Book Review: The Year of the Flood y Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Posted August 29, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood

by Margaret Atwood

Series: MaddAddam #2
Publisher: Doubleday on September 22, 2009
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Adult
Representation: BIPOC Character(s), Black Character(s)
Content Warnings: Abandonment, Animal Death, Blood, Cancer, Cannibalism, Death, Genocide, Grief, Gun Violence, Infidelity, Kidnapping, Misogyny, Murder, Pedophilia, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Content, Sexual Violence, Suicide, Terminal Illness, Violence

Rating: ★★

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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...

 

I found The Year of the Flood to be overall underwhelming.  It’s a sort of prequel/sequel/adjacent story to Oryx and Crake.  It failed to offer the same scientific intrigue as the first book set in this world.  Instead, there were environmental preachings through the facade of a religious cult which included feast day sermons and hymns.  The characters remained interesting, but the plot development was so slow, and I don’t feel this book added much to the world.

The Year of the Flood follows two women who were part of the same religious cult called God’s Gardeners.  The Gardeners warned about the coming of the second flood – this time, an invisible flood instead of a physical one.  They also encouraged their practitioners to be vegan and to learn and practice things in a more organic, earthy way.  Toby began her life outside the Gardeners and was brought to them, while Ren was with them most of her childhood, then left.

The pacing is a real struggle because there is so much lead up to the actual time with the Gardeners.  The first 15% or so of the book could have been cut entirely.  In fact, most of the book is backstory on the women to show how they got where they are.  In Oryx and Crake, this made more sense because Jimmy’s story showed the coming of the true dystopia as he watched things come together and then fall apart.  Here, it’s almost fan fiction.  The women on their own are intriguing enough, but because we already know so much of the world, their own stories don’t add anything.  They’re also contrasting romantic/sexual stories… sort of.  One is of hiding and eventually vengeance against a man who repeatedly raped one of them, the other of a broken heart.

What bothers me the most about the two weaving storylines – other than the complete lack of momentum – is that neither is really resolved.  Even though things happen, they weren’t dramatic enough to offer a true sense of closure.  And the frequency of which both men intertwined within each of the women’s lives called out too many coincidences for me.  I know a story like this isn’t meant to be realistic, but generally speaking the world should press on the unbelievable, not the plot.

The Year of the Flood required a lotto patience.  Oryx and Crake did too, but I at least felt that the book delivered on some level.  The Year of the Flood doesn’t deliver anything worth your time, but it does describe repeated rape, infidelity, drug use, gruesome murders that exist for no reason, and more.

Give it a pass.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Plot:
Characters: ★★
Writing: ★★
Pacing: ★★
Narrator: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment:

2 Star rating

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problematic author code red

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Would you be able to survive alone in a desolate world?  For me, I think it depends on the state of the world.  If I was truly alone I could manage, but I’m not good with predators so that wouldn’t work out for me.  What about you? Let me know in the comments!

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