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Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy (1)) Paperback – February 4, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 2,422 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2014: There is a comfort in familiarity, a foundation from which to definitively identify and label. But Jeff VanderMeer is not interested in putting his readers at ease. With Annihilation--the first volume of The Southern Reach Trilogy--he carefully creates a yearning for answers, then boldly denies them, reminding us that being too eager to know too much can be dangerous. The story follows an expedition of four women who are known only by their professions: the Psychologist, the Surveyor, the Anthropologist, and the Biologist--nameless pawns tasked with exploring, discovering, and (hopefully) delivering data about a portentous coastal territory called Area X. We are a bit like fifth members of that team (perhaps "the Reader"), learning at the same pace, guided by the observations of our narrator, the Biologist. Still the context remains blurry as VanderMeer twists each discovery into a deeper mystery. Through potent description and unrelenting tension, he achieves a level of emotional manipulation that should appeal to anyone who embraced the paranormal phenomena and maddening uncertainties of Lost. --Robin A. Rothman

From Booklist

*Starred Review* An expedition of four women is sent into an unknown region called Area X, beyond the borders of humanity: a psychologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist, and our narrator, a biologist. The purpose of the mission is to collect data about Area X and report back to the government, the Southern Reach, but circumstances begin to change when the group discovers a tower (or tunnel) that was previously unmarked on the map. Inside the structure, strange writing scrawls across the walls, and a spiral staircase descends downward, beckoning the members to follow. Previous expeditions ended badly, with group members disappearing or returning as shells of their former selves, but little is known about what actually occurred on those trips to Area X. A gripping fantasy thriller, Annihilation is thoroughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells’ in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human. Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy. --Heather Paulson

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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
2,422 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2017
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Top international reviews

Lel
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked this book no wiser than when I started really
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 21, 2017
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Laura Hopgood
3.0 out of 5 stars Dream-like!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2018
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captain k.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 11, 2015
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J
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts strong but just fizzles outs...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 22, 2017
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Mr. S. P. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly engrossing read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2017
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Smokey Bacon Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Annihilate me!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2016
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Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, beautifully written and imagined
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2014
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Mark P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically creepy, atmospheric sci-fi
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2018
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Reviewer19
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Start to the series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2020
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Sherelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2015
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DodgilyArtful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't sure if I would like this enough to want to read the next two ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2018
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witness
3.0 out of 5 stars Roadside Picnic derivative - But still quite fun.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2016
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Chloe James
3.0 out of 5 stars Challenging and Thought-Provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2020
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Joey VanB
3.0 out of 5 stars A phenomenon of sorts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2014
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Paul McLaughlin
3.0 out of 5 stars It’s a book that I sort of enjoyed, read fairly quickly as it isn’t majorly long
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2018
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