Having a hard time knowing how to take this book. This is the second book of the MaddAddam trilogy (and I just noticed that is a palindrome), of which...moreHaving a hard time knowing how to take this book. This is the second book of the MaddAddam trilogy (and I just noticed that is a palindrome), of which Oryx & Crake was the first.
And really, it feels more like an addendum to O&C than a novel proper. As it is Atwood, it is a very well written addendum, but it feel slight in comparison. And really, that is not fair, as this is really about the human toll of the scientific madness from the first, but I dare say I found that just so much more interesting.
Oryx & Crake felt like a warning. One that would eat society whole if we took no heed of it (alas... we have not). This is more of a 'here are the effects' that not heeding that warning. And this should be vibrantly scary thing, as a global plague wipes out near all of humanity, only Atwood sprinkles in quite a bit of hope though out and it becomes hard to see the horror of humanity's decimation.
She focuses on the people in a strange religious group/cult called the gardeners. They have rejected the conspicuous consumptive ways of modern society, living on cast offs and their own gardened fruit. She has Adam1, the leader of the sect, recite a sermon and a song to frame each chapter. And after the second one, I learned to just skim these, as they were not my bag in the slightest. But it takes at least a third of the book to really humanize them, but she clearly does, as you root for them all to have been spared from the plague, knowing of course this can not be.
Atwood writes at least 493 leagues better than me, so it is hard to suggest improvement from her, but this just seems a slight read in comparison to O&C. And perhaps that is because while O&C was the creation of a dystopic world, this is about the survivors. And while very strange, also about utopia, both from the gardeners attempts to create it for themselves at the beginning of the book and in the realization that the surviving few must actually create it to keep going.
Also, why do I enjoy dystopia over utopia? hmmm... (less)
Abandoned and forsaken. I tried going back to reading this today. It made me feel worse than I had remembered. This is a book that is more an infection...moreAbandoned and forsaken. I tried going back to reading this today. It made me feel worse than I had remembered. This is a book that is more an infection than a novel. And keeping with the themes of the book, we will say an STD in written form. The characters are just awful and seem to have nothing to live for, and thus go on and on and on about things they wish mattered to them.
I can see that at one point in time this would have been a book I enjoyed from a watching people be miserable and fall further into despair. So what I can thank this book for is that I now know I am no longer the kind of guy who gets off on this.
This started off quite promising, but ended with far more sputter than luster. When I noticed I was 3/4ths of the way done, I had no idea how this was...moreThis started off quite promising, but ended with far more sputter than luster. When I noticed I was 3/4ths of the way done, I had no idea how this was going to be wrapped up. I really should not have worried, as it simply was not. It ended on essentially a cliffhanger, but unlike nearly every other YA book needing to be a trilogy, Goodman writes at the end, in an author's notes section that she likes ambiguity, ending with more questions than answers. To this I say "hmmm" and "phfft". To me this is easily a part one of a much greater story, but for whatever reason Goodman leaves it up to you. (Did she only get a one book deal? Was she worried that it would not be successful and was hedging her bets? Does she just like to taunt her readers?) I found this as lazy as her 'deus ex machina' style reveal of the, well for lack of a better word, rebel leader. I might nor have minded it so much if things did not seem so rushed at the end, as it made her writing fall apart. What was once crisp, clear, effective prose, becomes fragmented and spotty. Like many other YA novels, this is a story of oppression and how a young adult figures out how to overcome it, well at least it trends that way, with the lack of an ending, you are not quite sure if she did overcome it. And that is the main problem. To her credit, Goodman creates a compelling world on a drowned earth with only a few island land masses left. And I initially fell into reading this quite swiftly. That she opted to sandbag her story by stopping it rather than ending it really interfered with that enjoyment. (less)