this was like reading a long recounting of someone's very vivid, incredibly strange dream. it's all very wispy, and dream-like, and weird in a vaguely menacing way, and my god, i hated it. i couldn't wait for it to end, frankly.
it seemed abundantly clear to me early on that i wasn't going to learn anything of substance about the mysterious Area X, (I suspect - i hope - things become more clear in the other two books), nor did i particularly care about any of the characters. now i'm not the kind of reader who has to like her protagonists, but i should at least care how their story will unfold, otherwise why am i here? and i just didn't care, here. in fact, i wanted them all to go away, however vaguely Vandemeer chose to describe their demise.
for such a short book, i found it incredibly oppressive. perhaps that was the point - to give the reader a sense for how it would feel to actually be in Area X. if that's the case, then mission accomplished. i found this book so oppressively boring in the end (really, how interested would you be if someone took days of your life to describe their weird dream to you?), that i have no desire to volunteer for another disastrous expedition to Area X by reading the other two novels. i intend to stay far, far away.
so. not recommended. but, as i said before, many, many people really liked (alert: spoilers) this book and the trilogy as a whole. so maybe there's something that i'm just not getting. as it stands, i truly don't like books where a lot happens, but nothing really happens at all - which is what happened here. bleh. i'm just happy i can now move on to more enjoyable things...