Area X has been abandoned by civilization for decades. Now Southern Reach, a secret organization, are the only ones who dare to send expeditions into the area. The mission is to explore the unknown land and report back to base about any mysterious or unnatural events. But when the 12th expedition is set in motion, the group members quickly discover that Area X is far worse than imagined and nature has taken over with its own rules for what is scientifically possible.
We follow our main character on her journey through Area X but in a very unusual way. People are personalized through their role on the expedition instead of given names – our MC is only known as the biologist while her group members include the anthropologist, the surveyor and the psychologist. Together they move through the alien land, in the footsteps of the previous expeditions, where they discover bizarre animals and evolved species of organisms.
Along the way, the biologist begins to unfold a web of lies told by Southern Reach. The organization clearly knows more about Area X than they shared and with her group members acting strange and being infected by an alien organism herself, she doesn’t know who to trust or which footsteps to follow. What the rest of her group members doesn’t know, is that she has a very personal attachment to Area X and as the story progress, we’re given more and more glimpses into her background.
This is an insanely weird book. There’s hardly any dialogue and since the writing style is so descriptive and scientific, this short book can feel very long and slow paced at times. It definitely took some of the joy away from an otherwise VERY interesting story. Area X is like no other place I have ever read about and it’s fascinating to accompany our MC on this journey.
If you like sci-fi that feels like a fever dream and you don’t care too much about dialogue, this is a great book for you!
Page count: 195
Also, I highly recommend the 2018 movie adaption starring Natalie Portman! It’s visually stunning, emotional and creepy but it doesn’t feel slow paced like the book and you get a lot more action and straight on sci-fi.
Check out more about the 2018 movie adaption here on imdb