pick the movie, yeah woah, I said that.
My favorite part of the movie would be the ‘bear’ which I honestly thought was a wolf at the first glance but besides that, the bear was so spine-chilling and if you’ve seen it you’ll understand the part of it I’m referring to. Also, the part with the structures shaped as humans was just a really great image to experience, like the cinematography was absolutely divine!
Authority by Jeff Vandermeer
Novel Rating 2/5 ⭐
After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X–a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization–has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.
John Rodríguez (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery, he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.
Book two was really hard to get through and to be completely honest, I stopped reading fully on page 135 after that, I started skimming. The most interesting scenes of this whole novel would be the ones where Control is interrogating Ghost Bird which is the main character from Annihilation and yes, we still don’t know her full name at all, it was not revealed to us. The other scene would be the one where Control finds a secret space in the ceiling where apparently Whitby has been living, something really creepy happens in the scene, it made me have goosebumps. Then I skimmed a bit more towards the end, where Control guessed the place Ghost Bird would show up, it was the last chapter and Control confronts her and then it ends on a cliffhanger!
Authority was so underwhelmingly written. It became office politics more than discovering mysteries, though we do learn a few it’s very much anticlimactic. The author could have cut out probably 100 to 200 pages and it would have been so much better and less boring.
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