Customer Reviews for

The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy #2)

Average Rating 4
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(109)

4 Star

(76)

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(33)

2 Star

(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Here comes the (waterless) flood!

Margaret Atwood's latest book The Year of the Flood is another of her dystopian offerings. It's many years in the future (Atwood never gives an exact date), and humans have finally managed to destroy much in the natural world. Many animal species are extinct, pollution ...
Margaret Atwood's latest book The Year of the Flood is another of her dystopian offerings. It's many years in the future (Atwood never gives an exact date), and humans have finally managed to destroy much in the natural world. Many animal species are extinct, pollution is rampant, weather is out of control, and society is buckling down to live out the days the best they can. Into all this comes the "waterless flood", a disaster that has wiped out nearly all the humans in the world. At least two have survived: Toby, the manager of a high-end spa who has barricaded herself inside; and Ren, a dancer/prostitute who was in the "sticky zone" (a type of sick bay) when the disaster hit. Now, separately, the two have to try to survive in this strange new unpeopled world. Will they ever find each other? And, the bigger question: did anyone else survive?

I really liked this book; it's not only a great read but very thought-provoking as well. The story is told with flashbacks to Ren and Toby's former lives, which added a lot to the book; it made an interesting contrast to see what things were like before the waterless flood. Toby is tough, smart, and resourceful; and it's always wonderful to see a strong female protaganist (one reason I love Atwood's books). I also thought Atwood did an excellent job of showing how bad things could possibly get on earth in the years to come, without being preachy about it.

I did have two minor quibbles about the book, which is why I gave it four stars instead of five. The first was the annoyingly cute futuristic names many of the things are given: "Anooyoo", "violet biolet", "SekSmart", "Mo'hairs", "Sea/H/Ear candy", "liobams" (if names will really be this cheesy in the future than the world is indeed in trouble;-)!. Yes, it's a very minor thing, but for some reason it grated on my nerves a bit. The other quibble I can't say without giving away spoilers, but it has to do with some coincidences that happen towards the end of the book. I didn't find these coincidences to be very plausible.

Minor quibbles non-withstanding, I could barely tear myself away from the pages of this book. I highly recommend it, especially if you like your sci-fi with a mix of great literature.

posted by kren250 on August 1, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Dissappointed

I've got to say first, I'm a fan. A huge one. And Oryx and Crake was just awesome... but this, well, it just didn't cut it for me. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's timing. But it felt like a meander down another author's attempt at her writing. It just didn't hold together or ...
I've got to say first, I'm a fan. A huge one. And Oryx and Crake was just awesome... but this, well, it just didn't cut it for me. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's timing. But it felt like a meander down another author's attempt at her writing. It just didn't hold together or share the sense of solid storytelling I've come to expect from this author. Skip it. Get all the others instead. Buy them twice, they are worth it. Not a loser in the bunch. She's allowed this one I guess.

posted by copysquirl on December 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Very much a 2nd in a trilogy

    Builds on themes from Oryx and Crake but not as dramatic

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  • Posted December 22, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    Dear Ms. Atwood - surely there must be one more book in this 'trilogy'! I read Year of the Flood first, then Oryx and Crake - OMG! Please, please, just a little more! I must read them both again, and soon! Yet, surely there must be more! You are the best - many thanks!
    DebraE

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Makes you think

    Love margaret atwood. Great read and gets you thinking

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    !!

    wonderful

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Must READ

    If you loved the handmaids tale you will love This book!

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Read "Oryx and Crake" first

    ....they sort of go together, and if I'd read "O&C" first, I would have liked its main character better. I love the main character in this one (Ren), and her scrappy friend, Amanda. Ren's mother is a piece of work - even I would make a better mother than Lucerne, and I don't want kids! This book shows the end result when a society cares more about instant gratification and short-term gains than anything else.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It's good...

    But not as good as Atwoods other works. Universe building is hard. It's harder in writing than even in TV or movies - TV and movies have an extra sense available to them (sight) that books don't have. But Atwood is great at using certain details to create worlds in her novels. In "Oryx and Crake" Atwood created a world that was well thought out and lyrical in it's intensity. In "the year of the flood" she doesn't add much to it... But she does flesh it out further. And that's good.

    But still... But still it lacks the depth of character so many of her novels have had. I came to the end fascinated but still not really caring about the characters. I also have to add that the concerns in the novel have already been well picked over in Atwoods earlier novels, so there just isn't much new stuff here.

    All of that said, I highly recommend it - especially for the readers of the earlier "Oryx and Crake" but also for the more general audience (The novel can stand on it's own too - don't worry about the idea of this being a sequel - it's more of a parallel story).

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Good, but not as great as other Margaret Atwood novels

    While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I believe that I had higher expectations for the novel that were just not reached. As a big Margaret Atwood fan, I was looking for something more in-depth, something more complex and complicated, something greater than it turned out to be. After just recently finishing Oryx and Crake, I was so looking forward to the conclusion of that book, yet this only gave me a small glimpse into the connection of these two novels, and not really until the very end of the book. Oryx and Crake left so many questions, and this book did not allow itself to develop into answers. The ending felt so rushed, something that I don't feel many of Atwood's books do.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Fiction (Sci-fi) to come along since her last in this series

    Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood is a masterpiece of a sequel - or if all goes well - the second in a trilogy. Her ability to cover all the bases of the scenario in a chapter by using narrative and dialogue but without bogging us down in facts makes the reading very entertaining as well as informative. Not a detail is left to wonder about - it's amazing - and her characters are, by turns, filled in, filled out - good and bad, smart and foolish, brave and frightened -- the science in the story is wonderfully woven throughout the passion and pathos -- and the humour beneath everything is a lesson to keep. The poetess in her comes through but is not the focus (in describing a burial in the park, as an example) -- I can hardly wait to see how it all comes together in the third installment. She is a writer who takes her time before giving her work over to the public and I know she will make sure every stitch is in place before we see the next one. (First was Oryx and Crake - brilliant!)

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    Great book that looks at a possible future for us

    Really enjoyed this ebook, although I found some of the doctrine speeches a little boring. Loved the way it tied all sorts of people together. The ending was good, but I was definitely left with the feeling of "Ok, good ending, but then what happened?"

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Atwood has cornered the market on futuristic lit

    I am not saying this is her best but it is certainly thought provoking. The characters cover the range of human traits; some likable, some not, some creepy, some downright evil. Atwood's writing style is unique and may not appeal to all. Sometimes her message get's a little heavy-handed. But overall this is a thought-provoking read and a provocative comment on our drug-obsessed society.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    BRAVE NEW WORLD?

    On the surface the plot appears to be far fetched - a human engineered plague wipes out most of mankind with the exception of a few members of an environmental cult and three psychotic convicts. However, much of the world Atwood describes seems familiar which gives the characters and plot credence. This tends to make us more susceptible to the message inherent in Atwood's version of society. The message would not appear to be "preachy" if Atwood's distrust and dislike of big corporate business was not so obvious.

    Cities are gang controlled and the gangs controlled by big corporations, the middle class is extinct as people either live in tenements or ritzy corporate compounds, dissidents are tracked down and eliminated by corporate agencies, the world is hotter and more barren, fast food establishments market "mystery burgers" reminiscent of "soyent green", and strange animals and stranger people are bioengineered.

    The main characters have depth though the supporting cast may be a bit shallow. There is also more than a little irony associated with the main characters. Toby felt she was being opportunistic in taking refuge with "God's Gardeners" but internalized their message. Ren, a high end sex club entertainer, felt safer than most of the populace in her special Biofilm Bodyglove. Leaders of God's Gardeners, Adams and Eves, strive to link current events with their ideology, special Saint's days and celebrations and the result often seems reasonable and just as often appears humorous. Their sermons and hymns (available on compact disc with music) are unique lead-ins to many of the chapters. I struggled with the ending. Whether the message is that if we let events reach this point, there is little hope or whether it signified a brave new world with a brave new beginning appears to depend on the interpretation of the reader.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Attwood's unique style gives great depth to her characters

    This was the first Margret Attwood book I've read and I must say I found it quite impressive. Any fan of futuristic "end of the world" type Sci-Fi is certain to enjoy this book. The story follows the plight of a cult of religious environmentalist thru the waterless flood of a civilization ending pandemic. Attwood utilizes a rarely seen method of telling the story not only from the view point of two different characters but from two different point of view styles of writing. Creating a unique portal thru which the reader not only gets to experience living the events through two separate lives but is able to jump in and out of the two very different personas with ease. It's the depth of not only the two main characters but also the ancillary characters that make this book a great read.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    If we keep going in this direction...

    In The Year of the Flood, Atwood reveals the world's impending disaster through the eyes of two women, Ren and Toby. They have both become part of a cult-like group called the Gardeners, which attempts to combine survival skills and respect for the Earth with ideas from both the Bible and science. The book is framed by the sermons of their leader, Adam One.

    What makes Margaret Atwood's science fiction books so fascinating is her ability to portray where our current events will lead us if we continue on the same path. In flashbacks, we learn how Toby's family was destroyed because her father would not sell his land to developers. In my community, a woman who refused to sell her land is having her home shattered by the blasting of the consturction company. Toby's mother becomes ill and the insurance company refuses to cover her care, just as we read headlines about people dying because insurance companies refuse coverage. We later learn that the vitamins Toby's mother took were the very cause of her demise and I listen to broadcasts explaining how pharmaceutical companies create artificial demand for their products.

    Atwood portrays the breakdown of nature and society. The greed of corporations and their dangerous experiments with genetic engineering is a theme threaded throughout the book, although more directly addressed in Oryx and Crake. The privatization of the police force echoes the privatization of our military services and warns of abuse of such power. The world becomes lawless, with women used and abused, people murdered for their organs, and criminals hardened into violent brutes by the bizarre penal system.

    The Year of the Flood is fascinating and wise, yet it is not as engrossing as Oryx and Crake, which crosses paths with this novel. The characters are not as engaging and the plot is less powerful, perhaps because of the technique of framing the story with Adam One's sermons and the extensive use of flashbacks.
    See my website for more reviews: www.MarshaWaldman.com

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fans of Oryx and Crake Should Love this Novel

    Margaret Atwood is a brilliant writer! I started to read this book, and then stopped and went back and re-read Oryx and Crake, then read this book. While The Year of the Flood is not a sequel to Oryx and Crake, I would highly recommend reading Oryx and Crake first, because there is background that you should know. The time period takes place before and during the time period of Oryx and Crake. Atwood is a genius at creating well developed characters and weaving a such a compelling and believable story, that I am completely immersed in her novel. It's a futuristic story (I think it is more futuristic than it is science fiction), where man is finally destroying the planet, has destroyed most of the original species of animals and replaced them with genetically altered animals, genetically altered plants, and huge corporations are controlling everything from the food supply to supplements and pharmaceuticals. Um, that sounds familiar. What is happening in the Flood is something that isn't implausible.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not a fan this time

    I've always found Atwood to be interesting, but this book was a yawner. To much of the plot, the setting and the back story were full of created words and concepts; so much so that it took several pages to hit my stride and feel as though I could connect to anyone in the book. The Painballers are shells of real characters - cartoons, really and not in an intellectual way. Ren and Toby would be more sympathetic if the background story wasn't so disjointed, and none of the Gardeners has enough depth to be the least bit sympathetic or interesting. If that was done on purpose, I can't see the why. As usual there is social and political commentary at many levels, but this time I didn't feel as though any of it was nested in enough character and plot to carry the day. Making the bridge to the Snowman and the "blue" folks at the end would have been baffling had I not read ORYX AND CRAKE already.
    Not a fan this time, sorry to say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Flood Sweeps Past--An interesting read, but is it worth your time?

    Margaret Atwood's book "The Year of the Flood" takes place in a futuristic time when humans have practically destroyed the world. It tells the story of two women who survive what is known as the "waterless flood," a plague that sweeps throughout the entire world, killing all people in its path. Toby, a member of a cult called "God's Gardeners" led by Adam One, is left alone at the AnooYoo Spa. Ren, a trapeze dancer at the sex-club Scales and Tails, is locked inside, everyone around her dead or gone. Outside, gene-spliced animals run wild. The book explores their thoughts, hopes, and past experiences, as well their decisions about what to do next, as they cannot stay locked away forever.

    This story is original and creative as it explores the frightening possible future of the world we know today. However, though interesting, I would not say that it is a good read. The tale is very dark at times, and the religious principals of God's Gardeners are confusing. Many terms are unfamiliar, and I found that it often took a while to understand things. I would not recommend it unless you are prepared to take the time to fully understand it and enjoy this type of story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    Beyond Boring

    Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood is beyond boring and on the edge of inane. Noah would never have put this tripe on the ark. After the first 100 pages I spared myself any further pain trying to make any sense of the plot or the characters. The futurisctic setting and the made up terms were difficult at best. Moreover I felt nothing for the main character as the story dragged on and on and on. I was hoping a flood would visit my house and wash this book away. I rarely if ever have written a review. But I had to warn other readers that purchasing this book is like flushing money down the toilet.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    Not memorable

    Not up to her previous works. Certainly not "The Handmaids Tale" or "Oryx and Crake." In fact I had completely forgotten that I read this until asked to review.

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Just had to Finish This Book

    I loved Atwood's latest work. The characters, plot, and story were interesting and disturbing (because it's all quite plausible). It's also an insightful observation and commentary of our current time.

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