This is a hard book to review, I liked parts of it, but I utterly hated some of it. It reminded me of Scott Smith’s “The Ruins” meets a Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A space Odyssey”. If I had to name a genre for this book Science Fiction works the best but their is high doses of horror with mystery added.
The Plot: Is four woman who have no names but go by their profession an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, and biologist are dropped off into an Area X. Area X is a place on earth that is like no other, filled with secrets and strange creature that are above our evolution. The Southern Reach is the company who is responsible for investigating Area X other expeditions have ended in murder and suicide, but on the 11th expedition the members returned as shells of their future selves with no memory of Area X and all of a new form of aggressive cancer. The one member of the returned 11th expedition is the husband of our narrator the biologist, who is now apart of the 12th expedition and wants to find out what here husband saw when he returned he was not able to remember about Area X. There’s a lot of secrets to be uncovered, will the this expedition end like the last.
What I liked in this book: The paranoia tone of the book, it does a good use of mind games making characters not trust one another and making the narrator not trust herself. That there are no names only titles of jobs. I liked the flashbacks and what they added.
What I did not like: The narrator is totally unlikeable there’s no emotional level to her, the flashbacks tell more about the husband than her. I felt like maybe the narrator had Aspergers Syndrome or was autistic, which I would’ve connected more. I didn’t find the ending all that satisfying, I wanted a little more knowledge of Area X, that saying I was happy with the revelation of the Crawler, but would’ve loved it background story. Paranoia and secrets were a big part of the novel,
possible spoiler below
but I don’t understand why this led them to try and kill each other or to think that they were going to kill the other, I don’t mind this but after two days come on.
I would recommend this for people who enjoy ambiguous endings, I prefer a little more concrete. I think I will like the second novel in the series more, I wanted way more information about the Southern Reach organization and Area X, and the next novel involves Southern Reach agents going in to Area X, I’m sure to get more. I rated this 3.2 out of 5 stars. I liked it but it could’ve been better.
I have not seen the movie, it is supposed to be a loose adaption of the book, where the writer/director said, he read the book once and then wrote his screenplay never again looking at the source material. I did enjoy the director’s first movie Ex Machina. Friends that know my taste have highly recommended it.