Book Review: Annihilation

Yay! Book Review! Who else is excited? I hope i am not the only one, but even if that is the case, i am more then excited for more then one person so yay! (Lets just yay a few more times, shall we? No lets not do that that more then enough)

So lets get a bit more serious here now. 

First of all i did not plan to read this book in October, to be honest i did not even know about this book when i posted one of my very few posts in October, which was my "To-be-read-in-October" Book pile. Amazon? A very tricky and mean side that I just can not withstand in any way or form. I was just looking around, i wanted to get a bit of a head-start with my Christmas shopping and just kicking along and all of a sudden there it was: Annihilation, the cover, the book itself, everything... something just screamed to me: READ ME! READ ME NOW!

Well so i bought it after reading the Summary and so it became a surprise in more then the sense of that i did not know or plan to read this book. 

So before you go further here is the review in the shortest way that i am capable of: Go on buy the book, people! It is really good!

Here are the Book facts: 

Title: Annihilation (Duh! That is the entire title of the post)
Author: Jeff Vandermeer
Language: English
Pages: 195 (Paperback)
series: Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary on the book
"Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition. 
 The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. 
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers - they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding - but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that changes everything."



And my very in-depth and slightly rambly (do you guy really expect anything else from me at this point) here is the review: 

I was not sure what to expect from this book. At all to be honest. 
I read the Summary -of course- before buying it but other than that I did not look into the book or read more about it at all. 

And to be honest that was the best that I could have done to actually enjoy the book. 

It is so different and strange in some places that if you started to read this book with a specific comparison (to any book or movie or anything really) or a specific end result in mind you could or might not enjoy this book as much as you could/can if you just start reading this book without wanting to compare it to anything or really expecting anything from the book. 

That being said the book is fantastic as it is. 

It is not perfect, there are some moments where I had to go back and re-read some things just because I really did not completely understand what was happening at the moment because it was just very strange and very sudden and without real explanation of why or how or just the overall feeling of "what the hell is going on here?". 

There is also the fact that the very small book of 194 (alright it is "marketed as 195 pages but really it is 194 and 1/3 pages and who counts 1/3 pages) does not read like a book that size. I normally have no problems reading a book that has at least 300 pages in one day and don't feel that i have read to fast or flew over important details, but this book took me three days to complete from start to finish. 

And as i said, it was not because this book was written badly, it is really nicely written, but the world, the writing and somehow the entire story needed to be taken in in phases and could not just be "swallowed" whole as I have done with other books before. 

The storyline itself is very good written as well -of course since i already said that the book is nicely written but just to be sure that you all understand what i want to say lets just do it a few times, alright?

The book starts in the middle of the story, which is something that might not everyone like, but i personally really enjoyed for this story. The storyline and then goes into little "flashbacks" into the past expeditions but mostly why the biologist -the story teller- decided to go on this mission and overall life stories from her. Those flashbacks give a better understand of the story as well as the character -what is happening, why and how it might have happened and all of that good stuff, get explained in those flashbacks. Also the book had a writing style that reminds me of a journal or diary, but i guess that that is the entire point of it. Still, i personally enjoyed that as well as the rest of what i just said. 

As i said, i know that some people don't enjoy being just "dumped" into a storyline without real explanation, but I have to say that for this story I have to say that the author could not have decided for a better tactic. It is a very short book, if the author would have taken the time and pages to explain why and how and all that jazz before the actually story started, the book would have either have to be longer or the entire story itself would have lost a lot. There is also the factor, that when you don't know the characters of the story before it is explained why and how and all that, i think it would have been insanely boring to read and i don't think that many people would have wanted to actually read the book after trying to understand how Area X and the missions came to be. So to me the "jump right in" method for this book was the perfect choice and not just that, but executed to perfection! Hats up, VanderMeer, well done!

Also quite surprisingly was how much i liked the ending of the book, because i knew going into the book that it was the first book out of a trilogy and i expected a open ending that would leave everyone in the NEED to read the next two books because otherwise you don't know who the book and story will end. 

Vandermeer did not do that. He finished the first book in a way that if you did not enjoy the world and story, you can end with this book and feel like you missed anything. Which i really loved, because if there is one thing that i actually HATE with books is if the authors write a series of books and can not manage to finish the first books in a way that if you don't want to or can't read the rest of the books at the foreseeable future, you are just left hanging. 

As i said, this book did not have that, the ending was in a way that you can close this book and leave this series finished with that without problems. But at the same time, the ending kind of made me want to pick up the next 2 books right away, because I really want to know what is happening and how it will happen and just overall how the story continues because right now? I have no idea what will happen next. Another thing that i really loved. 

The author did a really fantastic job with all those things. 

Now you might ask yourself, well if you liked the book so much why not 5 out of 5 instead of 4.5? Well, let me tell you: What i did not enjoy too much about this book is that in just a few little places in the book the author rushed quite a bit through the story line. And that is saying something if the book is not even 200 pages long I expect that the book is just about perfect, because of the page number, because if the author can't even tie up all loose ends and explain everything that is happening with such a small amount of pages, I just think that the author did not put as much love and time into the book as i would have wanted.

That being said, this book did have a few of those moments, but not a huge amount. There were two or three moments in the story where i just thought: "What is happening, how did we get here?" and had to go back a few sentences to try and figure it out only to come up with the same result: I have no idea what was happening. If VanderMeer would have taken the time to write those few moments out of the story -and that would have maybe taking two or three sentences more for each of those moments!- i would really love this book completely. 

Like i said those are no big things, which is why i only taken 0.5 points instead of a whole thing, because if it where more moments and at important parts of the story there would have been more points taken and i am sure that i would not have enjoyed the book as much. 

Overall: 
Good book! Different and unexpected and not something that i have ever read or heard about before, which makes it really intruding and very interesting to read. It is hard to put down but at the same time you have to take breaks between while you read, because you have to remember that the story is not actually happening to you and you are in your own home (or where ever you read) and take a deep breath before continuing on.

If you like intruding, interesting, different and "suck you in" books and storylines, i would recommend this book. This is a book that sticks with you after you read it and that I keep thinking about for one reason or another, not about something specific, but just remembering something and going back to thinking about it. 


And as a little side note, if you want to wait until the end of this month you can buy a bind up of all three book of the trilogy for a lot cheaper then the individual books (especially if you don't already own one of the books!) and you get the hardback book instead of the paperback. This little fact came fantastically timed out right after i bought the first book, but instead of buying the second and third for more then the entire bind up will cost me, i pre-ordered the bind up and i think i will make a little giveaway at one point in the future and give away my "book 1" after i received my bind up at the end of this month (apparently it will be coming to me on November 27 and i can not wait, which is another thing that shows you just how much i enjoyed this book)


So that is it. That is my review. I know enormously long, i am working on saying things in less words, but if you believe it or not that takes me a huge amount of time instead of just babbling on. 


Anyways... 

Did anyone of you read this book? What did you think if you did read it? 
Do you want to read it? 
Did my huge review inspire you to read it?
Or if it something that sounds completely like something that you would never ever read?

Let me know, i want to know and hear what you guys think. 

Talk to you guys later, 

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