Matt’s Reviews: Acceptance (Southern Reach Book 3) by Jeff Vandermeer

Book Cover: Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

  •  Publisher:               Blackstone Publishing
  •  Publication Date:   2014
  •  Format:                  CD
  •  Disk Count:            8 Disks
  •  Recording Length: 9.5 hours
  •   ISBN 10:               1-4830-1603-X
  •  ISBN 13:                978-1-4830-1603-0
  •  Author:                   Jeff Vandermeer
  •  Read by:                Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, Xe Sands


Acceptance (Southern Reach book 3) by Jeff Vandermeer is a good follow up to Annihilation and Authority, but is not a great follow up.   I enjoyed all three books in the series, and I recommend you read the entire trilogy.  However, I do think the overall quality deteriorated very slightly from the first to the second book, and a little more in the third.  I can’t note any major specific problems with the third book, but it did not keep me as engaged.

Vandermeer does a fine job at answering some questions and maintaining the mystery of Area X.  The book bounces around in time giving historical and current perspectives of different characters:  the lighthouse keeper before the border arose around Area X and his glimpses of the beginnings of the Area,  the previous director (aka The Psychologist) and her childhood in the area and her experiences leading up to the 12th expedition, and Control and Ghost Bird who have re-entered Area X by a previously unknown route only to encounter Grace, the assistant director of the Southern Reach. 

I admit I was a little disappointed in Acceptance, not because it was not good, but because it was not as good.   In his attempts to demonstrate the weird nature of Area X, the author spends a lot of time describing various weird things.  Weird creatures, weird people, weird happenings.  This is a weird book so that is understandable, but the nature of the weird does not seem consistent.  It is almost as if he had a bunch of unconnected ideas about weird things and describes them all very well but never really ties them together.  Area X is supposed to be unexplainable and I am fine with it being left somewhat in the dark, but some of the weirdness does not seem to fit into a coherent whole.  Maybe that is the point.  Maybe the incongruity is planned to get the reader to experience some of the discontinuity that the characters are experiencing.

I did enjoy this book and it is a satisfactory conclusion to the Southern Reach Trilogy (though apparently there will be at least one more book in the series).  It maintains the enigmatic nature of the previous books and brings together the past with the current timelines to give some explanations as to what might be behind the area.  It also supports the notion that the area is so alien to our understanding to be beyond our understanding.  Even as it explains some of the mystery, it maintains and even builds on that mystery.  

The Southern Reach Trilogy are, all three, good books with a really great overall story.  I will likely get around to reading the next book the series when it is released, but I have to admit that it will not be at the top of my must-read list.



Try  Plastivore by Matt Truxaw

Book Cover: Plastivore by Matt Truxaw

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