book reviews by Althea

Authority – Jeff VanderMeer ***

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(Southern Reach #2)
The sequel to the excellent ‘Annihilation.’
In ‘Annihilation’ an expedition is sent out to the mysterious Area X by the enigmatic Authority of the Southern Reach. The book does a great job of creating a Lovecraftian, creeping dread of the unknown. Before reading ‘Authority’ someone told me, ‘this is where you get all the answers.’
I had doubts that I even needed all the answers… but I read on.
Indeed, there are some answers here. The events here follow upon those in the first book – but from the opposite perspective. A new Director of the Southern Reach is appointed, and comes in to take over – to meets a hostile second-in-command, and all sorts of odd and possibly insane goings-on at the base. Are the effects of Area X leaching through the border?
It starts off really well – I wasn’t upset to find the ‘answers,’ I thought they worked very well. But – I expected more to happen. The set-up is great, but there isn’t much follow-through. Things are weird and complicated, everyone has a lot of baggage to start with, and there are weird and possibly alien influences.
Possibly this is middle-book syndrome – I’ll still be reading the third installment of the trilogy.

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