The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Title: The Year of the Flood
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Anchor Books
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Source: Personal copy
Summary (back of the book)
Set in the visionary future of Atwood’s acclaimed and unforgettable Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood is at once a moving tale of lasting friendship and a landmark work of speculative fiction. In this second book of the MaddAddam trilogy, the long-feared waterless flood has occurered, altering Earth as we know it and obliterating most human life. Among the survivors are Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, who is barricaded inside a luxurious spa. Amid shadowy, corrupt ruling powers and new, gene-spliced forms, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move, but they can’t stay locked away.
The Year of the Flood follows a similar format to Oryx and Crake. We begin in the post-apocalyptic world – referred thereafter as The Waterless Flood. Through flashbacks we see both the backstories for Ren and Toby and also fill in gaps about what was happening on Earth just before The Waterless Flood began. This being a re-read, I found myself connecting more dots between Jimmy’s story, and also see where The Year of the Flood is setting up the finale to the trilogy, MaddAddam. I rarely do re-reads, so this is always a surprise benefit for me.
I remember the first time I read this series. I found this book a little hard to get into because I was expecting to pick up Jimmy’s storyline. It took me awhile to get invested in these new characters and their situations. But once I understood what the book was trying to do, I was all on board. I ultimately thoroughly enjoyed how The Year of the Flood expands this amazing world that Atwood has built. In Oryx and Crake, Jimmy lived on a compound owned by a corporation, so our understanding of Earth’s reality is very constricted. Ren and Toby are outside that sterile world in an area referred to as the Pleeblands. The situation there is completely different and gives the reader an expanded view.
When reading a series, sometimes I find book 2 to be lacking, especially if I really loved the first book. It feels like there’s a lot to live up to. This book wasn’t one of those situations. I found it just as engaging, if not more engaging. Once I understood that we were approaching Jimmy’s reality via another set of characters.