Series: Southern Reach #1
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Pub Date: 2014
My Rating: ★★★★★
Synopis from Goodreads:
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
I’m so surprised with this book! I was seeing the beautiful covers of the series around the blogosphere, but I wasn’t intrigued enough to actually pick them up. But then I was scrolling through the sale on polish publisher website and I noticed a book with an intriguing cover (Polish edition has a different cover, see here) and I decided to check out the author on Goodreads. And I’ve seen the beautiful covers! So my mind was instantly saying to me ‘buy buy buy’. I controlled myself and decided to check out this book from a library.
I’m so glad that I read this book. It’s absolutely an amazing story, I was hooked from the beginning. There were so many questions that I had about the Area X, and I had only thoughts of the biologist to answer my questions. And after finishing the story, I still know so little about the Area X itself, and why there are expeditions being sent there, and what do they know that they are not telling the participants of those expeditions.
I found the relationships between four women that were in the expeditions fascinating, and so odd. Those relationships weren’t like something that I’d expect to evolve between four people that are sent on a mission together. There didn’t try to become friendly with each other, there were even discouraged from doing this. Now I can see why, but at the beginning of the story, I was confused and intrigued.
The main discovery the expeditions makes in the first days, this ‘massive topography anomaly’ was so scary for me. I was tense while reading about it, afraid of what will happen next. I was lying safely in my bad, but because of the book I was scared of any sound that my flat made. That means that the book is amazing! I’m afraid and curious of the next book in the series, that I will be reading soon.
Also, avoid spoilers at all cost. You should read this book knowing as little as possible about the story. I did my best to not disclose anything that will ruin your surprise and horror while reading. Now go, read this book and enjoy!