Get a free audiobook

Annihilation

The Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1
Written by: Jeff VanderMeer
Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
Length: 6 hrs
4 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

If J. J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel...it might be this awesome.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the 11th expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the 12th expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist - the de facto leader - and a biologist, who is our narrator. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers - they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life-forms that surpass understanding - but it's the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

Cover artwork (C) Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2014

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    66
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    63
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    89
  • 4 Stars
    56
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    12
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unpredictable

Very good story, brutal narrative. 100% good stuff but be aware: It can be distressful some times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

she reads too fast

she reads so fast and doesn't have much flair for the dramatic.
it's almost as if she doesn't take a minute to breathe. excellent book but the narration wasn't the best. not the worst narration I've heard, but definitely could afford to have had better pacing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Appropriately, this is going to be a strange one. My Annihilation experience was perhaps as unusual as the story itself. I grabbed the audiobook for this experience. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, I generally set my expectations high when the powers that be decide to turn the book into a movie. They are rarely ever able to duplicate the magic of a fantastic book, but the base is often a sure bet.

Imagine, if you will, a story told by Spock, all emotion, color and emphasis gone. A purely analytical, scientific telling of the events of the story. Annihilation got me thinking more about what I want from a book and not about this particular book. Not a good sign. My decision, give me a Klingon narrator, I want the larger than life emotion, the instability of the protagonist, I want a kaleidoscope of a story.

That being said, I would have to say that the performance of the audiobook was better than the story itself. Carolyn McCormick’s performance was flawless. She embodied the analytical nature of The Biologist (yes, I’ve capitalized the protagonist’s profession, it’s the only way she is identified). The narration made the story mildly interesting. Casting matters.

Following the audiobook, I made the mistake of asking my wife to watch the movie with me (I’ll be hearing about that for some time to come). At this point, my hopes weren’t high, boy oh boy, that did not even come close. I get that not everything translates well to the movie, but this seemed like a completely different story.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be returning to The Southern Reach series in any of its forms. The story gets a 3.5 stars; the audiobook performance a 4, and the movie – a waste of time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Oh boy...

Wow. Such a compelling story with amazing writing and excellent pacing. Not once in the entire book was I bored or confused.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth the time invested

struggled to finish.. not sure why I stuck with it...would not recommend. premise, story and narration less than compelling.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing storyline

I enjoyed the story and the narrative but found it to be quite slow at times.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating premise

The premise of this story is fascinating, though a bit horrifying. It will certainly make you think.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

narrator with weird affect and pace threw me off

my sense from other reviews is that this is, in part, how the biologist is written, but our shows make it difficult to invest in the story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ty
  • 2018-12-13

awesome book

it was so easy to read, it was creppy and hard to stop, the strangeness of Area X is well done. its a must read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story - narration, not so great

I really enjoyed the book and story line, but I could not get over the choice of narrator. She sounds like a pouting child which distracted me from how ominous the story actually was.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T Shurland
  • 2019-05-06

No

This book was written by a canny person using literary devices like unreliable narrator and limited disclosure of information. The story is about a pseudo-military mission and it’s told by a single narrator.

The reader isn’t given anything. We are dropped into the middle of an exploratory expedition to a dangerous mystery land, Area X, whose borders seem to be encroaching on the known world. There is no plot. The characters are undeveloped and nameless. There is no larger grasp of their womanhood (all the characters are supposedly women), humanity or metaphysics. The author has a preoccupation with the sensory details of his little world. And since we are positioned inside a biologist, it’s all about plant life and organisms and tissue and fluids and leaking and moaning and sloughing.

I believe this book is meant to be a meta experience; us on an expedition with no clear parameters, reading about them on an expedition with no clear parameters.

I respect the author’s devotion to his method.
But it resulted in me (the reader) not knowing or caring about the outcome. I suspected the plot twist might be that it was all a sim. Not so. At least not yet. Some deranged publisher made this a series.

Was this book written by a school kid? Definitely not. A robot? More likely. If, like me, you find it hard to quit mid-book, this is a pretty horrible commitment. Godspeed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tj
  • 2019-02-20

awesome

I really enjoyed it. loved the movie and changed my view of it forever. has a great atmosphere

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 2018-07-13

The worst audiobook I've ever listened to

The story could have been written by a schoolkid - it just isn't there. The plot is so thin I'm convinced I made it up. There is no character development because there are no characters. It.is.quite.horrible.

To add to it, the performance isn't a performance. Dead pan, basically no inflection. The only reason I didn't award Ms McCormick one star is she had no material to work with.

At the time of writing, it had 8 ratings. I can only wonder whether these were the author's friends & family.. Seriously, don't waste your credit on this drivel.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful