Acceptance is the concluding volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Where the first volume told the story of the 12th expedition into Area X and the second looked at things from the perspective of the organisation tasked with sending those expeditions in to investigate, this final volume brings both sides of the story together as surviving characters deal with the aftermath of earlier events and try once again to understand the anomaly from the inside.
Why did I want to read it?
I just love this series of books and hated having to wait quite so long to get my hands on the final volume. Even though I was in the middle of something else when this arrived on my Kindle app I just had to start reading, and I finished it in a single Saturday’s concentrated effort. Though it really wasn’t an effort at all, I was totally absorbed.
What did I think of it?
I really really liked Acceptance, I thought it was a very fitting conclusion to the series and brought together existing strands and themes very well while still managing to introduce new material, including quite a few flashbacks which explained some of the background to both what Area X is and how it came to be. I found myself really committed to the characters and the growing sense of otherness and weirdness was gripping, especially to someone like me who has a great love for all things strange. It manages to balance the creepiness of a Lovecraft tale with real human drama as characters I had come to care about dealt with their experiences.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because this is a book that only makes senses if you have read its predecessors. What I will say though is that I will definitely re-read this trilogy and I have already sought out more of VanderMeer’s work. Though I can understand why some readers have found the lack of a complete set of answers a bit frustrating I rather liked the open ending. Really really enjoyed it.