Rating – 4.33 out of 5
Authority by Jeff Vandermeer is the follow up to Annihilation, starting in the Southern Reach just after the 12th expedition has failed. While the Southern Reach is still reeling, John Rodriguez, a.k.a. Control takes the director position to try to put the organization to rights. Over the course of a week, Control exposes some of the Southern Reach’s most dangerous secrets and comes to realize just how far out of human understanding the Shimmer has become.
“It’s not superstition,” she said. They all turned to her, swiveling on their stools. “It is superstition,” she admitted. “But it might be true.”
― Jeff Vandermeer,
Why I liked Authority by Jeff Vandermeer
This novel is almost as unnerving as the first in the Southern Reach trilogy. I still think some of what is going on inside the shimmer is more frightening than what is going on with the people that are studying it. Authority, though, has the leg up when it comes to traditional horror. There are more jump scares and more connection to reality in a way that makes this book something that would probably be scarier to watch on screen than Annihilation. There were also more obvious psychological manipulations in this novel than the last. Sub-plots about Control’s family issues and manipulation via hypnosis by his handler, “The Voice”, add a layer of confusion in Control’s actions. Is he doing something because he thought it was a good idea or was it someone else manipulating him?
The one thing that I did not like about this book was that it did not give ANY answers to what was going on in the shimmer. I suspected that might be the case, but it is annoying to be left with more questions. Because this book is centered around the human’s involvement with the Southern Reach, it shows how malleable the human mind is to outside manipulation. The decline of the people involved shows the horror of the Southern Reach but does not provide the answers I crave. The one thing that I did appreciate about this book was the conversations with the Biologist. While it was obvious that she did not have the answers that Control wanted her at the very least was willing to discuss some of her experiences. If anyone in the novel can give answers to what is going on it is her.
I’m starting Acceptance this week 🙂 I cannot wait to see how this Trilogy ENDS!!
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