Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

Authority Rating: ★★

Blurb taken from goodreads.com: “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.)

 

Locke & Key Vol. 3 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke-Key-3-Crown-Of-Shadows-w-logoRating: ★★★★

Blurb taken from goodreads.com:

“The dead plot against the living, the darkness closes in on Keyhouse, and a woman is shattered beyond repair, in the third storyline of the Eisner-nominated series, Locke & Key! Dodge continues his relentless quest to find the key to the black door, and raises an army of shadows to wipe out anyone who might get in his way. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Locke children find themselves fighting a desperate battle, all alone, in a world where the night itself has become their enemy.”

I enjoyed this- but not quite as much as the first two. It felt less creative somehow- I won’t spoil the keys that are discovered in this book, but I imagine it would be hard to live up to (spoiler for vol. 2): a key that literally opens your head and allows you to add or take away memories as needed.

The characters are still the shining stars and we get to meet a few new ones who I liked. I am a little worried for Mrs. Locke- I keep thinking she must be stronger than this. I wouldn’t mind seeing her story advanced a bit in the next book.

The artwork is growing on me as the stories go on. It’s still not my favorite style- but there have been a few featured silent 2-page spreads in the past couple of books so rich and full of detail it’s hard not to be impressed.

I’m sad I’m halfway done with the series already- I have a feeling I’ll be checking out the next few books very soon!

Locke & Key Vol. 2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

L_K_HG Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb taken from goodreads.com:

“Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father’s murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack’s dark secret.

Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face.

Open your mind – the head games are just getting started.”

I think I enjoyed this even more than the first. With the world and the concepts fully established Hill was able to put down whatever amazing ideas floated into his head (or were stuffed into his head?). The idea of this magical house continues to be built upon with this book, adding new ideas and also some new history to the story.

I still adore the characters, especially Kinsey, who came into her own in this one. I didn’t feel that this one was quite as dark as the first- there was plenty of violence, but it was a bit removed from the characters and made for a slightly easier read.

I can’t wait to see what magical keys he comes up with next!