Authority is the second book in the Southern Reach trilogy. It is very different from the first book and yet not really all that different.
In Annihilation the main character, the Biologist, is coming out of a state of confusion into a world that is full of confusion. This is very evident in the writing and the structure of the story. In Authority the main character, Control (yes that is his name), is grounded in reality and has to learn how to let in the world of Area X into his perception of the world. Because of this difference, Authority is almost like a whole different book.
However, Authority is still very much like Annihilation in the writing. VanderMeer's writing style, to date, in the Southern Reach series is beautiful. You can pick any paragraph in the book and just read the sentences and become enchanted, regardless of the actual plot. The writing in Authority is less lerical then Annihilation, but it is still masterful.
If you want a strong action packed plot, then you may not enjoy this trilogy. The focus is really on language and people. The plot is almost secondary. Yet there is a plot, and it does move forward. I found myself engaged and hooked from the start of the book.
Mission to Methone is a classic alien contact science fiction novel. It is apparent that it was written with the intention of staying true to more the more classic style. I found the novel entertaining and worth the read, but it did fall short of spectacular.
I found the writing well done. While it was not overwhelmingly beautiful, it also was not distracting from the story. The characters were each distinct and unique, although the side characters could have been given more dimension. Chris, the main character, is (per the author) on the autism spectrum. There is nothing in the book that would spell this out, but there are fine points that the author wove in. I read the annotated version of this book (from PageHabit) and was minorly annoyed that the author called Chris someone the reader was not meant to like. Ok, I admit I was actually kind of pissed off. I found his character quite enjoyable and fitting. I thought the description of him being on the spectrum was suttle and mostly well played. I also enjoyed how he was able to stay in the center of the team making first contact. He was quite enjoyable, and having autism does not make one unlikable - although, I have been called that a bit in my life. So, maybe there is more truth to that then I wish to explore. But back to the review.
I did question some of the motivating factors of both the humans and the aliens. While I appreciated where Johnson went with the book, I also think that he could have gone further. It was still a solid read and well worth my time.
School for Psychics is the first book in a series about a top secret university for students who possess psychic abilities. The school is divided into the misfits who had no idea they were psychic and as a result were always in trouble, and the students who come from long lines of psychics. The books seem like they plan to follow the school year format - where the book starts at the beginning of the school year and there are mysteries that do not get solved until the end of the year.
While the book was a fairly interesting read there were obvious plot holes. At one point a character is invited to attend a school saintened event, yet she had to sneak over on a contraband student boat. There were also human behaviors that sent up red flags that were instantly dismissed, only to become important at the end. When someone tries to kill you, you do not just brush it aside.
The book itself is well written. While it could be more polished, there were no major spelling or grammar errors. The writing did not always flow as well as it could though.
The story was interesting and had potential, however I do not think that I will be continuing on reading the rest of books in this series.
This site may contain affiliate links, these links refer back to products. They do not cost the consumer any additional money. They do help fund the blog. In addition, some books may be provided to the site for free in exchange for an honest review, others come from the library, others are obtained for free off Amazon, some come from my private purchase. Regardless of how the books were obtained all reviews are my honest opinion.