Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance, by Jeff VanderMeer, is a fantasy/science fiction trilogy, and a mystery. They were published as a single-edition hardcover a little over a year ago.
What do I think of the trilogy? That’s a good question. It doesn’t answer all of the (many) questions it poses along the way. It’s intriguing, it’s well-written, it’s creative, it’s out there…
I most appreciated the novel’s characters–I cared about finding out what happened to them or why they were passionate about the mystery of Area X. Area X is described on Amazon.com as “a remote and lush terrain-has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades.” Some people go in and never come back. Some come back changed. Some change form?!
Annihilation (Book 1) was captivating. A group of women are on an expedition in the mysterious Area X–they don’t have real names, but are called “the biologist” or “the psychologist.” There have been 11 expeditions before them, practically all of which have ended in disaster.
Authority (Book 2) is about the aftermath of the expedition and we learn about the Southern Reach (which is like a secretive government research organization created to study and/or solve the mystery of Area X) and the people who work there.
Acceptance (Book 3) is about the characters we’ve met in the first books and the last effort to solve the mysteries of Area X. This book felt long to me. And I was so anticipating getting my questions answered. It did keep my interest, especially following the various characters, who I found to be so interesting. I kept expecting to turn the page and discover the mystery behind Area X. But the end wasn’t satisfying–if you like clear cut endings and resolution when you read a book–this is not for you.
I definitely didn’t understand everything implied by the author about Area X–there are theories presented as you read, about certain characters and about Area X’s origin and what’s happening there. Is Area X alive? If so, what’s it’s power or life source? It is good or evil? Yada yada yada.
I will say again, if you like clear cut endings and resolution when you read a book…this is not for you. It was an interesting, well-written read, with great characters though.