Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Annihilation by Jeff VandermeerJeff Vandermeer is known for writing what is referred to as the New Weird. He writes weird stuff.

For some reason that description has never appealed to me so I tended to shy away from his books. However, lately I have been hearing a lot of good things about his writing and decided to give it a try.

Annihilation is like one of those nineteenth century exploration novels where a party explores a mysterious island and terrible things happen to them. Only this is a modern novel and the terrible things are based on fungi and mushrooms and hypnosis and something very very strange that is going on.

The entire book is told as the journal entries of a woman who is identified only as The Anthropologist. She is accompanied in her exploration of Area X by The Surveyor, The Biologist and The Psychologist.

They discover a buried tower and an erect lighthouse with mysteries that pile on top of mysteries. Madness and fungus inspired horror ensue.

This is the first book of a trilogy that sets up a mystery that offers intrigue and compelling reason to read the rest of the series. If the exploration of hidden mysteries and the discoveries of seemingly otherworldly locales sounds fascinating then this is the book for you. Jeff Vandermeer sprinkles mysteries around with wild abandon, all of them feeling connected and solid enough that the answer must be just one more piece away.

It isn’t. This is the first book of a trilogy but watching The Anthropologist (none of the characters are ever named) stumble through the discovery of deeper and deeper layers of mystery is fascinating and compelling.

I found myself hoping that this expedition (the twelfth) will get home alive, will discover the mystery and make it out.

This is a compelling first book in a trilogy that promises to have some fascinating conclusions.

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