The Year of the Flood is labeled as the second book of the MadAddam trilogy on Goodreads, which is quite misleading, and yet accurate. I already enjoyed the heck out of Oryx and Crake, the first book in the trilogy, and the only reason it didn’t get 5 stars from me was the cliffhanger ending. I had no idea that there would be more!
The Year of the Flood is pretty much a companion book to Oryx and Crake. It runs parallel to O&C, and is overlapping in parts. O&C focuses on Jimmy/Snowman, and his friend Glenn aka Crake, and ultimately the pandemic that wipes out most of humanity but the Crakers, the gene splice of humans that Crake created, the perfect humans. TYotF tells the story from two different viewpoints, Toby and Ren, two women. Just the fact that they’re female, living in a world that’s so hostile to women really resonated with me. Toby is a woman living in the Pleeblands, the area outside of the huge, protected company compounds, where people like Jimmy and Crake would go to get their kicks. She ends up at SecretBurgers but has to flee because the abusive boss there likes to treat women roughly until they die. Toby is rescued by the Gardeners, a religious sect that combines Christianity, vegeterianism and belief in science. They speak of the Waterless Flood that will come and sweep away humanity for a fresh, and better start.
Ren is a young Gardener girl. Her mother eloped from the Health-Wyzer compound to be with Zeb, the most militant of the Adams of the Gardeners. Eventually, she goes back to the compound world where she meets Jimmy and falls in love with him.
The story of the two women and Amanda, another Gardener, is told in retrospect, but it’s clear from the start that both of them survived the Waterless Flood as the Gardeners call the big pandemic from O&C. Eventually the books interweave completely and the ending from O&C is continued.
The writing is just so thought-provoking. The world of those two books is so frighteningly realistic. It’s the story of a planet that’s brutally exploited. I do believe anything described could actually happen. I don’t think it’s a story for everyone, and especially women responding to triggers should be careful here, as the men of this world are not kind to women. But that’s also frighteningly realistic, isn’t it? If you enjoy dystopian worlds, I highly recommend reading both of those books, one after the other. Can’t wait for 2013, for the sequel, MadAddam.