Authority (Southern Reach #2) – Jeff VanderMeer



What a complete and utter disappointment. I absolutely loved the first novel, Annihilation, so I went into the second with high expectations. Unfortunately, those expectations were demolished.

Authority picks up almost immediately after Annihilation with a new main character that goes by the name Control. He’s appointed as the director of Southern Reach and is tasked with exploring the mystery of Area X. Unfortunately, all Control does is have pointless conversations and engage in office politics and maneuvering.

This book is 200 pages too long. There aren’t any exciting moments or big revelations. Authority feeds the reader small pieces of information and answers throughout the entire novel. These morsels of information are supposed to keep the reader engaged and intrigued. It kept me interested for about the first 50 pages until I recognized the pattern. The office politics are at the forefront of this novel. They’re confusing, annoying, and frustrating because the interesting and intriguing information is sprinkled throughout the unimportant descriptions of bureaucracy.

Despite my mostly negative review, there were a few moments that had me glued to the page, namely, Control’s interviews with the Biologist. They were engaging, fascinating, and forces the reader to pay attention. However, these interviews were few and far between.


Overall, Authority is a huge disappointed after the majesty that was Annihilation. Authority features little intrigue, a useless plot, and a feeling of wasted time after finishing the novel.

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