The first book in this series, City of Saints and Madmen, I reviewed here. City of Saints and Madmen. Hey look at that! I hope the link works. I’ve never done that before. Instead of writing two reviews over two less than stellar books, I thought I would combine them and maybe try to pull some good out of each.
Let me say that these books are not my thing, but still really well written and overall worth looking in to. City is a story collection, of sorts. Very funny, very creative, but I just couldn’t get into it. The second book, Shriek, isn’t a sequel of the first because, well, how do you have a sequel to a story collection? Shriek tells the story of Duncan Shriek, as told by his sister, Janice. Duncan (I won’t explain how) also helps narrate the story. There were some great parts in this book, but overall, I just wasn’t interested in what happened. I gave this one 2 stars.
Finch was definitely better. And you do need to read Shriek to fully understand Finch. The trilogy isn’t one of chronological succession, but rather spin offs and still conjoined in their madness. And I mean madness in a good way. Let’s start with the Gray Caps. These are mushroom-like people who live in Ambergris. Stories about them are woven through all three books, but they are prominently featured in Finch. About another person, Finch, who is a detective trying to solve a murder, goes through an evolution of mind, body, and soul in the process of solving it. I thought this book was much more gripping. I wanted to know what happened to Finch, who was murdered, and ultimately how everything was wrapped up. 3 stars for this one.
The author, Jeff VanderMeer, is still Aok in my book. I plan to reread the Southern Reach trilogy this year. And I NEVER reread books this quickly, but I really need to dig into them and see what Easter eggs I can found. I definitely see how Ambergris and Area X came from the same mind. I just think Area X is more polished of the two regions. And soon to be a movie starring Natalie Portman. Highly recommend Southern Reach and will review when I revisit them.