For thirty years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X—a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the twelfth expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (aka “Control”) is the team’s newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves—and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve.
The Southern Reach trilogy is fast becoming one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I’m not yet at the conclusion. In ANNIHILATION, we were exposed to the strange and dangerous other world of Area X – terrain cut off from the rest of land by some mysterious event. We followed the latest exhibition consisting of a biologist, surveyor, psychologist, and anthropologist into the unknown and watched the breakdown of sanity in big brother-like live streaming. In AUTHORITY, the ambiguity is as abundant as it was in ANNIHILATION yet the characters are a little more personable. Chiefly, they have names not just titles (Note. I do like the concept of ‘Control’ if nothing more than the ironic elements the nickname brings to the character) which add another layer of depth to what already is a deep spanning mystery.
Right from the get-go author Jeff Vandermeer unleashes a big reveal that adds perspective and context to ANNIHILATION. I won’t delve into that as to not spoil prospective reader experiences other than to say I loved it – and the revelations (for lack of a better term) continue throughout the book as small puzzle pieces are formed and jaggedly dropped together.