Sunday, March 12, 2017

Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy

I applaud Margaret Atwood for finally giving me a trilogy to read that was written the way a trilogy should be written!

Before I dive in, let me back up a bit.  I read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale a few years ago and I thought it was an excellent book.  Typically, when I read a book I like, I look for other books by that same author.  In this case, I didn't do that.  Most likely because I always seem to have a wish list of 50 books or so.  I'm always on the lookout for new (to me) apocalyptic type books so whenever I come across a list of good apocalyptic books to read, I always check it out.  Back in the fall, I stumbled upon such a list and saw Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood listed.  I was slightly hesitant to read it only because it was also listed in the science fiction genre and, honestly, I have some hangups when it comes to sci-fi.  When I hear "sci-fi" I automatically think of 1980s science fiction, which I've always avoided.  I decided to give this one a try and I'm so glad I did.

But back to The Handmaid's Tale for a quick minute.  This book has received a bit of attention lately because of the upcoming television series (of the same name.)  If you're familiar with the book, you may find this article (Rereading The Handmaid's Tale, One Month Into the Trump Era) interesting to read.    

Okay, now let's discuss the MaddAddam Trilogy and why this is the perfect example of how a trilogy should be written.  My issue with other trilogies I've read is that, in my opinion, they really should just be lengthy novels but they've been broken out into three books and there's seems to be some stretching involved to create those three books.  This was not the case with Atwood's trilogy.  

The first book in the trilogy flips back and forth describing two different time periods.  There's the post-apocalyptic world and then the time leading up to it.  That time is actually our future world, which was so well crafted by Atwood.  I preferred that part of the book to the post-apocalyptic chapters.  The second book, which in most trilogies is simply a continuation of the first book, details the lives of other characters, many of whom played a minor role in the first book, during that future world and then post-apocalyptic.  The second book also gives you a different viewpoint leading up to the end of civilization.  I enjoyed reading this book the most out of all three.  The third book pulls all the characters together and provides the backstory of the creation of the God's Gardeners.  I was slightly disappointed at the beginning of this one.  It sort of dragged on without much happening and while I normally don't need a page turner, it seemed a bit pointless.  The backstory contained a few subtle twists and tied the plot of the first two books together.    

As for falling under the science fiction genre, Atwood herself has stated that what she writes could in fact happen and that she doesn't necessarily believe her writing should be classified as sci-fi. "Although MadAddam is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies or biobeings that do not already exist, are not under construction, or are not possible in theory."

Atwood's attention to detail in creating a future world was incredible.  She included the effects of global warming, such as a hurricane wiping out Texas, which resulted in a wall being built to keep out the refugees.  There's also the fact that New Jersey has the intense heat and afternoon thunderstorms of an incredibly hot Florida.

I would highly recommend this trilogy, especially if you enjoy detail and future world, apocalyptic type novels.  

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Robin said...

Atwood is amazing-- check out some of the interviews of her if you have time (ha! not that you have much free time with three young girls to raise). She is witty and a bit cutting, but I think you would appreciate her humour.

JEN said...

Adding these to the list. Right now I'm reading -"Infection" by MP Mcdonald (post apocalyptic genre) and it's pretty good.

Melanie said...

I read Oryx and Crake years ago and I purchased The Year of the Flood and then never read it. (I'm not sure why). There isn't a whole lot of reading going on in my house right now but my list is getting longer because of you 😉

BreezieGirl said...

Ooh, I love a good trilogy and a good dystopian novel. I'm definitely going to need to add these to my library wish list for when I finish The Book Thief. I also still need to read The Handmaid's Tale.

Susie said...

I am a long time lurking reader of your blog (which I love!) but am coming out of hiding to say thank you for this review. I read The Handmaid's Tale at school and was a bit 'meh' about it, but I have just read this first of this series and it was fantastic! I will be buying the other two ASAP.

So thank you for the recommendation and thank you for your lovely blog :)