Overview (No Spoilers): MaddAddam is the third and final book in the MaddAddam trilogy with the posts for previous novels, e.g., Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood found here. MaddAddam followed much of the same format as the previous two books, having picked up shortly after the conclusion of The Year of the Flood. The story is told again from the viewpoint from Toby, however we also hear perspectives from Zeb and Blackbeard (one of the Crakers). I love that we learn more about the Crakers, as well as the ever mysterious Zeb, and as a result Adam One. While I missed Ren’s chapters, this loss is compensated by also learning more about Glen and Pilar’s background and how the God’s Gardeners and MaddAdam had their beginnings. We also glimpse how the Crakers are evolving and potentially fitting in with the plain old boring humans. Apparently, genetics has been a theme throughout my recent reading list and the MaddAddam trilogy kept in line with that specific subject matter. Overall, this trilogy consists of three books that compliment each other extremely well with each subsequent book building off of the last. I have thoroughly enjoyed this thought provoking series, during the time in which humans can easily manipulate, not only animal genetics but human and the devastating aftermath.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Adam One and Zeb are brothers! Who would have guessed! Zeb’s stories were by far my favorites of this book because he filled in so many story gaps of our favorite characters from Crake to Pilar and mostly Adam One. He even knew the origin of Scales and Tales.
- Ren, Amanda and Silver Fox having Craker babies was a very strange twist of events. I didn’t even realize in the book that the Craker attentions in the woods with the first two girls had escalated to that extreme of a level. I had issues throughout out this book with relationships. Toby is suspicious of Zeb every time he is not in her line of sight, which first off seems very out of character for her strong personality. Secondly, it was eerily similar to Ren’s mother, Lucerne’s jealous rants toward Zeb in The Year of the Flood. Another frustrating relationship was Ren and Crozier. Ren was helping Jimmy heal, resulting in Crozier demonstrating extreme jealous behavior, whereupon Toby and Zeb come across Crozier and Silver Fox in the woods. Afterward, he and Ren are going to raise her baby? So many contradictions.
- I was very dissatisfied with the ending! Zeb disappears and Toby wastes away in mourning. Blackbeard takes over the story telling and the said he is going to pass down reading to Ren and Amanda’s children. I should think that they would be taught to read by their mothers. Also, how are these hybrid children different? Overall, the ending felt very abrupt, with sad endings for a few of our characters and unknown outcomes for the others. However, I did love the the fact that the Crackers could converse with the Pigoons, and in return the Pigoons worked with the humans to find and stop the Painballers.
- It was also fascinating to hear the difference in the fight scenes through the eyes of innocent Blackbeard. It really but the fighting in general in a useless, violent light.
I was frustrated a little by the ending as well. The series was really good if not frightening.
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I was very disappointed by MadAddam. I felt the rich, lyrical world built by the first two books fell into a soap opera blended with survivor, lost its feminist thread and then seemed to rush to tie up loose ends into an unsatisfying ending. Where the first two books left me with a sense of having climbed into a fully imagined world that had parallels but was its own place, the third seemed to lurch right into the standard post-apocalyptic theme that has trended in recent years. I wondered even if she was under a deadline or if, being elderly, her health is such that she rushed to complete the series due to that.
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The relationships in this book irked me, too. They’re unbalanced, contradictory, and even out of character. Worse yet, most of the females are (SPOILER ALERT) reduced to brood mares for hybrid offspring: a disappointing narrative choice from the author of that harrowing feminist classic “The Handmaid’s Tale”. “Maddaddam”‘s weaknesses glare all the more in comparison with its predecessors. It’s a mediocre conclusion to an otherwise inspired series.
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This post-apocalyptic dystopian trilogy is within the realms of possibility what with nuclear sabre rattling, environmental pollution and a resurgence of old diseases (malaria and tuberculosis) and appearance of new illnesses (Zika) that could turn into pandemics.
Atwood is a very innovative writer – Handmaid’s Tale and all those.
I relished this trilogy.
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I haven’t read the Handmaid’s Tale yet. Would you recommend it? I’ve only heard good things so far.
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