MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood
In this final volume of the internationally celebrated MaddAddam trilogy, the Waterless Flood has wiped out most of the population. Toby is part of a small band of survivors, along with the Children of Crake: the gentle, bioengineered quasi-human species who will inherit this new earth.
As Toby explains their origins to the curious Crakers, her tales cohere into a luminous oral history that sets down humanity's past—and points toward its future. Blending action, humor, romance, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her epic work of speculative fiction.
MaddAddam is book #3 in the MaddAddam trilogy. This review is spoiler-free, but you might want to check out my thoughts about book #1 (Oryx and Crake) and book #2 (The Year of the Flood).
Review: This is one of those books that made me sit in silence for a few minutes after finishing it. So much happens at the end that it takes a while to process everything. Some of my favorite characters didn’t survive, which makes the processing even harder.
Most of MaddAddam is narrated by Toby and focuses on the characters from The Year of the Flood. The reader gets to learn the backstories of Zeb and Adam One. The Crakers also play a bigger role in this book. They start spending more time with the main characters, and their society becomes more “human” as a result.
This trilogy is my favorite trilogy ever, but book #3 was harder for me to get into than the previous books. I think this is because of the slow start and the amount of future-speak. Not much happens at the beginning. Most of the action is found in the story that Zeb tells to Toby, and that story contains a lot of future-speak. In some places, it reminds me of the way that A Clockwork Orange is written. There are a lot of strange words that the reader needs to figure out from the context. The whole trilogy has future-speak, but it feels especially heavy during Zeb’s story. It really slowed down my reading speed.
The slowness is a very minor complaint. This book is phenomenal. I love that we get to see Adam One as a child and learn more about his connection with religion and with Zeb. The Church of PetrOleum is one of the book’s more clever aspects. Adam’s father is the leader of a religion that literally worships oil. It’s hilarious and deeply disturbing at the same time.
The best part of this novel is the evolution of the Crakers. The stories they tell about Oryx and Crake become more detailed and slightly closer to the truth. By the end of the book, they’ve created an entire mythology about their world. It’s fascinating to read.
Like the previous two books, this one is full of Atwood’s beautiful writing, well-developed characters, and odd sense of humor. MaddAddam is the perfect ending to the trilogy. (Though I wouldn’t complain if the author wanted to make this into a longer series.)