Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
Book 2 in the Southern Reach Trilogy: After the failure of the 12th Expedition the Director is missing. Control is sent to Southern Reach to take her job. His task is to look at the information with fresh eyes and determine what caused Area X to form.
First Impressions: Authority has the same tone as Book 1 but I didn’t find Control a particularly interesting character.
Highlights: I liked seeing things through a different character’s eyes. The physical descriptions of the people linked to Southern Reach was interesting as all the vital characters seemed to have a mixed ethnicity. I wondered if this was relevant but it was not revealed. I also liked finding out more about Area X as Control had access to more information than the Biologist in Book 1.
If I was an editor: As talented a descriptive writer Vandermeer is, I would take a pen and trim this novel right down. Conversations are interrupted by pages of description and by the time the conversations resumed I often had to flick back to remember what the characters were talking about. Not enjoyable on a Kindle! One review I read suggested that the three books in the trilogy all but cut down to form three parts of one novel. I haven’t read Book 3 but suspect this is a fine idea based on what I have read. My initial impression about Control was correct – I found him boring and didn’t really care about the dynamics of his personal life. I was hoping Control would really probe the mystery that is Area X but none of the theories were well drawn out (yet terrior was overdone) and the clues were few and far between. I wasn’t expecting The X Files but I was expecting… something.
Overall: Don’t think I’m brave enough for Book 3.
Authority: 2 stars