Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Audiobook Review: Authority: Southern Reach Triolgy, Book 2

Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Jeff Vandemeer
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Unabridged, 10 hrs 35 mins
Publisher: Blackstone Audio 
Release date: 5/6/14

Publishers Summary:
The bone-chilling, hair-raising second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy.
For 30 years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X - a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the 12th expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (a.k.a. "Control") is the team's newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves - and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve.
©2014 Jeff VanderMeer (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.   

My Thoughts:  
The second installment of this trilogy was not at all what I expected.  The story is told from the prospective of John Rodriguez who has chosen to be called Control,  a nickname from his childhood. Authority was confusing and surreal and at first I found it hard to keep my attention on the story.  Control has been sent to the Southern Reach to replace the previous director who was also the psychologist in charge of the last expedition to Area X.  After listening to the story a second time I realized confusing aspect was deliberate on the part of the author.  It showed the state of mind of  Control, who didn't really seem to have any control over himself or events.  As the replacement director, he didn't seem to have any real authority at the Southern Reach either, partly due to the animosity of his assistant director, Grace.   He is working undercover to find answers about Area X and makes his reports by phone to an unknown handler that he refers to as the Voice.  There are strange clues such as a squashed mosquito on his windshield and blocks of time he has no memory of, but Control finally learns some truths about what is happening to him.  There are plenty of unexpected plot twists and an ending that I didn't expect.

The best part of Authority was Bronson Pinchot's excellent narration.  He is great at performing the different voices, especially the voices of creepy Whitby, odd Cheney and the moody biologist.   Pinchot has the ability to make a creepy scene even creepier with his tone and inflection.  While listening to the scene with Whitby and his weird art, I felt cold chills down my spine.  

I didn't like Authority quite as much as AnnihilationI give it a B  for story and A+ for narration.  Branson Pinchot is now one of my favorite narrators.  I can't wait for the final installment of the trilogy.  

Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio.