For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border – an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.
The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.
Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.
Initially as the story unfolds and I followed the exploration of this otherworldly place. I was vaguely confused.
There is very little lead into the story, little introduction to where you begin and the world around it, why they are there, where Area X came from. You are just dropped into the story mid way through. However as I continued to read the confusion slipped into an intrigue and I became caught up in the weirdness, on where it was going to lead and what was happening with the characters.
The fact that you are given very little surrounding detail leads to a really interesting vibe in this book and adds to the creepiness. You explore Area X following the expedition as it falls apart and as they come across unexplained structures and try to make sense of why all of this came to be.
“I am walking forever on the path from the border to base camp. It is taking a long time, and I know it will take even longer to get back. There is no one with me. I am all by myself. The trees are not trees the birds are not birds and I am not me but just something that has been walking for a very long time…”
The expedition falls apart very quickly and to be honest I would have like to see more intercharacter interaction and for the downfall to be more prolonged or drawnout but that may have changed the dynamic of the book, and I guess taken away from the sense of solitude that the story conveys with the main character in the second half.
I found this a really interesting read and a unique story line. This is a great lead in to the series and I cannot wait to read the next one, although I hope the next book brings a tiny bit more explanation and fills out the why and how of Area X.
On a side note I absolutely love how this book looks – I know there are different version of the cover but this one really draws the eye and really stands out on my bookcase.
3 out of 5 biscuits