Why We Loved Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

In Annihilation, the first book in an exciting new trilogy from Jeff VanderMeer, an unknown territory has spread across the Southern United States. Eleven exhibitions, backed by a secret government agency known as “The Southern Reach”, have entered “Area X” to try to better understand it by mapping the terrain and collecting specimens. All eleven exhibitions have returned with inconclusive results and deadly side effects. Annihilation is the story of the twelfth exhibition, told through diary entries from one of four women who enter the unchartered territory.

Annihilation(and Authority, for those lucky enough to have our hands on the second book in the trilogy) is an office favourite for a variety of reasons. Below, we explain why.

The genre

I loved Annihilation for many reasons–the intrigue, the twists and turns, the countless “WTF?!” moments–but the biggest reason might be that it revitalized an interest in an entire genre of fiction. I don’t typically read mysteries, sci-fi or speculative fiction, but Jeff Vandermeer’s story (I confess, I’ve actually already been privileged enough to read Book 2) has me clamouring for more. Many books can change you (every booklover has had that experience) but Annihilation is one of those rare books, so expertly done, that it changes your reading habits. And let’s face it, we could all use a little shake-up or an eye opener now and then. -Cory (@corybeatty)

The length

Annihilation is the perfect length for any reader. For someone who frequently picks up science fiction novels, it will grab you from the first chapter and keep you reading until the very last page. For those of you who do not consider yourself sci-fi readers (myself included), what better way to step out of your comfort zone than with a book that is only 200 pages, only costs $14.99, but, most importantly, is so expertly written and such a strong piece of speculative fiction that you yourself will reconsider your stance on whether or not you are a sci-fi reader? Just sit down and start Annihilation and you’ll see what I mean.

Take it from me, or from NPR books, who say:

Annihilation is a book meant for gulping — for going in head-first and not coming up for air until you hit the back cover. Read more here.

Sounds amazing, right? – Kaiti (@ktvncnt)

The concept:

The concept of Annihilation jumped out at me when I first heard about the book. I love the idea of an unknown part of the world that is full of mystery and danger, complete with failed search and discover missions. It’s just different, and different reading tends to be good reading. Plus, 3 parts of the series coming out within a grand total of 8 months of each other is fantastic. If I had to describe this book in a few words they would be energizing, contemplative, unique and experimental. Can’t wait for books 2 and 3! – Jason (@J_Pratt15)

The sequel:

For multiple reasons, including those listed above, readers will finish Annihilation with a strong urge to start the second book. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long! The second book in the Southern Reach trilogy, Authority, will be available in May and the third next September. Here’s Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, on the subject:

“February-May-September. That’s crazy! When has a trilogy ever been released rapid-fire in the space of a single calendar year? It’s a schedule that feels, to me, more like TV than publishing. I hope it succeeds, because I’d love to see more innovation along these lines. These days, the rhythm of a story’s release is part of the package.” (Read Robin’s full article here).

The Badge:

We’re so excited about Jeff VanderMeer’s Southerh Reach trilogy that we’ve crowned it a top #50BookPledge honour: it’s the first of our Title-Specific badges! Now, 50BookPledge-ers who reader Annihilation, Authority or Acceptance will recieve a Southern Reach badge on their shelves.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up Annihilation and decide for yourself what you like best about VanderMeer’s daring and original new series.


Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader@ktvncnt
See my 50 Book Pledge profile here.

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Digital Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Canada. Film, fiction and fashion blog enthusiast. Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader & @ktvncnt.

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