Book Review: Maddadam

maddThe moment Atwood fans have been waiting for is finally here! The conclusion to her Maddadam series was released just last week! Concluding the story begun in Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, Maddadam reveals what has happened to the Crakers, Toby, Ren, Jimmy, Zeb, and the other Maddadamites as they try to escape the threat of the Painballers. Having fallen head over heels in love with both Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood (they are two of my all time favourite books), I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on a copy! Unfortunately, while the first two books in the series swept me off my feet, Maddadam was a bit of a disappointment. Why you may ask? Let’s break it down shall we?

The Narration:
One of the things I loved most about Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood was Atwood’s decision to switch the main narrative from Jimmy to Toby and Ren. In doing so, she beautifully interwove the two stories together, and allowed readers to fill in some of the finer details. I found my jaw dropping more then once in picking up details from Oryx and Crake in Toby and Ren’s stories. In Maddadam, however, Toby continues to be the main narrator. The weird thing is, that rather than telling her own story, Toby spends most of the time retelling Zeb’s history. While Zeb’s story was beyond fascinting (and probably the best part of the entire book), I couldn’t help but wonder why Atwood decided to have Toby tell his story rather then Zeb himself. Having Zeb’s perspective on the world around him would have given a much fresher feeling to the story.

Speaking of Toby, she is also one of the things that really annoyed me about this book. In The Year of the Flood I loved Toby! She was strong, intelligent, resourceful, and a real survivor. In Maddadam, however, her character becomes borderline irratating. Absolutely lovesick over Zeb, the time that Toby isn’t spending telling his story is spent mooning over him. Here is a small glimpse into Toby’s head as summarized by me: “Does Zeb really love me? Is he cheating on me? I don’t care if Zeb cheats on me. I bet he is cheating on me. Should I ask him if he’s cheating on me? No. I don’t care if he’s cheating on me. Zeb. Zeb. Zeb.” It was as if Toby had turned into Zeb’s old lover Lucerne! Yes! That annoying Lucerne! The one you wanted to strangle in The Year of the Flood!

The Writing:
I’ve always loved Atwood’s writing style. It’s gripping, moving, and beautiful. While the writing in Maddadam was no exception to Atwood’s usual talent, it was missing a sense of urgency to make it feel more gripping. Rather, the slower pace of the writing caused me to feel little to no sense of fear about the threat of the Painballers to the main characters. This caused the ending of the entire story arc to feel very anti-climatic, especially after how exciting and mesmerizing the first two books were.

While Maddadam was slightly disappointing, I would nevertheless recommend it to readers, especially those who read and loved Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. The overall story is wrapped up brilliantly, and the glimpse at Zeb’s past life was fascinating. If you haven’t read any of the books in the Maddadam series then I highly encourage that you do! Atwood is a beautiful writer, and Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood are absolutely amazing!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Maddadam

  1. In spite of your so-so review I can’t wait to read it. I’ve decided to reread Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood before I do so. Strictly speaking I don’t think it’s necessary, but I want to treat myself to a literary treat!

  2. Pingback: [review] MaddAdam by Margaret Atwood | coffeeandwizards

  3. I have to disagree with your frustration with Toby! She is at a different stage in her life than when we were first introduced to here. She is still that ridiculously strong woman we met but now the book is more focused on her inner dialogue and she is realizing her intense feelings for another and we are let in to her side of the romance. Honestly, I relate to her and love to read how realism is forced to combat with jealousy and hope.

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