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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Year of the Flood

Title: The Year of the Flood
Series: The MaddAddam Trilogy
Genre: Dystopian Fiction

Originally Published: September 22, 2009
Format: Audio Book
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Publisher: Random House Audio
ISBN: 9780739383988
Source: Scribd

The Story

Year of the FloodFrom the Scribd product page:

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God’s Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren’s bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . .

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo’hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can’t stay locked away . . .

By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.

The Response

Soooooooo… I didn’t realize that this was the second in a trilogy until about a day after I finished it. Going into this, all I knew was that I needed a Margaret Atwood book for this year’s #ReadingBingo challenge. I didn’t know anything about her books (which I had never previously read, even though Handmaid’s Tale is often taught in schools) other than the fact that some people classify them as speculative fiction, and some people really don’t enjoy her books. Also the fact that she’s CanLit, and we all know the my relationship with CanLit is a little rocky at the best of times.

Overall, I liked this book. It didn’t feel like the middle book in a trilogy – you know, the type of middle book that just gives filler and is used as a device to get the reader really for the last book, without actually telling a story in itself. As I mentioned, I didn’t know this was the second in a trilogy. It never ever occurred to me. I mean, yes, when the characters Oryx and Crake were mentioned, I recognized the names, and figured it was a companion novel or took place in the same universe. So it was really good that it didn’t need the first to be understood! Someone new the universe doesn’t need to know what happened in the previous book to enjoy this one.

The way the book switched from past to present was sometimes a little confusing – especially considering the fact that I was listening to an audiobook, and not actually physically reading any cues that could have better indicated what was a flashback. But at the same time, it gave a really good glimpse into the world this takes place in, and really allowed us to get to know everything about who the two main characters are, their relationship to each other, and how they are able to survive in the current world.

The guy who narrates Oryx and Crake plays a fairly large part in Ren’s previous life, and I can say that now that I’ve read this, I don’t think I’ll be able to go back and read the first in the trilogy. Seeing him through Ren’s eyes made him utterly dislikable to me, and I fear that reading a book from his perspective would be tainted by how I saw him in The Year of the Flood.

That said, I’m excited that the last book in the trilogy is narrated by both Toby (again) and Zeb, who I thought was one of the more interesting secondary characters in the novels.

Atwood does the dystopian, speculative fiction thing really well. It’s possible, when reading this book, to believe that this could really actually happen… and that is a terrifying thought. The world that she created was gritty and grey, but with spots of absolute hope woven throughout it. It makes me feel like maybe the world she created (and our world if events like this ever comes to fruition) isn’t completely doomed.

The Bottom Line

I’ve already added MaddAddam to my library in Scribd – I’m definitely looking forward to reading it. I’d definitely recommend this one to scifi fans.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:15 pm July 29, 2015.
Category: Speculative Fiction
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