Review: Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy #1) by Margaret Atwood

Title:  Oryx and Crake
Author:  Margaret Atwood
Series:  MaddAddam Trilogy #1
Publisher:  Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
Publication Date:  2003
Pages:  374
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased  
Age Group/Genre:  Adult/Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Great Even When Reread…

Some books you just can’t reread.  Or you have to at least wait a while before rereading them, because you remember the huge twist at the end and you really wish you could reread it for the first time, but you’ll make do with just putting some distance between yourself and the book, so maybe you can just trick yourself into forgetting major plot points.

Luckily Oryx and Crake is a book you can reread again.  I first read it in 2010, and just reread it again at the beginning of 2015.  So maybe it helped that I had put some time between my reads, but I’m glad that although there were lots of things I did remember about this book, there were definitely things that I didn’t remember, and therefore I was able to be surprised all over again.

In fact, there were parts of this book that I think I repressed.  This is definitely an adult book, with some really horrible things that happen to the characters, that I wouldn’t want my son to read about until he’s much much older.  Like 18 or so.  I’m sure lots of teenagers can handle these things but they were so uncomfortable, even for me at age 30 and 35, that I know they’re not topics for everyone.  But even though there were those scenes in there that were hard for me to read, I still really enjoyed Oryx and Crake, even the second time around.

The world is just so vivid and horrifying in this series, and Atwood just paints such a detailed portrait of the world and its inhabitants (whether they’re human, almost human, or animal) before, during, and after the apocalyptic event.  I love how Oryx and Crake lets us peek into this world, where we see Snowman/Jimmy as he is after the apocalypse, and yet we also see his childhood and the events leading up to the apocalypse.  But we still don’t see a huge fraction of the world–that comes in the rest of the series.

Great Quotes…

Oryx and Crake is full of some really beautiful and humorous lines, but here are just a few of my favorites:

“So many crucial events take place behind people’s backs, when they aren’t in a position to watch: birth and death, for instance.”
“That kind of cool slouchiness always impressed Jimmy, coming from another guy: it was the sense of energies being held back, held in reserve for something more important than present company.”
“He came to understand why serial killers sent helpful clues to the police.”
My rating for Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood:
4 big stars.  This world and the characters within it are just so compelling, and Oryx and Crake is a great start to this series. 
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Random House
You may also enjoy:  Pure Not a Drop to Drink Vicious

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

1 Comment

  1. Brandi Kosiner

    January 23, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    The vivid and horrifying aspect sounds like it is rereadable

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