Book Title: The Year of the Flood
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: 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.It doesn't matter if you read Oryx and Crake or this one first. They sort of exist side by side at more or less the same moment in time.
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...
What did I think? Let me start this review by saying, I loved Oryx and Crake. I know you can sense the big but coming... I almost didn't finish this one. The only reason I did finish was because I read it with a book club and the discussion was coming up. I couldn't tell the group, I'd given up, could I? Funnily enough two members of the book club actually didn't finish and the rest didn't particularly like it either and struggled just as much as I did.
Margaret Atwood built a great world in Oryx and Crake and here she wasted it. I couldn't connect with either Toby nor Ren. In fact I kept confusing the two. There is no tension, no goal, no stakes. I was simultaneously bored and lost. It was a chore to read. Unlike Oryx and Crake which I read in almost one sitting, that's how engaging and gripping it was.
The novel does pick up towards the end but it's too late. The language is pretty, Atwood definitely knows how to write and there's a few nice quotes and observations about the state the world is in. But that alone does not make a good book.