My Four Star Review of Authority, the Second Book in the Southern Reach Trilogy

Much like the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is easy to read, engaging, somewhat addictive, and beautifully written. And yet, I still can’t say that I enjoy this series as much as I would like to. I still get the feeling that there’s no there there, that I am going to finish the third book and none of the questions will be answered, that the author has created a world too rich, too complex, too mysterious to ever adequately explain it. Authority answered some questions, but no where near as many as I had hoped and no where near as completely as I would have liked. It also seems as though the book is filled with inexplicable decisions/stubbornness by the various characters that seemingly had no purpose but to stretch the plot to where it could be sustained for 300 pages.

I find myself in a strange place with these books. I like them, I really do, and yet the reviews I’ve written for the first two entries have been somewhat negative (not to mention rambling). In part, I am still reserving judgment until I have read the last book. I am, however, beginning to wonder why these books weren’t one or two volumes. Yes, they’d make a long single book–900 or so pages. But I think a good editor could have shortened book two considerably without losing anything necessary, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the same thing about the third one. Not that much of a big deal–I’ve never been a fan of editing just for the purpose of editing–but I feel like this series is a somewhat large financial investment given the return.

Anyway, I really am rambling now. To put it more succinctly, these books are worth reading, but something seems to be missing. And I’m not sure I am going to find it.

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