2015 Reading Challenge, Book 22: The Yesr of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

This is the follow up to the wonderful Oryx and Crake. We see the events before, during and after the catastrophe from the point of view of two characters: Ren and Toby. When we first meet them, both are trapped; Toby in a health/beauty spa and Ren in the medical isolation unit of the exotic dance nightclub she works at. There’s a lot to love in this book, the wider context of the world and how it works as told through the experiences of these two characters, and the chance to revisit characters from Oryx and Crake through different eyes. I loved the (as ever) meaty intellectual subtext and the fabulous speculative elements, all of it presses my ecocriticism buttons. Brilliant stuff.

I didn’t however enjoy the Gardeners, who were the central axis of this book, the organised religious element of their movement was not appealing and the sections holding sermons by their leader given to his flock as they hide from the flood didn’t do anything much for me. I skipped or skimmed most. I also felt the sexual violence was unnecessary in this book, it added no real weight, the story could have existed without it or with only the implication of it, and the violence at the end felt out of place. The perpetrators were quite tough as they were survivors of a televised survival game for convicts but their ringleader struck me as the sort to die quickly rather than become stronger. And his constant, random appearences, especially after it was strongly suggested he’d died, seemed to only happen for added “tension” I didn’t buy the need for.

All in though a terrific book, and I look forward to reading the (I believe) final book in this series, MaddAdam.

You can find this book on Amazon UK here

And on Amazon US here

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