Charles's Reviews > MaddAddam

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
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Apr 11, 2015

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bookshelves: 2015-challenge, science-fiction, stat_2, reviewed

Stuff I Read – MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood Review

A part of me wonders what I would have thought if I had read the other books in this trilogy first. Because I just saw this is a bookstore while on a date with my partner and the challenge was to pick a book and read it in a week and so I didn't pay the closest of attention. I had seen the book before and wanted to read it and I guess never realized it was the third book in a series. Oops. Still, the book gives a good synopsis of the other books and the structure of the book doesn't really seem to require having read the other books. So consider this a review for people who similarly didn't read the first two books.

I did enjoy the general idea of this book, of the series as a whole, that a disease was manufactured to wipe out humanity. That is largely succeeded. That also successful was the invention of genetically modified people called Crakers that were designed to be the "perfect" people. Nonviolent and herbivores (literally eating plants) and with a certain ignorance about things that cannot really be overcome. They can learn, yes, but even their learning has to come as a sort of story, as a lesson from Crake, their creator and deity. And in this book the Crakers have met up with the MaddAddamites (scientists who helped create the Crakers and who lived in a sort of hippy commune before the end of the world). Jimmy/Snowman, a major character from the previous two books, is also there but is out for much of the book, so the action focuses on some of the other characters.

There is a lot to keep track of, and something of a learning curve, but as this was the third book and I didn't read the others I think that makes sense. The book splits itself between the past, set before the Flood and mostly focusing on Zeb, Adam's brother and probably the most level-headed out of most of the characters in the book. It shadows him through childhood and growing up and illuminates some aspects of the other characters in the series. Meanwhile in the present, post-Flood world, the remaining humans are wary because the Painballers, violent maniacs who have done truly awful things in the previous books, are still around and a threat. Which brings me to my favorite part of the book: the Pigoons.

They are adorable! So cute and sentient and rather intelligent, the Pigoons and humans forge an alliance for mutual assistance in dealing with the Painballers. It's interesting to see how everyone comes together to protect everyone. The Crakers can't fight because they just can't, but they can help because they understand and can communicate with the Pigoons. So a mixed group goes out to deal with the Pailballers once and for all. That part of the story was probably my favorite, and leads to the final confrontation which is tense and huge and told only after the fact as a series of stories. The style of the novel is more like that, as a collection of stories and journal entries. And it works, especially with the Crakers as the voice becomes rather humorous when it's addressing them, dealing with their naivety.

The book does manage to keep things relatively light and fun while dealing with some very dark subject matter. Of course, the dark subject matter really did draw things down a bit. That and the focus on breeding as being the ending. Because that really is how the book ends. After the excitement of the final confrontation most of the human females start having babies and that's a little disappointing to see, that the book chooses to show things getting better in that way. Not that people improved, not that the cooperation is going to continue. But that reproduction. I would have preferred the book end sooner.

Likewise, it chooses to go very dark with the ending for Zeb and some of the others, which I did not like. They're just shuffled away and no word on them. Which, cool, not leaving things with a happily ever after, but that seemed unnecessary. Like we couldn't get a positive ending for the one couple in the book that didn't seem kinda messed up. So yeah, it's a fine book but not without it's flaws and maybe I would have liked it more with the other books to compare to, but as I didn't, it's getting a 6.25/10 from me.
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Reading Progress

April 11, 2015 – Started Reading
April 11, 2015 – Shelved
April 11, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-challenge
April 11, 2015 –
page 180
45.69% "I didn't realize this was a book three when I got it. Oops. Still, after a bit of a slow start I'm starting to get into it more. We shall see how it goes..."
April 12, 2015 –
page 394
100.0% "An all right read. Maybe I missed stuff, not having read the earlier books, but it was still all right. I liked the Pigoons. They were adorable. All the babies at the end, a bit less so."
April 12, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
April 12, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_2
April 12, 2015 – Finished Reading
April 23, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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