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book reviews in 200 words

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January 2018

Southern Reach Trilogy – a book series review in 300 words

Southern Reach Trilogy

(Annihilation, Authority & Acceptance)

by

Jeff VanderMeer

 

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer is beautifully written. And, well, weird.

I very rarely buy books at full retail price anymore. But after multiple recommendations from people I trust, I decided to buy Annihilation and give it a try. (Plus, those covers – hard to resist!)

Annihilation follows a group of “explorers” as they go into an area in the southern United States called Area X. No one knows what Area X is exactly, even though it has been part of the landscape for over 30 years. Sometimes people come back from their expeditions, sometimes not. There’s a lighthouse, lots of suspicious behavior and loads of crazy developments. The book could be read as a stand alone, but there is also a cliff-hanger, so…

Immediately upon finishing Annihilation, I bought Authority and then Acceptance. Full price, at my local bookstore. Each book is written in a different style and from different character points of view. I can only say that reading these books is like an intense and beautiful fever dream. (I know I’m not giving you much of an idea about plot, but I’m not sure I could do it justice or that I fully understand what happened yet. So unhelpful.)

If you enjoy experimental fiction, alternate realities, strange events, science fiction, mysteries, really excellent writing, conspiracy theories, monsters and/or unexplained phenomena, and if you are totally okay with stories with no definitive ending or an absolute explanation of what has happened, you will enjoy this trilogy! And even if you don’t currently like these things, you should still try this out – just for fun!

When you are done, you can go join the conversation online about what really happened and what you actually read. Also, look for the movie when it is released later this year.

Rating: 90/100

 

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – a book review in 200 words

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

 

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“Over these many years, I have observed both profound folly and breathtaking wisdom among humankind. They balance each other like dancers in the throes of a passionate tango.” – The Thunderhead

I don’t remember ever loving the second book in a series more than I love this one. The world that Shusterman introduced in Scythe is taken to an entirely different level in Thunderhead.

The continued adventures of Scythe Lucifer (Rowan) and Scythe Anasthasia (Citra) have incredible consequences for the Schythedom and the rest of North Merica. All of the characters from the first book have returned; and the introduction of a new character, Greyson Tolliver, and the Thunderhead as an actual “character” in the novel changed my perspective on this entire near-future Earth – in a way I could not have anticipated.

What happens when the world is threatened but humanity is too complacent to pay attention or even care about what is happening? You will see.

This smart, thoughtful, action-packed series will make you think about your place in the world. If you believe there is not tremendously great teen fiction out there, this series will change your mind. Unfortunately, the third in the series does not even have a name yet – so I will wait in frenzied anticipation for the wrap-up to this story. Hurry up, Neal Shusterman, I need to know how this ends!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 92/100

Buy it January 9, 2018, at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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