Years ago Florida was consumed by an unknowable biosphere called Area X. The area has been abandoned by the human race and is now watched over by the mysterious Southern Reach organization. The Southern Reach sends groups of field experts in, but none of the expeditions have come back with good results. Two missions ended when the groups turned on each other. The eleventh group returned to society, but within six months all died of cancer. Annihilation follows the twelfth expedition, made up of four women: a psychologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist, and a biologist, whose journal makes up the narrative of the book. The women make their way to the area and set up camp, but within only a few days start to learn that Area X is not what it seems, and that the Southern Reach might not have prepared them for what they will find.
Jeff VanderMeer's science fiction/dystopian thriller is a book the reader won't be able to put down. From the start, VanderMeer throws his audience into the terrifying, fascinating world of Area X, and the reader can't help but follow the biologist along for the ride. The mystery of the characters -- who they are and why they chose to go on such a mission -- is just as fun and riveting as their attempts to unlock the secrets of Area X.
Reviewed by bp, 04/15. Other reviews by bp.