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MaddAddam #1-3

The MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake / The Year of the Flood / MaddAddam

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From Booker Prize–winner and #1 national bestseller Margaret Atwood, The MaddAddam Trilogy is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.
This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. With breathtaking command of her brilliantly conceived material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, she projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter.
In the tradition of The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood envision a near future that is both beyond our imagining and all too familiar: a world devastated by uncontrolled genetic engineering and a widespread plague, with only a few remaining humans fighting for survival.
Combining adventure, humour, romance and superb storytelling that is at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is a moving and dramatic conclusion to this internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.

1181 pages, ebook

First published August 27, 2013

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About the author

Margaret Atwood

573 books79.2k followers
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers' Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 178 reviews
Profile Image for Tulpesh Patel.
48 reviews70 followers
November 2, 2013
The great strength of good science fiction is the ability to take contemporary events and technologies and extrapolate them in ways that predict the future whilst simultaneously telling us something about —and satirizing— the present. Much-celebrated writer Margaret Atwood crafts stories and worlds that do exactly this, although, rather controversially, she prefers to not to call her books science fiction, as, according to her rather restrictive definition, the ‘fiction’ in ‘science fiction’ is ‘things which are not possible today’ and her books are very much based the technology and social mores of the present.

Over the course of the three tightly-woven books that make up the MaddAddam Trilogy, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and, the recently released MaddAddam, Atwood transports us to a twisted but all-too-real dystopian future, where a carefully engineered plague has wiped out most of humanity, leaving behind a rag-tag bunch of survivors fighting wild and dangerous genetically modified animals and each other for survival, whilst living uneasily alongside a new species of lab-engineered quasi-humans, table rasa and sporting glowing blue genatalia.

Oryx and Crake centres on Snowman, who, suspecting he is the last man alive, is slowly going insane whilst he scavenges for scraps and lives in trees to avoid being scavenged himself. The story is told over two timelines: In Snowman’s present (around 100 years into the future) we learn of the Crakers, the perfect bioengineered quasi-humans created by the titular Crake, Snowman’s one-time best, and only, friend. Having no sense of the world around them, the Crakers rely on Snowman to make sense of the world for them, something which he is struggling to do for himself as comes to term with the devastation around him.

Told in parallel, through Snowman’s fevered and bitter recollections, we are also taken back to his pre-apocalyptic incarnation as Jimmy, who was lucky enough to be born into the privilege of sanitary Compound life, home of moneyed execs and scientists, separated from the urban jungle of the Pleeblands, where the proles dwell. Snowman’s story is of the outcome of Crake’s attempt to reboot the human race; Jimmy’s is of the why and how it happened. Jimmy’s love-hate friendship with Crake, and love of the ethereal Oryx, play out in a terrifyingly well-realised world of technocratic apartheid that’s driven by increasingly sophisticated bioengineering and rampant free-market consumerism and with a terrifying backdrop of violence, paedophilia and hyper-intelligent pigs.

The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood is a pseudo-sequel, with much of the novel’s timeline overlapping with Oryx and Crake. The perspective switches primarily to sturdy and pragmatic Toby, who inadvertently finds herself seeking refuge with a pseudo-Christian religious cult, the God’s Gardeners, who live a life of ascetism in preparation for the ‘waterless flood’. It was refreshing to have a female protagonist, still an all-too-rare a thing in post-Ripley-from-Aliens science fiction, and Toby is certainly easier to warm to than Jimmy and his needy weakness.

The weaving of this story with that recounted by Snowman/Jimmy is executed really cleverly and in a way that never feels clunky or contrived, something that can’t be said for many other expansive books (and TV shows) that have tried the same. The Year of the Flood still retains the grim streak of Oryx and Crake, but this is undercut by the gentle satire and absurdity of the God’s Gardeners and their Nature Religion. In Oryx and Crake, the tightly controlled bubbled-off world was the really interesting character, not the people in it. The introduction of a wider set of protagonists and relationships, the anarchic setting of the Pleeblands, and perhaps the religious element too, gives Year of the Flood a more human and humane feel.


MaddAddam has the same pseudo-sequel feel as The Year of the Flood; gaps are filled and the foundations of the story extended and the narrative is woven into a knot that is a joy to unpick. Through more flashbacks, we delve deeper into the inception of the God’s Gardner’s and Crake’s rise to infamy, whilst in the present, the remaining survivors band together and attempt to rebuild their lives and establish some semblance of normality and routine.

This book is perhaps the funniest of the three, off-setting what feels like unrelenting bleakness with some delightful off-beat humour, largely as a result of the Crakers playing a more central role in the story. Never again will you exclaim ‘oh fuck’ without raising a wry smile. It also has the most to say about being human, about the humanity left in the society that remains, and the indelible humanity left in the creatures that Crake deliberately designed to be less human.

The brilliance of the story is taking some of humanity’s excesses, demands and needs –plundering the earth for resources; killing animals and each other; constantly striving to modify and ‘improve’ nature and ourselves for vanity and sustenance; economic apartheid; religion– and taking them to their not-quite-as-absurd-as-they-first-appear extreme. Prepare to be enlightened, confused, and occasionally grossed out as you inhabit the warped but disconcertingly familiar reality that Atwood as created.

Dystopias are the natural future homes for pessimists. As a natural optimist, I have strong hopes for humanity and what we can do with the science and technology available to us. The MaddAddam trilogy is razor sharp satire and a dizzying parable for where we are now and what may lie further ahead on the slippery helter-skelter that we find ourselves hurtling down.
Profile Image for Ruth.
6 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2014
Absolutely bloody brilliant and terrifying.
Profile Image for Joy Galston.
17 reviews2 followers
June 19, 2014
I liked these books more and more as the series went on. MaddAddam was definitely my favorite. For a post apocalyptic series I sure laughed a lot, although I shivered too at the familiarity of it all. The colors were stunning and saturated. I hope there's a really well done movie(s) of this series. I loved the gentle mockery of religious environmentalism and Atwoods' concept of the "perfect" human attributes. The predictions in this series are earily close to home.
Profile Image for Dean.
29 reviews
February 10, 2014
(Some possible spoilers ahead)
Margaret Atwoods latest series is a vision of future apocalypse though not the usual technological dystopia but more a biological produced endgame. In the first book of the trilogy O&C we are thrust into a survivor scenario where we meet Snowman (Jimmy) who is existing with meagre and dwindling supplies, living in a tree, unable to venture far because of a hostile environment. However he is visited, and is somehow protecting the children of a species that are not completely human but changed through genetic engineering and it seems that they have been engineered to survive in this changed environment.
Slowly the story of Snowman emerges as he begins to relate his story, seemingly tortured by visions/memories of his past actions and the actions of the title characters.
He tells the tale of a society where the rise of corporate power becomes absolute, and the rampant biological engineering has led to the creation of many new species, not all beneficial, and the ever ongoing modification of being human. It is also a tale of friendship, as we begin to discover that Jimmy is centrally involved in the events that led to the almost-annihilation of the human species. It is through his relationship with Crake, a brilliant yet damaged scientist, that has pushed the species to extinction.
The second novel YOTF, introduces several more characters to the interweaving tale. We again relive the times leading up to the viral pandemic, through the experiences of two female characters, Ren and Toby. It is also centrally focused around a group called the God's Gardeners, who believe that the preservation of nature is holy and that a "waterless flood" is coming to punish humanity and its madness born of genetic manipulations.As the two stories unfold, more of the degrading culture is exposed, characters from the first novel appear interwoven into the fabric of a society that seems bent on destroying its environment and consuming itself. The story eventually leads us back to the ending scene of the first novel and explores further the type of society left after a catastrophic pandemic event.
The third novel, MaddAddam, while focusing more on the present, does, through the story of Zeb, give the reader a final thread that weaves the events leading up to the 'waterless flood'. In this book we find the survivors trying to cope with a world without power and convenience, taking guardianship of the 'Crakers' the designed offspring of Crake's grand experiment, and battling the vestiges of the chaotic times, in the forms of three ex-gladitorial fighters whose humanity is questionable. They represent all that was wrong with the previous culture, and cause the survivors both physical and ideological peril.

Ultimately I found this series a mediation on story telling. Structurally it is told through the experiences of many characters which allows a focus off the usual world building of such a scenario and allows an identification and discovery element that enhances the narrative. Unfortunately by the third book this becomes limiting and perhaps highlights the fortuitousness of the survival of those central characters. However the third book is where the ideas about the power of storytelling also give a resonance that lifts the narrative beyond a pat denouement.
Atwood does a great job of revealing the world, hinting at the oncoming or rather yet already occurred calamity and the reader is left to try and fit the pieces together. The social degeneration is well described and illuminated with enough present day warning memes to be plausible. The future in the novel is heavily biological dystopic rather than mechanical or digital tech. It's not that the others are not discussed but more in the background, part of the mis-en-scen. If there is a message it comes down heavily on the side of the dangers of genetic engineering unrestrained by ethics and morals, wrapped in classic corporate shadow play.
Profile Image for J.K. Ullrich.
Author 11 books24 followers
June 21, 2015
The first novel, Oryx and Crake, begins near the end. Once an amiable playboy in a society dominated by genetic engineering, Jimmy “Snowman” now wonders if he’s the only human alive after a plague wipes out humanity. As he plays de facto prophet for the gene-spliced humanoids who have unwittingly inherited the Earth, Jimmy remembers his brilliant friend Crake, the mysterious woman called Oryx they both loved, and the roles all three of them played in the downfall of civilization. It’s a love story and a eulogy, bound with eerie threads of warning. The novel can stand on its own, but it’s worth diving right into the sequel.

Year of the Flood expands on past events like a fractal. Two new characters give their perspectives, which weave into Jimmy’s narrative. Atwood’s intelligent prose contrasts beautifully with the corrupt world she portrays (she is one of the only authors who routinely introduces me to new words; for nerdy me, it makes reading her books a vocabulary treasure hunt). I found this book less gripping than the first, but the parallel perspectives intrigued me.

The final novel merges the storylines from the previous two and reveals the final details of the plague’s origin. I confess I got a bit impatient reading Maddaddam. Somehow it lacked the magic of its predecessors. Perhaps too much of the mystery had been revealed; parts of it seemed redundant. Or maybe Atwood’s aftermath just wasn’t as interesting as how it came to be. The themes flirted with biological determinism, which I found surprising from the author of The Handmaid’s Tale. But if you read the first two books, you’ll want to hear the end of the story.

Atwood’s world-on-the-brink is a caricature of our own. Frivolous use of science, corporate power and greed, increasing gaps between the wealthy and the poor, and irresponsible use of the planet all pave the way for apocalypse. I recommend reading the series and soon: HBO plans to turn it into a miniseries. Given their excellent dramatization of Game of Thrones (a series that lost momentum much more drastically than Maddaddam, but that’s another rant) I can’t wait to see how they bring Jimmy Snowman’s dying world to life.

Read my full review on my website.
Profile Image for Elaine.
461 reviews15 followers
August 4, 2016
This is a fabulous series written by an author at the top of her game. Like everyone else, I feed my reading habit sometimes with what is at hand -- free kindle reads from Amazon, books with interesting covers that I walk by at the Library, Bookhub freebies. But every now and then you need to return to reading something that is simply marvelous in its creation and execution. I won't go into the story line, other than to say that Atwood takes the tried and true dystopian society dissolving into "us and them" and takes it to new and undefined areas. And she does so with her customary style and wit. The quick almost throw away descriptions of creatures such as the MoHairs quickly illustrate the world in an evocative and sharply focused way. And, should I mention that every generation has just a little bit of relationship story, and that each story illustrates our need for connection.

Just being able to read prose such as this is a pleasure, as the reader is reminded just in time that there is such a thing as quality writing in a McMuffin world.

Profile Image for Ana Rakovac.
22 reviews2 followers
June 3, 2017
I read The Year Of The Flood first, by sheer mistake, but it did not distract--the only problem was that last 10 pages were a bit of a whirlwind. However, that's neither here nor there. It is a totally plausible and well thought out, well written set of books and, like everything I ever read from Margaret Atwood, I loved it.
Profile Image for Petra Miocic Mandic.
142 reviews22 followers
January 2, 2018
Ako ne smijem reći više od nekoliko rečenica o ovoj trilogiji (a ne smijem jer ćete ostatak čitati u Bestbooku) onda ću pohvaliti autoričin britak misao za realnost utkan u svaku duhovitu opasku u ovim romanima.
Svakom nas rječju, kao čitatelje, kao pojedince i kao članove društva, Margaret Atwood opominje da je budućnost mnogo bliže nego što mislimo. I da će preživjeti. Povijest će preživjeti. Vrijeme će preživjeti. Možda će preživjeti i sve materijalno, pojavno...
Ali nećemo preživjeti mi. Jer u bezumnom strahu od smrti i sumanutoj potrazi za besmrtnošću propuštamo vidjeti one najralnije i najbliže opasnosti...
Profile Image for Linda.
391 reviews38 followers
November 23, 2021
Nooit gedacht dat ik een Atwood boek zo’n lage rating zou geven, maar ik vond het echt vrij weinig aan. Moest mij er élke keer toe zetten om weer verder te lezen en heb er wel 4 maand over gedaan!
Wel een tweede ster omdat ik het begin (Oryx en Crake) wel interessant vond.
Profile Image for Jessica King.
20 reviews
October 24, 2018
I keep on having conversations with Margaret Atwood in my head. I would love to ask her why she made everyone’s parents so shitty? Of all the characters who’ve had their backstories told, everyone except Toby and Amanda had parents who were not only distant, they were straight up uncaring, hateful, and even murderous. This sometimes made it feel that Atwood was describing caricatures rather than actual people who could exist. However, someone who’s perhaps had a less happy childhood might say that these are not caricatures. Another thing is that the coincidence that almost all the people who have survived the “waterless flood” are also people who have parts to play in the main characters’ back story is a little much. What’s the point of bringing back Wakulla Price, Jimmy’s high school crush, as Swift Fox, one of the Madaddamites? She just happens to survive along with several other people from his past. It’s a little much. Of course he seems to be hallucinating for a good chunk of Maddaddam. I would too.

It does sound like I’m complaining, but I actually enjoyed this trilogy a lot. Atwood has got an incredible imagination, and she is very playful with it in a rather dark way. She sets the perfect tone in her dystopic fiction, because, when you think about it, distopic fiction is a very dark but playful genre. This world -gone-wrong set in the not-so-distant future is familiar in many ways, but the problems that are just barely apparent to most people right now (climate change for example) are amplified, described, and thus warp the lives of characters. It’s like she’s having fun describing the effects of a funhouse mirror. However, it has the extra intrigue of holding possibilities for our future physical reality.
Profile Image for Amy Olive.
24 reviews1 follower
April 28, 2018
I enjoyed this so much more than Oryx and Crake I could not put the thing down! I loved all the tie ins with O&C and genuinely fan girled towards the end. Atwood's imagination and writing skills are completely unrivalled.
Profile Image for Arjun Hari.
17 reviews1 follower
February 11, 2020
Actually read this one back in highschool. Atwood normally makes me apex cringe but the twist at the end of this book was so fucking wild and the characters of Jimmy and Crake are so multifaceted that it's a banger. Also a lot of cyberpunk undertones- I know its "speculative fiction" (atwood l00l) but it's more along the lines of a Dickian thriller.
Profile Image for James.
56 reviews3 followers
September 23, 2019
Few people do post apocalyptic imaginings as well as Margaret Atwood.
Profile Image for Grace Harwood.
Author 3 books32 followers
June 26, 2018
I have read all off these books before immediately after publication, but I thought it was high time to revisit this trilogy and read them through again. I absolutely love Margaret Atwood's work, and Oryx and Crake (the first in the trilogy) is just fantastic. It's a really compelling read told from the point of view of Snowman (Jimmy) as he relates his history growing up in 'the compounds' with his genetic engineer father and his mother who gradually becomes more disenfranchised from the whole thing before heading off as an activist protesting against everything Jimmy's father is doing. The story follows the inevitable tragedy as in a series of logical next steps, the creatures resulting from genetic modification become more and more outlandish (and dangerous) before ultimately a human replacement is invented by Jimmy's genius friend Crake, along with the virus that will wipe out the remainder of mankind. This really is a tale for our times and as Atwood states at the beginning of the book, there is nothing in here that has not been invented (and used) by mankind already. This is an utterly compelling read - one of those that you just don't want to end - and also seems to me to be highly likely to turn up on reading lists of professors who are interested in ecocriticism/animal studies - so students might actually get to read something good for a change. On the basis of Oryx and Crake, I would rate this book 5 stars.

However, as the trilogy progresses, I'm afraid it goes downhill (which is not something you can say very often about Atwood's work). Where this falls down, I felt, was that it suddenly becomes unbelievable in the way that only the God's Gardeners (and all their mates) survive. Why would this be the case? (considering that the rest of the world has gone to hell in a handbasket?) It just doesn't make sense - so suddenly a story that was utterly credible (bearing in mind it is speculative fiction) becomes something that loses all credibility. The Year of the Flood is interesting enough as a story, but nowhere near as good as Atwood's normal standard. I didn't like MaddAdam with its focus on Zeb - it all started to read like a Boys'/Girls' own adventure story (where the end of the world has arrived, but didn't we all have a jolly time surviving it?). I liked the connective theme of stories and how they are told weaving throughout the three, but unfortunately I didn't feel that reading these three novels all together did anything for the story itself - if anything it weakened it. I would definitely recommend Oryx and Crake. The Year of the Flood is a reasonable read. I thought MaddAdam was a poor end to the trilogy.
Profile Image for Kendra.
416 reviews7 followers
March 6, 2018

I listened to all three books on Audible and I am SURE the audio version, especially of the Year of the Flood, was better than the written version.   ***This review contains spoilers.***

I LOVE this series and was very sad to finish it!!  I wanted it to keep going.  It’s a dystopian story of the very near future.  Some of it is quite frightening because it’s easy to believe how our current world could evolve into such a place. 

I read Oryx & Crake without realizing it was a trilogy and was super angry at the lack of an ending.  I loved the book overall but couldn’t believe the book was truly over.  I immediately searched online for what others were saying and happily started The Year of the Flood within a few minutes. 

I would score each book at or over 4 stars…but The Year of the Flood is my favorite, even with the “cheesy” songs.  I highly recommend listening instead of reading…and don’t skip the songs.  It was a complete shock for me when the first song started and I laughed out loud.  But, its true…the singing adds to the story…enjoy them. 

Although I’d score it around 4 stars, MaddAddam was my least favorite.  I wanted the core story and was bored through most of Zeb’s backstory (half the book but thankfully its spread out instead of one big chunk).   

I hate ending this review on a negative so don’t let that last comment hold too much weight.  This is a wonderfully engaging and well written story.  I recommend these three!  Enjoy…

Profile Image for Julie.
207 reviews19 followers
October 15, 2014
Brilliant storytelling, gripping and highly imaginative. The world she paints is vivid and real, a frightening warning of where we could be headed, if we don't get our arrogance and materialism in check. The unusual plot structure of "Oryx and Crake" held me riveted, dying to know what happens even when I already pretty much know (since it starts near the end). "The Year of the Flood" and "MaddAddam" answer the questions while putting the characters through their paces.

My (mild) frustration with this trilogy is that, for all its mastery in painting a potential dystopian future, it offers little in the way of alternative paths. I say that knowing that alternatives exist even now and Margaret Atwood herself has a page on her website of "what you can do" to minimize negative impacts on the environment. One gets the sense that she'd like to believe actions like recycling and driving less can help, but she doesn't really hold much faith in humanity to get our collective act together. Hence the brilliant storytelling she comes up with here. There is one tiny glimmer of another way -- Pilar with her ability to commune with plants and bees and her mentorship of the young woman Toby, who willfully stills her rational mind to give it a try herself. But these are kept at arm's length while the men fight it out with weird hybrid genetically engineered animals and hulking barbaric criminals.

For all that, this is the standard by which all other dystopian fiction must be judged.
Profile Image for Kathy.
47 reviews7 followers
May 28, 2021
These books were awesome. The homages to all the environmental pioneers and to the environment itself. The characters you're rooting for. The thought provoking subject of creating a perfect race (whose genetically altered with all the 'best' things from different animals). The love stories and heartbreaks. And so much more. I really enjoyed this trilogy.
Profile Image for Wendy Thornton.
19 reviews
February 23, 2014
Outstanding trilogy! Atwood is an excellent writer with a wonderful dry sense of humour, and she has clearly done her homework here and created a major work of speculative fiction. It's hard to see the world and our future as a species in it the same way after reading these books.
Profile Image for Sarah Jordan.
110 reviews1 follower
May 14, 2014
Really enjoyed the whole trilogy - but this was probably my least favourite. Quite tempted to go back and read Oryx and Crake again just to see what I missed the first time and spot all the links now that I've read the two simultanials!
Profile Image for Delia.
10 reviews
April 19, 2014
A truly gifted brain wrote this series. It was an adventure to read and the non judgemental air surrounding every issue raised encouraged true thought.
Profile Image for Tania Rose.
105 reviews
March 5, 2016
The first one in the trilogy was amazing, the other two went a bit off course but I liked the series overall
Profile Image for Petra.
1,147 reviews16 followers
June 3, 2019
The first time I read this trilogy there were years between the reading of each book as I had to wait for the next to be published. This time, I read the trilogy as one long book. I'm glad I did. There are connections between the books that I missed with the first reading and that brought more of a completeness to this story.

(the spoiler tags below are to save space)

Oryx & Crake (3-star)

Year Of The Flood
2019: (still a 5-star read)

2010: (5 star)

2019: (5-star)

2013: (3-star)

3 reviews
December 23, 2017
I read 'The Handmaid's Tale' earlier this year, and was excited when my book club picked 'Oryx and Crake' for our December discussion. Atwood's writing style is sometimes confusing, filled with non-chronological narratives and flashbacks. However, by the end of a book, you have a better appreciation for the journey that the characters have taken.

In the first book, we are introduced to Snowman, aka Jimmy, seemingly the only human survivor of a plague that has wiped out humanity. However, he's not alone: Strange new humans known as 'Crakers' look upon him as a prophet from days past, and revere as gods his former friends, the eponymous Oryx and Crake. The Crakers are well suited for this new world, designed to eat only leaves, and able to co-exist with the many mysterious creatures, genetically modified, that now inhabit this world. There are many other, ahem, aspects of the Crakers that are not suitable for a public review, and I will leave this up to the reader to discover. Suffice to say, Atwood does not shy away from more R-rated aspects of humanity. While on a journey for supplies, we flashback to Jimmy's early years, and how he came about to be a survivor and guardian of the Crakers. A cliffhanger ending leaves you wanting more, so pick up the next book as soon as you can!

'The Year of the Flood' focuses on two new characters, Toby and Ren, and their various interactions with a religious group known as the God's Gardeners. We learn more about the world before it catastrophically ended, and get a resolution to the cliffhanger from the first volume. Characters from O&C make appearances, and tie together the overall narrative.

'MaddAddam' finishes the trilogy by telling the background story of Zeb, who was a secondary character in YotF. While the second and third books serve both as prequels and inter-quels, the overall narrative still moves forward once you read past the flashback portions. The ending is bittersweet, but will leave you with far more questions than answers about this strange world.

I really enjoyed this trilogy, and sped through it in just under five weeks. Atwood herself considers the series to be speculative, not science, fiction, as it deals more with the characters and not necessarily the world in which they live. She also points out that all of the technology in her world is present in our reality.

This series is recommended for more mature readers, as it deals with many complex and often difficult subjects. Cute and happy scenes, such as Ren and her friends as precocious young girls, or the rakunks, raccoon/skunk hybrids, are contrasted with descriptions of no-holds-barred violence and depravity. Given that Atwood considers this a tale of the very near future, the reader is asked to explore the true meaning of being human, and what it takes to survive in a world gone Madd.
Profile Image for Mood Reviews.
1 review
December 25, 2017
[Note: this review contains spoilers in para. 6.]

Postapocalyptical literature is important to me.

It offers escapism, imagination, and nostalgia.

Which is why, with a nod and a shake and a bitter sort of bemusement, I am compelled to say that Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy is a disappointing piece of well-intentioned crap.

It lacks vigor, character, and a compelling plot. Even when it tries to compensate with satire and vision, it fails by becoming repetitive and politically transparent. It has none of the cultivated humor of, say, Canticle for Leibowitz, none of the turn-paging quality of King’s many postap. works, and is light years away in the basement, when compared with the purist prose of something like The Road (McCarthy). There are no brilliant passages that could make up for this (as is the case, for example, with someone like Zelazny – you lumber through the Amber series, and suddenly you have something like this*, and it makes it all worth it).

Atwood’s prose is underwhelming, much inferior to her poetry. The cruel thing is that you only realize, or rather convince yourself of this, half-way through the second volume, by which time you are bored and frustrated at the same time. You might consider clenching your teeth and finishing it. Don’t.

1) The plot is schematic and porous, becomes weak and then really-weak. This becomes clear towards the latter half of the first book. By then, Crake is omnipotent and his actions are just a weird string of deus-ex-machinas: kidnapping the MaddAddam rebels; outwitting the normally impenetrable CorpSeCorps security; managing to wipe out the human race and launch his gene-splicing-project; all of it in a couple of weakly-transitioned chapters.
2) The characters begin with good overall outlines, but fail to rise up to expectations. Atwood’s stab at love, for example – one of the book’s pivots – misses the mark. The real Oryx feels schematic and rushed, compared to what we are led to expect from Snowman’s early flashbacks.
3) Finally, its many abbreviations and Atwood’s otherwise usually creative linguistic twists, aimed here at ethics and politics and so on, lack realism and feel more like caricatures than plausible dystopian terms.

Sorry Margaret, this one sucked!
Profile Image for Yvette Verwer.
Author 2 books10 followers
January 4, 2022
The whole trilogy was much to read in a few weeks.
More than much for my taste were all the coincidences that brought the main characters together at the crucial and perfect moments. Also to much for me was the switching in storytelling perspective, it made it feel constructed and messy (even though I have a deep respect for the way she kept the story lines together without any faults).
Those were my downsides. The upsides are that she created an amazing world. A world that feels true in its own context, with real characters (even when they are not human) and an intriguing development.

The separate parts were differed in quality a lot in my opinion.
To me Oryx and Crake was just brilliant (pure 5 stars), intriguing, real and with a lot of page turning tension.
The year of the Flood was the least part, to much coincidence, to much switching in perspective, to long and boring, without any feel of urgency for me (gave it 2 stars).
MaddAddam was the most ambivalent part. The middle section was great, but for me she ruined it by suddenly foreshadowing, which took all the tension away. I also have mixed feelings about the end where everything is brought to a satisfying closure. On the one hand it is nice after spending so much time with the main characters, on the other hand it felt so predictable and overly sweet (in the end I decide on 3 stars for this final chapter, and for the trilogy as a whole).
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138 reviews
May 22, 2023
Met alle respect voor Margaret Atwood, want ze kan echt wel schrijven, maar deze trilogie van dik 1200 pagina’s kon me absoluut niet bekoren. Ze bestaat uit de boeken “Oryx & Crake”, “Het jaar van de vloed” en “Maddaddam”; het eerste boek heb ik uitgelezen maar ik heb me de hele tijd afgevraagd waar ik in beland was. Na het eerste deel heb ik het opzij gelegd -er zijn nog genoeg boeken die liggen te wachten om gelezen te worden- maar dan vond ik het zonde want ik had al 1/3de van de trilogie gelezen en al bladerend zag ik namen van het eerste boek terugkomen in het tweede…. Na een paar weken ben ik dan aan het tweede boek begonnen : dat vond ik al beter dan het eerste maar boeide me onvoldoende, zelfs na bijna 300 bladzijden dat ik het terug heb ingeleverd bij de bibliotheek. Was de uitleentermijn niet afgelopen, dan had ik het tweede boek misschien uitgelezen maar het zou mijn oordeel niet veranderd hebben. Ik vond het ondanks de humoristische toets deprimerende boeken (uiteraard, het zijn dystopieën) over een maatschappij waarin ik absoluut niet zou willen leven al begint ze meer en meer op onze huidige te lijken…. Drie sterren voor de schrijfstijl, maar niet voor het verhaal.
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