Behrg Reviews: “Annihilation” by Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation is a tough book to review, likely because it’s difficult to know how you feel about it, even while you’re reading it. The prose is majestic, the story strangely beautiful, and yet there’s this forced and quite purposeful detachment which can make connecting with it a different experience than most reads. I can see how a lot of readers have struggled connecting with the story. As for myself, I really dug what VanderMeer both attempted and accomplished, though I believe they’re both two very distinct things.
If you’re looking to try this out, set your expectations to the side. Don’t expect a lot of answers (or any, really), don’t expect to connect with the characters on an emotional level, except to see yourself through some of their reactions and struggles in a quite cerebral way. But as for challenging the status quo of what can or should be a done in a novel, this is a great place to enter and just let your thoughts roam around within the framework of the story.
Halfway through I didn’t think I’d be picking up book 2 in the trilogy, but after finishing the novel, I’d like to see where it continues to go (or rather, where it doesn’t). Bring on the weird, the strange, the unique. I’ll take it any day over a paint-by-the-numbers story with a plot that’s been painted over so many times the initial shades are beginning to peel.