Monday, August 20, 2018

Audiobook Review: Annihilation By Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: June, 2014
Format: Audiobook narrated by Carolyn McCormick
Source: Overdrive
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died 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 months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their 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 and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to 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 change everything. 

So...I felt not that impressed by this book, like a lot. It wasn't that it was bad by any means, I just found myself, I don't know, bored? 

The book is basically about a botanist that is on this expedition with three other women, but none of them call each other by their names. All the other expedition teams disappeared or went crazy, so this is another mission to try to figure out what the heck is happening. To me it felt like nothing really happened. Like 75% of the book they walked around and looked at some moss on the wall, and our protagonist lamented about her dead husband. It wasn't until the very end that it got super interesting and chaotic. I'm not sure if pumping up the action in the last bit of the book is enough for me to want to read the next one, because this one just didn't cut it for me.

I think part of the problem I had with the book was that I just couldn't connect with the main character. She is very laser-focused on the work she is doing, but she also spends so much time just thinking about her husband. The more we learn about her, the more is seemed like she didn't really like her husband all that much, so I didn't get why she was so upset. I also feel like she is written as a stereotypical scientist--a little cold and unfeeling. It just didn't jive with me. I also felt like I got nothing out of the secondary characters. They felt really two-dimensional to me, like I didn't get much out of them. I think part of that is because The Botanist is an unreliable narrator, but I needed more from the other people around her to understand what was happening in this book.

I think I just wanted more out of this book, but since it's a first book I am willing to forgive it, but I don't think it's made me want to continue to read the rest of the series. I just found myself so uninterested in this one. Maybe it was just a fluke. I wonder really why this one didn't work for me, because it seems like so many other people adore it. Maybe it was just the narrator, maybe it was just my mood, but this one was just a miss in my book.

Have you read Annihilation? What did you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!