By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything… and we knew nothing.

Area X has been controlled by the Southern Reach agency for thirty years. All anyone knows about the Event is that it was a military experiment gone wrong and has left the area inhabitable. This is the story of the twelfth expedition, sent to bring back samples and answers from behind the barrier. The team comprises of a biologist, a linguist, a psychologist, a surveyor and an anthropologist.

They took away our names in the second month, stripped them from us. The only names applied to things in Area X, and only in terms of their most general label.

The writing, at first, comes across as methodical and impersonal, just as you would expect in a scientist’s journal. Our narrator is the biologist and there is a certain care take over descriptions of the flora and fauna. However, through flashbacks the reader learns a bit more about what makes her tick and her relationship with her husband.

The nature of Area X makes the biologist the perfect perspective to introduce us to this world where the plant-life is more than meets the eye. I understand the next book in the trilogy is from a different narrator, which pleases me. That makes a trilogy something more than just one story split into three.

Nothing that lived and breathed was truly objective – even in a vacuum, even if all that possessed the brain was a self-immolating desire for the truth.

There was a point where I started to wonder if Area X is just some big psychological experiment. Each team is accompanied by a psychologist, who does more than just monitor their mental state. Are they just being manipulated? The mystery surrounding the Event is rather suspicious. There are a lot of observations about the nature of scientific study and how people see the world differently.

Some questions will ruin you if you are denied the answer long enough.

Annihilation is being adapted for the screen by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Ex Machina) and I think his style will suit this story. I really hope that they keep the all-female expedition team, it’s a rare thing in science fiction.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive

Also reviewed @ For Winter Nights | Page to Stage Reviews

Book Source: Purchased