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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip back into Atwood's dystopian future
In The Year of the Flood, Atwood explores further the dystopian future she created in her book Oryx & Crake. It's not really a sequel or a prequel, but more of a companion book. The events in this book happen before, during, and after the events in Oryx & Crake; there are many of the same characters and even a few overlapping scenes, which will be rewarding for those that...
Published on Sept. 7 2009 by J. Tobin Garrett

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written but not a page turner
[Cross-posted to LibraryThing and LivingSocial]

The only Margaret Atwood novel I'd read prior to this one was The Handmaid's Tale, which I loved. But having never read Oryx and Crake, the companion to Year of the Flood, I didn't know what to expect. Now that I've finished it, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. It left me feeling flat ' didn't love it,...
Published on Oct. 25 2009 by Andrea


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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip back into Atwood's dystopian future, Sept. 7 2009
By 
J. Tobin Garrett (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Hardcover)
In The Year of the Flood, Atwood explores further the dystopian future she created in her book Oryx & Crake. It's not really a sequel or a prequel, but more of a companion book. The events in this book happen before, during, and after the events in Oryx & Crake; there are many of the same characters and even a few overlapping scenes, which will be rewarding for those that have read Oryx & Crake, kind of like performing a secret handshake with Atwood. But you don't have to read Oryx & Crake to understand The Year of the Flood, as it works very well as a stand alone novel.

The book is set in the future, where the world has been over run with CorpSeCorps (Corporation Security Corps), genetic mutations, underground drug rings, animal extinctions, and more fun things. The main action in The Year of the Flood takes place surrounding a religious group called God's Gardeners that are basically like new age environmental hippies. The structure of the book is interesting, with lots of flashbacks (nicely dated with the year, thank you Atwood). It is also divided into three rotating sections: that of Adam One (head of the God's Gardeners), Ren, and Toby.

Atwood manages to create here a world that is frighteningly like our own world, but stretched to the max. She has some interesting things to say about religion in this book, about our treatment of the planet, about genetic experimentation. I would say it's an environmentalist book, but it's really not that simple. The greatest achievement in this book is that there are no easy answers. There is something unsettling about Adam One and the God's Gardeners, even with all their loving talk. There are questions about morality and questioning authority, about ritual for the sake of ritual and the power of cult and religion.

Her writing is quite beautiful at times, but never just for the sake of being 'literary'. It can be a harsh world, and Atwood doesn't back down when it's time to deliver the thrills, the gruesome details. This book is full of action, and fast-paced.

I hope that Atwood explores this world even further in a third book, as I believe there are more stories to tell here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Awesome, April 8 2013
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Paperback)
Although at first i seemed to get second thoughts about the book, but as i got deeper into the story, it captured my attention, i finished it in half the time i expected. The story somewhat gets the reader to reflect as to where we are going in the future and what is awaiting us. I would definitely recommend this book and waiting for the next edition of this trilogy
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written but not a page turner, Oct. 25 2009
By 
Andrea (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Hardcover)
[Cross-posted to LibraryThing and LivingSocial]

The only Margaret Atwood novel I'd read prior to this one was The Handmaid's Tale, which I loved. But having never read Oryx and Crake, the companion to Year of the Flood, I didn't know what to expect. Now that I've finished it, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. It left me feeling flat ' didn't love it, but didn't dislike it either.

The world in which the story takes place is the same one as in Oryx and Crake. It's the future, and Atwood paints a deeply unsettling picture of what we become. In the Exfernal World, we seem to have lost our basic humanity towards each other; there are no limits to what people will do to each other and there seems to be no sense of guilt for anything that's done. I wasn't conscious of being disturbed by it as I read, but it did get under my skin ' I eventually had to stop reading it before bed because it was giving me nightmares.

I really liked the main characters, Toby and Ren, and their backstories were interesting. Atwood alternates the narrative between them and it worked well. I think the book could have done without the Adam One speeches in between, though.

The general tone of the book was pretty dark and depressing and there isn't much sense of hope at the end ' probably why it left me feeling so flat. It was well written but not really a page turner. I don't think I'll be picking up Oryx and Crake any time soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Flood that never carme..., April 4 2014
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Paperback)
I am three quarter into the book and I am still waiting for something to happen. I cannot relate to the main persons in the story. I read the book only when I can't sleep.... it is NOT a page turner. Way too much descriptions that are thrown together to try to create a world that is not believable. Good fiction needs to be believable. Honestly I don't understand why this book was chosen for Canada reads. I have read other books from Margaret Atwood and this one is not her best.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait for the third book in this trilogy, Sept. 24 2009
By 
Wendy E. Middleton "Booklvr" (Barrie, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Hardcover)
In 1972, Margaret Atwood published Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, in which she proposed that Canadian literature to that point had been based on the need to survive, whether against nature or against human opposition. Thirty-seven years later, Atwood has defended her thesis by making literal survival the entire goal of the characters in The Year of the Flood. We follow two main characters, Toby and Ren, who have managed to survive, by their isolation, the waterless flood, a plague affecting most human beings. However, to continue to survive, they need to get out of their safe houses and out into the dangerous, and possibly infected, world.
Both Toby and Ren are equipped with superior survival skills because they had been members of God's Gardeners, a religion devoted to lessening the effect that human beings have had on the Earth and their fellow creatures. We learn of the Gardeners' lessons through flashbacks of the time that both women spent with the group, from the sermons of Adam One, the leader of God's Gardeners, and from their hymns, the latter two interspersed between the chapters of the novel. Neither Toby nor Ren had entered the religion by her own choice. Toby was rescued by a group of God's Gardeners as she was trying to flee from a psychopathically violent employer, who was keeping her as a sex slave. Ren arrived in the group as a child when her mother became involved with one of the charismatic members of the group. And neither woman left the group of her own accord, but each learned enough from God's Gardeners to be able to endure her time in isolation and her struggle to last in the "Exfernal World".
There is much to admire in any Atwood novel, but The Year of the Flood demonstrates her exceptional ability to imagine, not only the dystopian world of the future, which she has done before, but also the language, the hymns and the religion of this future world, along with all the negative detritus of that era, which we can see evidence of in the world around us. Most chapters note the passing of time by the saints days of the Gardeners. A few are actual saints that we may know of, but Atwood's inventions show her cleverness. The saints of the Gardeners are people who have noted the problems in our environment and urged action to improve the situation, like Saint Rachel Carson or Saint Dian Fossey the Martyr. My favourite is Saint Farley of the Wolves. She also demonstrates her inventiveness with the names of the hybrid animals of the future, such as the Mo'hairs, sheep who possess long glossy hair in a rainbow of colours, which are used for hair transplants. Unfortunately, those who do receive these transplants continue to smell of mutton in exchange for their luxurious locks. Also the hymns of God's Gardeners feel true the nature of the group and take the form of typical church hymns. Apparently Atwood has assembled a group to perform them at her readings, as well as launching a website offering t-shirts and other items connected with the novel for sale.
In A Handmaid's Tale, Atwood's best known dystopian novel, the leaders of the religion she created were the most powerful people in that society. They made the rules for others and broke those rules. They were the source of the problems. In The Year of the Flood, God's Gardeners are a marginal group. At first, I thought that Atwood was mocking the Gardeners with her characteristic cynicism, but they turn out to be prophetic and skilful in the world that they must survive.
Also at first I felt distanced from Toby and Ren and from their stories. I thought of how Atwood when interviewed always seems to maintain an ironic tone as if guarding her true self, and I felt that this type of protectiveness was keeping me from complete involvement with the main characters, such as I had felt in her previous novels. However, by the end, I was lost in the story of these characters and was left wanting more answers to the questions it raised. The Year of the Flood is a sequel to Oryx and Crake, another novel I enjoyed, and Atwood has promised a third volume to this trilogy, which may answer some of my questions. The characters of Oryx and Crake live in the same world as those of The Year of the Flood, and the time periods of the two novels are parallel. Eventually some of these characters spill into the newer novel. However, The Year of the Flood has gone much further in its examination of this world and is a superior work of the imagination. Six years passed between the publication of these two novels. I hope that we do not have to wait as long for the next volume of this impressive trilogy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing!, July 12 2014
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Paperback)
I've read many of Atwood's short stories, but this was my first novel written by her, and I regret that it took me twenty six years. Even more than a week after finishing the novel, I don't have adequate words to describe the experience reading "The Year of the Flood" except for my sheer disappointment in the novel ending. I will be picking up "Oryx and Crake" as well as "MaddAdam". The universe she has created, and the characters within it are addictive and fascinating, and an absolute pleasure to digest.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Drew meets Sponge Bob Square Pants, July 11 2014
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The premise of the Year of the Flood is sound, raising important environmental issues and concerns and the potential dire outcome if we do not address these and change our ways. However, the story line of the book seemed simplistic to me, the characters like something out of a Nancy Drew book, the world after the Waterless Flood" more cartoon like than believable, and the human interactions reminded me of scenes in " the Walking Dead". I finished the book, but only with great difficulty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative! Left me wanting more, June 21 2014
By 
D. Anderson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Paperback)
Love this series. I was glued to this booked, did not want to put it down. Highly recommend the whole series.
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1.0 out of 5 stars UGH, May 19 2014
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Pushed through this because it was for a book club. Sorry I wasted my time. Too bizarre and strange for my liking.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Necessary part of the trilogy, April 6 2014
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This review is from: The Year of the Flood (Paperback)
Didn't flow quite as well as Oryx & Crake. Character Development wasn't as strong either. Yet, there's a lot of storyline that unfolds in this second book of the trilogy. It's an essential part and still an exciting book just noticed my interest flagging during some parts. Haven't read the third & final instalment yet, but am looking forward to it.
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The Year of the Flood
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (Hardcover - Sept. 8 2009)
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