Book Review: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“…and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.” – Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

What I Liked: The Biologist. The very best kind of unreliable narrator, here – we don’t know if what she sees is real or not, we don’t know what factors are messing with her perception or how they work, we just get fascinating clues and hints. I really enjoyed the character and all her scientific observations, her persistent, dogged determination to accept things as they are, do her best to observe them even though she knows it’s ultimately futile, and not moralize. Good stuff. I was surprisingly satisfied with the conclusion as well, and that’s something for a book that keeps all its secrets like this.

Favorite scene: The pile of journals she finds in the tower, and the fact that all that hard work and earnest human endeavor is just a useless mound of decaying paper. But then, I always did enjoy some creeping existential dread with my morning coffee.

What I Didn’t Like: Over too soon! So many questions! But I really enjoyed this book and am about to immediately start the sequel as soon as I finish writing this review, so I’m hoping some of my questions will be answered in the rest of the trilogy.

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a spooky page turner perfect for October reading. People who don’t mind an ending that doesn’t wrap everything up neatly. People who like detailed descriptions and philosophical ramblings and character development better than a coherent plot.

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Book Review: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

Cat's EyeCat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Most mothers worry when their daughters reach adolescence but I was the opposite. I relaxed, I sighed with relief. Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life sized.” – Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

I don’t know what I could possibly say about this book. It’s amazing. I didn’t want to put it down but didn’t want to finish it so I forced myself to stretch it out so I could savor it.

I loved how it effortlessly covered so much of the main character’s lifetime while still feeling immediate and personal. It’s an amazingly insightful look at childhood and bullying and memories. I really enjoyed how vividly the time (post-WWII) and place (Toronto) were described.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes rich character-focused stories full of details and interpersonal drama.

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