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Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer (2014)

Finished: 3/3/21

Grade: B-

The sequel to Authority and the final installment in the Southern Reach Trilogy that began with Annihilation.

In Annihilation, the limited first person perspective creates a claustrophobic tension, shakes the reliability of the narrative, and gives you the feeling of being so close to something enormous that you can't even tell how big it is.

In Authority, the limited first person perspective makes you feel trapped and bored. The character you are stuck in has so little information, and is wildly ineffective at getting any. By the end of the book you are desperate to get into someone, anyone, else's head. Acceptance grants that wish. The narrative bounces around in perspective and time,

giving you all the different camera angles of the enormous thing, and generally unravelling the mysteries developed in the first two books.

Each book in this trilogy is well-written and readable, but nothing in the second two books even comes close to the excitement and horror of the first novel. My advice to anyone who is thinking about reading these books is to stop with Annihilation. At the end of that book you don't have all the answers, but that's kind of the point. And anyway the answers are less exciting than the questions.

(The movie is good too! It's different enough from the book to still be enjoyable if you've already read the book, and vice versa.)

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