Authority ... and More Mysteries

Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy, #2)Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in Jeff VanderMeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy is a real surprise. It is very different from the first book in style, characterization, and length. (See There is more emphasis on the clandestine than the eerie. It reminded me more of Cormac McCarthy than H. P. Lovecraft, with its mirroring of the desolation of both spirit and environment, and the central role of dark truths. If the conflict in "Annihilation" (the first book in the trilogy) lay in the confrontation with the supernatural, the conflict in "Authority" is more between people, and within the main character, "Control." The appellation is ironic, for he has no control, can exert no control, and is himself controlled by others. In general, the story is one where the reader sees events are leading inexorably to the world "going to hell in a handbasket." Given the differences between the first two books, it's hard to imagine what the third book will be like, but like the first two it will undoubtedly be a riveting story.

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