In the final episode of the speculative world first drawn in Oryx and Crake, followed up by The Year of the Flood, MaddAddam: A Novel spotlights some characters from the previous novels, while introducing some new ones, and reveals their stories.
We learn more about how Zeb has survived after the pandemic (the Waterless Flood), and we follow Toby, previously a resident of the God’s Gardeners, who narrates the Crake theology for those who are trying to fill in the blanks. We reconnect with Ren, Amanda, and Jimmy, and learn the backstory for characters like Zeb.
There is plenty of adventure, a lot of storytelling, some humor and romance, and a search for other lost friends, like Adam One.
Learning about the new creations, the genetically engineered beings, was intriguing. Especially when these Crakes showed us a sweetness, a naivete, that we rarely see in our world. And when the storyteller is in a position of having to explain to the Crakes very simple concepts (to us), I am reminded of their childlike nature.
One of my favorite aspects of this tale, and the previous one (The Year of the Flood), was how objects were named in a humorous, almost tongue-in-cheek fashion: Violet Biolet (toilet), as one example.
I did not enjoy the whole maggot leeching going on, although it was a bit fascinating to envision such a treatment when conventional medicine is not available.
I liked that Toby and Zeb were the primary storytellers, since they had experienced the “old world” as well as the new one. Giving them a special place of wisdom seemed appropriate.
However, having said these things, I really did not engage with this tale as much as I did with “The Year of the Flood.” But for those who enjoy dystopian or post-apocalyptic tales, and especially for those who have read the previous two books, this one makes a nice epilogue. 3.5 stars.