Eleven secret government expeditions and few have returned unscathed--the first book in VanderMeer's exciting new Southern Reach Trilogy and soon to be a major motion picture.
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization, and the government is involved in sending secret missions to explore Area X. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
Annihilation opens with the twelfth expedition. The group is composed of four women, including our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all of their observations, scientific and otherwise; and, above all, to avoid succumbing to the unpredictable effects of Area X itself.
What they discover shocks them: first, a massive topographic anomaly that does not appear on any map; and second, life forms beyond anything they're equipped to understand. But it's the surprises that came across the border with them that change everything--the secrets of the expedition members themselves, including our narrator. What do they really know about Area X--and each other?
3/5 stars (liked it)
We never learn anyone's name. They are simply referred to as the Biologist, the Psychologist and so on. The Biologist's husband was on the eleventh expedition and he died of cancer. We learn through flashbacks on what her relationship was like with him and how he was when he came back. This book was very interesting and kept me reading. Although at the end I wasn't sure if all the Biologist had seen and heard was real or if she was somehow hallucinating the entire thing. I will read the next book in the trilogy.