Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

Authority Rating: ★★

Blurb taken from “The bone-chilling, hair-raising second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X–a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization–has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodríguez (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.”

This is the sequel to Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation: ­review here.

I was originally going to give this one star out of spite. I felt like I had to read it even though 30% in I hated it and knew it wouldn’t change. I don’t think the ending was worth holding out for if you don’t want to read book three, but the ending was good. Therefore- two whole stars.

Why didn’t I like this? Let me tell you!

1. Do you like reviewing reports all day? Filing paperwork? Do you like complaining about the rotten honey smell of your office’s cleaning agents? Do you like office politics?

Congratulations! This book is for you.

2. Do you want to read 340 pages of inner monologue of a man with mommy and grandpa issues who refers to himself as “Control” for some idiotic reason beyond my ken?

Congratulations! This book is for you.

3. Do you like being confused beyond belief? Having no idea what is going on, what is being described, and not comprehending the setting? Well do you like feeling delusional?

Congratulations! This book is for you.

I have literally never been more disappointed by a book or an author in years.

Borne was pretty good. Annihilation was even better. Which is why I’m so completely baffled as to how Vandermeer churned this one out. I don’t know if he just didn’t realize that nothing about working a 9-5 office job is fun (or interesting), or if he genuinely thought he was dropping enough breadcrumbs to keep readers interested, but this book was a spectacular fail.

I’m sorry. Usually I have more tact than this- but I’m pretty bitter about the whole thing.

And it says a lot that I’m still willing to give Acceptance a try. But dear God, please let the next book be from the Biologist’s point of view. Or literally anyone else’s. Hell- tell it from Mord’s POV, I don’t care. Just please give me something that isn’t paperwork and “rotten honey” cleaning smells. (Which by the way- makes no sense since I’m pretty sure honey mostly doesn’t rot.)


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