“The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.”
I watched the trailer for the movie for this book some months ago, and have been meaning to read the book ever since then. Sadly, none of my libraries had it, until January that is. Then Library #1 finally had it on their shelves (so I immediately hopped on my bike again (just got home) to grab it). Still I had to wait until my vacation in London to start reading it (and even then it turned out I would only read it at the beginning (airport/flying), 10 pages while in London (too much fun), and the rest when I was back at the airport/flying).
This was a beautiful book, though I have to say, given the trailer, that I had totally different expectations of the book. The trailer is chockful of action, excitement and OMG wow. But the book was calm, not the calm as in easy, but more as calm before the storm, a calm that shows that something is definitely wrong with Area X. There are some faster paced parts, but they are few and far inbetween. Instead the book heavily relies on atmosphere, on descriptions of what is going on in this place, on things that go wrong (and not only this expedition, but also the previous ones). I can say that I never once felt bored once while reading, in fact I just couldn’t stop reading, I wanted to know all I could about this weird place.
I quite liked the characters, or well, specifically our Biologist. She was a great girl, and while at times I couldn’t understand her need for solitude and at times found her a bit too distanced from everyone, she was a brave one, and she was perfect for this Area. Whereas the others still may have ties to the normal world, our biologist doesn’t. Plus this is the perfect place for her. She loves observing, and this place is one big mystery waiting to be solved and discovered.
I loved that the author decided to show her past as well, with her husband. Sure, at first I didn’t get the need to do that, but later on the puzzle parts clicked and also with what we found out later on in the story it just fit perfectly.
Area X is beautifully written, I could imagine everything around me clearly. I could see our expedition discover the tower (or tunnel for some), I could see the village (falling apart). Not only that, I had goosebumps during some of the scenes (either from fear/creepiness or in wonder). We find out more and more with each passage, some of the secrets were pretty OMG (and no, I won’t spoil anything). I still have many questions about the Area. How did it come to existence? Is it really spreading? What is it about the previous expeditions?
I also liked finding out more about our current expedition, though I did feel that at times it was a bit rushed with how quickly everything fell apart.
Phew, I was planning on writing a short review, but in the end it turned quite long. Oopsie! The ending to this book was wonderful, I do wonder what the next book will be about, and if our Biologist ever will find Y or not. Yes, I will definitely be getting/reading book 2. I want to know more about this world, find out more about what the government is hiding, and more.