With the release of Annihilation on Netflix today, now is the perfect time to catch up with the book that starts Jeff VanderMeer's unsettling Southern Reach trilogy. We've five persuasive reviews below to tempt you into Area X.
Four unnamed women enter the 'pristine wilderness', Area X. They are referred to only as the biologist, anthropologist, surveyor and psychologist, and together they form the 12th expedition to explore what lies beyond the border. What they discover is haunting, confusing and utterly life changing. I inhaled this book, staying up late into the night, only putting it down when all was said and done. The secrets of Area X drew me in and I can't wait to see it visualised on screen.
Jenny, Design Team
A dark exploration of human nature, ambition and the secrets and fears we all try to hide. While exploring Area X, a familiar yet utterly alien environment, the unreliable protagonist of this tale questions what it means to be human, and the motives and sanity of both herself and her companions, as she moves towards her inevitable destiny. VanderMeer imagines an environment that engulfs both characters and reader in this sparse yet utterly gripping masterpiece of modern science fiction.
Adrian, Stock Team
This book is by far one of the best ones I've read this year. Soon to be released as a film, this book offers a dystopian vision of a world divided between Area X (a pristine wilderness) and a slightly foggier version of the world as we know it. Told as a series of journal entries by an unnamed biologist, the book charts her journey into Area X, and the mysterious tower that lies at it's centre. Annihilation is a fascinating, addictive book which keeps you guessing until the very end.
Becky, Design Team
A rich yet spartan account of a troubled expedition into a clandestine wilderness known as 'Area X', narrated by an anonymous 'Biologist' who spins an eerie tale of mystery, mutation and madness. Seemingly influenced in equal measure by the Strugatsky brothers' seminal 'Roadside Picnic' and the weird fiction of Lovecraft and his ilk, VanderMeer carves out an uncanny experience, throwing the reader in at the deep end with scant backstory and then employing insinuation, speculation and half-glimpsed horror to build a sense of dread and allowing one's imagination to fill in the gaps, some of which are plugged in the succeeding books of the Southern Reach trilogy, Authority and Acceptance.
Mark, Despatch Team
Area X: a place all but empty, a warped shade upon the earth, where only the foolishly inquisitive would dare to venture. Full of questions, four women enter Area X hoping to find the truth of what lies within this desolate sphere and hoping that they will return. A world full of malice and dread, brought to life by a fevered imagination that conjures a world both unsettling and captivating.
Matt, Web Team