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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on June 16, 2003
Simply put, I loved ORYX AND CRAKE! Despite Atwood's grim futuristic plot of 'science gone mad' I found it difficult to put this book down. The first person narration of Snowman (Jimmy) jumps between the present (a bleak world existing primarily of him and the Crakers) and the past (events leading up to the destruction of humanity) as the details of the plot are uncovered. I most enjoyed Atwood's fresh writing and awe-inspiring imagination. Although I am not a fan of the science fiction genre I loved reading about Snowman's interpretation of the end of society. Of course ORYX AND CRAKE contains many cautionary tales against gene splicing, corporations, and the power of the Internet (why aren't there any 'happy' books of the future?). Despite Atwood's bleak and dark vision of the future there is much to extract, as science can't eliminate human love and desire. The relationships between Crake, Jimmy, and Oryx are mysterious and convoluted and I wanted to learn more. I appreciated Atwood's ability to tell this tale without filling in all the details for the reader. Much is left to the reader's imagination and I wasn't annoyed by this at all. Without risking giving away anymore of the plot I will end this review by stating that I was left greatly satisfied by ORYX AND CRAKE. I remains a gem on my bookshelf.
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on June 24, 2003
If you love Margaret Atwood and her writing, each time she finishes a book, you wonder how she will ever top it. The Handmaid's Tale, which Oryx and Crake is most frequently compared to, is one of her finest work. I am an ardent Atwood scholar and have read all her works. Having seen mixed reviews in the media about Oryx and Crake, I was somewhat afraid to start reading it, particularly because it is somewhat in the same genre as The Handmaid's Tale (a brilliant book and one of my favorite books of all time.) An author's streak of genius can't last forever, and I was waiting for the sun to set on Margaret Atwood.
This novel isn't as bad as the worst reviews promise, but not as good as the best claim. It's set on an intruiging premise, and although it took a little longer to get engrossed in Oryx and Crake than in some of her other work, it moves along at a nice and quite horrifying trot, pulling you in with the almost-recognizable familiarity of bio-engineered events. You like Snowman/Jimmy, it's just that....well, who exactly is the bad guy here? And maybe that's the point. In today's world, with PR spin and ducking politicians, there is no great antagonist we're struggling against--which would make life much clearer.
I noticed that Atwood's writing seemed a little less compelling, acute and participatory than in previous novels. Perhaps the writing reflects the detachment and bemusement of Snowman himself. Although what happens is shocking, it is relayed in a very methodical, non-emotional way.
The best thing about the book was the last few chapters--they surprised me, causing me to think for a lengthy period of time after I'd closed the book. In fact, that night I had very troubled dreams about the subject matter of destruction and a single person's capability for such in today's advanced world. It's been a long time since a book's premise made it into my dreams, so although it may not have gripped me with iron claws in the beginning, I suppose Oryx and Crake got me in the end.
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on June 13, 2003
Well, I couldn't put this one down, but at the same time I can't really say that I was entertained by it. What a bleak, miserable and pessimistic future Atwood envisions. Scientifically complex and literally complex, Atwood is raising the all important question of "what if the scientific tools that we have today are misused, and how far down the road do we have to go before things start to go terribly wrong?" I'm a big fan of Atwood's work, but I have to say that this novel is not one of my favourites, although I DID read The Handmaid's Tale years ago and absolutely loved it. Those who say that Oryx and Crake is a science fiction novel are missing the mark; it's actually speculative fiction - taking a world that is familiar to us now and hypothesizing on an incredible outcome. Atwood raised lots of issues in this book - genetics, and gene splicing, sexuality, popular culture, environmental destruction, the existence of god, STD's, diseases, globalization and the fate of human societies. This is not a "heavy" read but certainly a provocative one. I found the preamble with Snowman's encounter with the Crakers a little tedious, but the story really gets going when we start flashing back to Jimmy and Crake. I really liked the way Atwood keeps giving you hints throughout and keeps you wondering what catastrophe actually struck society, and how Snowman ends up in this situation. The scenes when Jimmy goes to work in the Compound are chilling in their realistic detail and it's the sort of story that gives you bad dreams at night!
This is a good read, and also a very depressing vision of our future!
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on January 5, 2017
This book was enjoyable enough… in moderation. It took me a lot longer to read than I’d anticipated/hoped, and found myself wondering why I’d been so drawn to it on more than one occasion.
I found I liked the “past” (Jimmy) content better than the “present” (Snowman), which was a little rough in the beginning, but as the book progressed, it got better and I wasn’t as bothered. Perhaps that’s just because we started seeing more of the content I enjoyed. By the end, however, I was left wondering exactly how long it had been since the events of the past had taken place – it started to feel as though less and less time had passed, and I was left somewhat confused. It didn’t deter or detract too much, but it was something that lingered at the back of my mind as I continued reading.
I really wished we’d gotten to see more of Oryx. She’s a title character, but she doesn’t really come into play until nearer the end, and I was curious to see a little more of her. Again, it’s not terrible – probably this is just personal preference.
Speaking of things that happen at the end… I was probably most impressed with the last several chapters (where the Paradice Project is introduced onwards). There were a lot of things in there I hadn’t anticipated, and really found myself drawn into the pages in as close to a “can’t put it down” manner as I would reach.
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on August 19, 2016
Not her best work but a very interesting twist on a prediction of a lemming like end to our civilization. I personally predict uncontrolled war as being more likely but choose your own dystopia. Any choice may be Trumped by others. Geographic expansion has always been our escape mechanism - Mars? I see that Ms Atwood has Pelee Island property. Personally, I would sell and retreat farther north. I recommend the world's boreal forest region, the new long grass prairie region of the new climate. Of course a few forest fires and uncontrolled migrations may be endured in the transition. That is not prediction, that is current events. I will read the next in the series.
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on April 1, 2014
Oryx and Crake is the story of Snowman who lives alone in a post-apocalyptic world where the coastal cities of North America are under water, and strange animals roam free. Flashbacks show us how Snowman came to be the last survivor of his kind after an epidemic killed the rest of the human race. At first, I must say that I was a little put off by the main character and narrator, Snowman. I didn’t particularly like him: he is an anti-hero, full of flaws. He is lazy and cowardly, and he doesn’t have much qualms about betraying his friends. But then, as the story progresses, I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done in the same situation. And the scary part of the book is that Margaret Atwood based her speculative fiction on real breakthroughs in genetic engineering. So the future of Oryx and Crake might become our future in a few decades…

Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
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on August 4, 2016
Have yet to read book 2 and 3 in the trilogy. Piqued my interest from the beginning. Not a new idea about a dystopian society but an interesting concept relating to who lives on after a disaster. Good read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 2, 2013
I read Oryx and Crake (book 1) AFTER reading Year of the Flood (book 2). Now that I am finished them both, my opinion is that they are best read this way.
If I hadn't read them backwards, I don't know if I would have gotten through it. O&C is very long and tedious for the first half of the book, but I already knew this world from YotF so it just filled in a lot of back story that I was really curious about.

I thought the story was interesting and the scenarios plausible (in some cases probable). I'm looking forward to book 3 coming out. Since book 1 and 2 both ended at the same place, I wonder if 3 will be another story in the same time as the other 2 or if it will be picking up where they left off??

This series is my first exposure to Margaret Atwood and I am very pleased so far. These two stories didn't suck me in and hold me hostage until I finished, but they did have me thinking about the story when I wasn't actually engaged in the act of reading.
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on December 18, 2015
Loved this book. Chose this book out of a select few that we could read and write a critical book review on for my class in university, and ended up loving the book. Has that cool, Fallout, post apocalyptic feel.
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on July 20, 2013
Admittedly, this was my first Atwood book as I've never found myself in front of her books. I liked it Oryx and Crake and I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic plots, but even under these auspices, I was never fully taken with it, not like McCarthy's 'The Road', which my mind seemed to reference throughout even though they're only linked by a tenuous post-apocalyptic thread. I did enjoy Atwood's meticulous research on the scientific elements and appreciated her backdoor jab at uncontrolled corporate exploitation at humanity's attempts of immortality and perfection. Even though I'd rather thumb through 'The Road' then Orxy and Crake, I'm still interested in continuing on the series.
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