I recently finished the gripping second installment of the Southern Reach trilogy – Authority by Jeff Vandermeer.
Set shortly after the conclusion of Annihilation our main character Control AKA John Rodriguez, becomes Director of the Southern Reach – a forgotten branch of the government tasked with studying the mysteries surrounding Area X.
Authority has a very different vibe from Annihilation as it is the careful study of the incredibly mundane – organizing a crazed ex-director’s messy office, going to lunch with the same employees day after day and driving home – amidst the growing bizarre nature of working in the Southern Reach. This slowly builds up to an uneasy level of tension and darkness. Things just aren’t what they seem.
Thankfully Authority maintains the rich imagery of Annihilation even though it is set in a governmental building that is festering in decay. Just like the first book, the reader is made to feel a continuous amount of dread as the author orchestrates a fine balance of knowing and not knowing. I would describe this book as oppressive in it’s secretive and overbearing nature – but I couldn’t put it down for fear of missing out on the revel of the next secret.
It’s a must-read! I can’t wait to read Acceptance – the finale of this incredible series.