I was in between books, about to travel, and wanted a ‘book book’ not an e-book. So I went to our home library and found a gift I had forgotten about – MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. It is the third book in a trilogy, the first two being Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Hmmm…I wasn't sure I’d catch on to the story since MaddAddam was the end of the trilogy but I needed a book.
At the outset we are given ‘The Story So Far’ which is very helpful and sets the stage. We learn that most humans have been wiped out by a plague of some sort and that there are engineered beings that live free of the worst traits of humans. Introductions are made to the humans that have survived the plague and what they are currently doing in the story.
Then off we go looking for Adam One; saving the surviving colony of ‘good’ humans from the Painballers, the ‘bad’ humans; learning the story of the engineered beings, the Crakers; understanding why the plague happened; and getting the back story of the main characters Toby and Zeb. The names of places are weird, the stuff they eat positively gross, the clothes they wear funny, and the continuing fight for survival a drama. By the end of the first chapter I’m hooked, and giggling!
Author Margret Atwood uses simple words in short sentences and with short chapters. Yet when she is describing a scene I get it. For instance, “Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing or I can’t go on with the story. … Yes, it rained inside the Egg. No, there was not any thunder. … Yes, good, kind Crake. Please stop singing.” The action is fast moving and balanced with the restful periods. The overall pace of the story is good and the intrigue keeps me coming back. Within the story I find the characters believable, Blackbeard being my favorite. In the colony, for example, we see the members demonstrate the normal human needs for purpose, work, love and the not so good parts of jealousy and anger. Even the flying pigs work in the story but you’ll have to discover for yourself how they fly.
I would say to you that Science Fiction and Fantasy are not my favorite types of stories to read but when a story is well written you get into it. All the strange names become normal, between the Pleebands and the Mo’Hairs, and you suddenly find yourself immersed. That was what happened for me with MaddAddam. For those reasons I would recommend this book.
I marvel at the imagination required for writing science fiction and fantasy stories. I marvel even more at how prolific a writer Margaret Atwood has been writing in her career. Not only has this Canadian writer won numerous awards; she was also inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. And one of her books, The Handmaids Tale, was recently made into a TV series. I often find I prefer the book to the movie or television version so I’ll be heading to the bookstore before I start watching the series, though I do like television too!
What do you prefer, book first or movie first?