We don't do a lot of book reviews on this site, but when the teaser trailer for the upcoming movie Annihilation came out, I couldn't wait to find out more. I got the book, and ended up tearing through it in just a few days.
This book is not your typical science fiction novel. Written from the perspective of "the biologist," one of four women on the 12th expedition into Area X, the insights you are given are only from her perspective. And there are hints that she is not the most forthright narrator.
The mysterious Area X is uninhabited by people, and each of the missions to explore it have ended in some catastrophe or another. Everyone murders one another. Everyone disappears. Everyone comes back but mysteriously dies of cancer. There are hints that someone knows what Area X is, but our protagonist is trying to find out what that is.
Vandermeer has done an exquisite job of building a beautiful world within our own real world. Although it's set in some variation of what we know, the imagery he describes is wonderful. You can see the landscape and feel how it seems to live as you read.
This is the first book in a trilogy, and leaves plenty of mystery at the end. But at the same time it felt complete. While I'm not sure what the future books will bring (although the second one is on its way), this book is a full story. Although not everything is answered, which might frustrate some people, the feeling the narrator has at the end carried into me.
As for the upcoming movie, I'm even more excited now. I'm very curious to see how this is adapted. From the trailer, I can already tell that several aspects have been modified to fit a movie, I'm going to try to go into it without any expectations. Since so much of the story is told from a first-person perspective, with very limited knowledge of the other characters, this could be a challenge to adapt (although look at Arrival which was a really good short story and ended up being my favorite movie of 2016). Sure, the book is always better, but that doesn't mean it can't be adapted in its own beautiful way.
If you like science fiction, this is a great one to get into. There is plenty of action, beautiful scenery, and lots of intrigue. 4/5 Stars.