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Summary

The second volume of the extraordinary Southern Reach trilogy. The Southern Reach is a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten.

Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the second audiobook of the Southern Reach trilogy introduces John Rodriguez, the new head of the government agency responsible for the safeguarding of Area X.

His first day is spent grappling with the fall-out from the last expedition. Area X itself remains a mystery. But, as instructed by a higher authority known only as The Voice, the self-styled Control must battle to 'put his house in order'. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the mysteries of Area X begin to reveal themselves—and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve.

Undermined and under pressure to make sense of everything, Rodriguez retreats into his past in a labyrinthine search for answers. Yet the more he uncovers, the more he risks, for the secrets of the Southern Reach are more sinister than anyone could have known.

©2014 Jeff VanderMeer Creative, Inc. (P)2014 2014 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

Praise for Annihilation:

"A teeming science fiction that draws on Conrad and Lovecraft alike… The writing itself has a clarity that makes the abundancy of the setting more powerful. Annihilation shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A lasting monument to the uncanny… you find yourself afraid to turn the page… We are less than 200 pages in to the Southern Reach Trilogy… and already home is a distant memory, and an unreliable one, too: for who's to say that home was not always X at heart?" (Simon Ings, Guardian)
"Annihilation owes much to the explorations of psychogeographical landscapes in early JG Ballard and also to the work of the old masters of weird fiction such as HP Lovecraft and William Hope Hodgson, with their love of nameless horrors haunting liminal realms. VanderMeer synthesises these influences to create a tale with a deliciously creepy atmosphere of dread" (Financial Times)
"Annihilation is a weird and wonderful novel. And the hardback edition is as beautiful as the prose between the covers.' Metro‘A tautly told, self-contained story, informed and illuminated by the flawed and very human voice of its narrator" (Arc)
"Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel. If the sequels live up to it, then the Southern Reach series will be a major work" (***** SFX Magazine)
"A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unravelling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot of Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterwards. I loved it" (Lauren Beukes)
"Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent" (Warren Ellis)

"Creepy and fascinating." (Stephen King)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Superb

These books are unconventional and challenging. This volume builds on the actual ceiling horror of the first and is no less profoundly disturbing.

This isn't a conventional thriller, there's no pounding adrenalin or just-in-time suspense, just psychological disconnection and a sense of disconcerting otherness watching a man unravel in the face of the incomprehensible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Oh dear ... So dull after the first

I'm sorry to say that if I had had to read this and not listen I wouldn't have finished it, saying that I don't think I would have wasted the time listening either. This second book really adds little to the overall story, the last hour was the only interesting bit in my mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Boring

This was one of the most boring books I ever read. So many needless details and descriptions. I barely could finish it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Stretched out story goes nowhere in the end

TLDR: A great premise from book 1 not delivered on in books 2 and 3, which are too slow, insubstantial and together with weird audio editing spoiled some good narration.

I really loved the first book. What a great premise for a story. I bought books 2 and 3 straight after reading book 1.

But book 2 is where it really starts to slow down and I became concerned that maybe this won't actually go anywhere in the end. Hint: it doesn't.

I love books which lead you along and then swipe the ground away from under you at the end, but this doesn't - there is no reveal at the end.

And it's so slow. Every thought is over examined from every direction. I hate to abandon a book so I listened to the end but it became hard work.

Narrators. The narrators I thought were very good and did a fantastic job though, it's a shame the material was not faster moving.

Audio editing. There were frequent re-recordings badly inserted. Sometimes they were inserted mid-sentence which was weird and didn't work because the quality was clearly poorer than the main recording. It jarred and took me away from trying to stay in the story. And someone e had decided to remove some natural empty spaces left by narrators with the result sounding unnatural and clipped.



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Brilliant voice acting, brilliant book

The voice acting brings to life an incredible and harrowing story. Absolutely incredible beyond measure.

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Mysterious, intimate yet distant, full of beautiful detail

The story covers around a couple of weeks. Slow, terrifying and desperate search for answers. Every observation, thought and perception is drawn in detail; to the point that it felt I was watching through the main character’s eyes.

Not much of a story if you were expecting an all action epic. More of subtle revelation.

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Great possibilities

But rather than explore the area in detail it sort goes off track and starts describing people's feelings and thoughts and in detail at the end of the book which was not rubbish something may or may not have happened to the zone but I seem to have missed it and it was not interesting enough to go back and see what I missed

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Overly descriptive to the point of frustration.

The first book was enjoyable enough but this follow on is just far too descriptive...to the point where I found myself skipping parts which is completely unlike me. At times I was even shouting in the car 'GET THE HELL ON WITH IT!!!!'

Was a struggle to make it to the end. Hope the third book is worth the effort.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not as good as the first

Found this a bit uninteresting and not so well written. Still intrigued to read the last of the trilogy as a lot of questions unanswered.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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disappointing

Much worse than first book. the narrator spoilt it for me. I was disappointed by the length of the book as nothing much happens.