Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

The Southern Reach Trilogy comes to a whirling end in Acceptance. I can't help but compare it to LOST, with the proper disclaimer that I'm one of those strange people who actually liked the last season of that show and what was explained vs. what wasn't. For this trilogy, I'll just say how I reacted at the end:
-- I'm glad I finished it but I did have to ask myself the question of if I was glad, which shows I wasn't entirely glad, right?
-- I'm fine with the explained-vs.-left-mysterious ratio, and think some interesting biological ideas regarding symbiosis and mimicry are brought into the mix.
-- It's the pacing and "editing" of the multiple storylines that bothered me most of all. I feel like there's more plot in this book than in the two previous, and it becomes confusing because it's jumping around in time through multiple points of view who are changing names and making secret excursions etc. etc. If some of this had been moved to the second book in the trilogy, both books would have benefited. The author seems to want to keep a certain geographical feature secret until it's revealed in this book, and I think that was waiting too long.
-- Finally, religious language is used to give a nicely creepy gothic element, but the religious character is unconvincing. I actually found the religious dimension of LOST, although less overt, much more convincing because it resided deep in the characters, and was as much about philosophy as religion. Here, the element feels painted on for vibe's sake.
For a fragmented book I give a fragmented review, I guess.

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