This book was my first taste of Jeff Vandermeer’s work. I loved it. It’s the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. It’s by far my favorite of the three. The other two were a little crazy for me, and that’s saying something! This book just pulled me in and made me want to know the whole story.
Annihilation centers around Area X, which is a place separated from the rest of the world after an incident a few years ago. Every year (we’re told), new expeditions are sent into Area X to perform research and figure out its mysteries. The latest expedition is labeled 12, and it consists of four women from different backgrounds, who aren’t allowed to know much about each other.
The women have to explore a lighthouse, and a tower/tunnel that goes down into the ground, and isn’t on their map. Pretty early on, the biologist discovers that the psychologist is playing mind games on the four women. Somehow the biologist is immune to the hypnosis and suggestion from the psychologist.
This book is basically a love letter to Area X. You wander around this unknown zone, figuring out mysteries, or creating more with the expeditioners. Throughout the exploration, the horror and sense of dread deepens. There’s a creature that “writes” on the walls of the tower, and maybe kills people too. You will have questions when you’re done with this book. I’d still recommend it though. It sucked me in right from the beginning, and I had a hard time putting it down.