Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 2

eBook - 2014
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The much anticipated second installment in VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. In Annihilation , Jeff VanderMeer introduced the mysteries of Area X--a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. It was the first volume of a projected trilogy; well in advance of publication, translation rights had sold all around the world and a major movie deal had been struck. Just months later, the second volume is here. For thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X has taken the form of a series of expeditions monitored by a secret agency called the Southern Reach. After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation , the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (aka "Control") is the team's newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and 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. And the consequences will reach much farther than that. The Southern Reach trilogy will conclude in fall 2014 with Acceptance .
Publisher: 2014
ISBN: 9781443428422
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Sep 28, 2020

I came to Jeff Vandermeer through his novel Borne. As such, I don't have a problem with this book as many people coming from Annihilation do. Yes, I've read Annihilation. All three of these books showcase Vandermeer's strengths in a similar way. I don't understand why people think this is more slow than Annihilation. They're both slow. They both focus on disturbing or psychologically important details in the environment at times, in a poetic way. The style in this series reminds me of books from an earlier era--like Poe, or Kafka. At any rate, I'm not tired of it yet. This book also reminded me a tiny bit of Firestarter or Stephen King in general. It definitely skews towards horror a bit, to good effect. Don't be afraid to pick this up if you like Vandermeer's work.

Jul 17, 2019

Certainly the weakest in the Southern Reach trilogy, but an important part of the series as a whole. Slower in pace than the first book, Authority focuses more on developing characters and providing context for the series.

Jun 27, 2019


colin151 Jun 12, 2019

Goes a different direction than the first book, but gives a solid description of the goings on behind the scenes of the Southern Reach. It starts to answer some of the questions around the quarantine zone and its possible purpose. Really interested to see how it all plays out in the final book!

sheepsheets Jan 28, 2019

I found this book more difficult to get into than the first, Annihilation, but pushed through as I want to finish the trilogy. Ultimately I'm glad I did. It has a very slow pace for a good chunk of the book and some of the elements seem confusing as to how they fit in/are relevant, but I suppose it's all just the style of storytelling. Although still not quite as compelling as Annihilation, it does get more interesting as you read further, so don't give up on it! I'm looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up with Acceptance.

Oct 17, 2018

No spoilers.
I was interested in this trilogy from the movie. The first book, Annihilation, was a well written story that provided more detail than the film. The second book, however, is written in such an odd, monotone way, that I honestly found it a chore to read. There was lots of added detail and internal monologue that didn't end up going anywhere, leaving more questions in my mind about what the Southern Reach is all about.

I'm picking up the third book just to mentally wrap up the series, but for me, the film did the Southern Reach trilogy justice by making sense of the written sci-fi-ness and presenting it in a realistic, believable, two-hour compact script.

Aug 13, 2018

This second book of the trilogy has a different setting as the protagonists are in Southern Reach on the border with Area X. Though still somewhat surreal there is a little more logic and we get a better idea of what is going on. Would of preferred this as the first book and Annihilation as the second even with a non linear story. Worth it if you are interested and can start the trilogy here or with Annihilation.

Jul 19, 2018


Some surprises in this second of three books about the Southern Reach government project and its focus: the mysterious Area X.

1. A brand new central character. In fact, a whole HOST of new characters, mostly Southern Reach staff people, as seemingly enigmatic as the previous novel's expedition members.

2. A change of focus, too. It's not Area X that's the focus, as it was in the first book: it's the Southern Reach organization itself.

3. The last 50 pages. Forewarned: Not at all what you expect. You'll RACE through these pages.

There IS, by now, some more of what we've come to expect given the first novel: more internal angst and anguish. Not, this time, so much about Area X and doomed expedition characters, but about the central character, whose title--Ironically--Is "Control." Of course, there IS no control.

It's a somewhat easier book for modern (20th and 21st century) readers to enjoy than the first book. Still, for some it'll be agonizingly slow.

Good enough--compelling enough at the finale--to reach for volume three...

Jul 13, 2018

Excellent continuation of the Southern Reach trilogy. Takes a completely different direction than Annihilation which threw me for a bit of a loop. Could hardly put this book down and look forward to reading Acceptance when I get the chance.

Jul 13, 2018

The first book Annihilation was intriguing but this sequel, set almost entirely at the facility just outside Area X, is mildly-paranoid Orwellian monotony. We do learn a few more backstory details, but nothing much happens and almost all the characters are emotionally-stunted and/or slightly unhinged. Perhaps it is setting things up for the 3rd book instead of just filler extending two books into a trilogy.

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