Friday, February 28, 2014

Audiobook Review: Annihilation: Southern Reach Triolgy, Book 1

Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Jeff Vandemeer
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick
Unabridged, 6 hrs.
Publisher: Blackstone Audio 
Release date: 2/4/14

Publishers Summary:
If J. J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel…it might be this awesome.
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 a biologist, who is our narrator. 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 change everything.
©2014 Jeff VanderMeer (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.   

My Thoughts:
Annihilation is just way too short so I'm glad it's the first in a trilogyIt's intense and riveting and left me with many questions. I wanted more and hoped I had only downloaded part of it.  I checked and rechecked but, alas, I'll have to wait for the second installmentSo, I listened to it again.  It seemed to me that the group of women were already annihilated before they began the mission.  They were stripped of their names and identified only by their respective skill set.  And they knew there was a good chance they would not come back from the mission.  The story is told from the viewpoint of the biologist.  Even in the beginning, her viewpoint is different from the others.  What the others describe as a tunnel, the biologist sees it as a tower.  She is changed even further by the accidental ingestion of spores from the creeping fungi (which is writing words on the wall).  The biologist's reason for joining the expedition is also different; her husband was a part of the previous expedition.  

Carolyn McCormick delivers the biologist's detached observations of people and vivid descriptions of Area X with perfection.  McCormick has been a favorite of mine since I enjoyed her performance in The Hunger Games.  There are plans to make The Southern Reach Trilogy into a movie (read about it here) but I want to hear Carolyn McCormick read the next two installments to me before I see the movie.  

I highly recommend Annihilation to anyone who enjoys dystopian science fiction.  I give it an A+ for story and narration.

Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio.


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