All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: After The Flood by Kassandra Montag

on October 24, 2019

After The Flood
Kassandra Montag
Harper Collins
2019, 432p
Copy courtesy Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Life is about more than just surviving…

An unforgettable, inventive, and riveting epic saga about a mother, her daughter and their struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic flooded world, which signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.

It’s 2031, and the world has been utterly transformed. After years of rising floodwaters, all that’s left is an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. Civilization as it once was is gone. Bands of pirates roam the waters, in search of goods and women to breed. Some join together to create a new kind of society, while others sail alone, barely surviving.

Myra and her young daughter, Pearl, survive by fishing from their small boat, visiting small hamlets and towns on dry land to trade for supplies and information. The sole purpose of Myra’s existence is to protect Pearl, while mourning the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was kidnapped during the last terrifying storm surge.

For eight years Myra has searched for the girl that she knows, in her bones and her heart, still lives. In a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra hears that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment of raiders on the coast of what used to be Greenland. Throwing aside her usual caution, she and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas to rescue her.

A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, exhilarating, action-packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder – an affecting and wholly original saga, both redemptive and astonishing.

I have to admit, I thought this was set further into the future that just 12 years. Maybe like 2131 or something. But anyway, after years and years of rising floodwaters, very little land still exists now. Just the tops of what used to be high mountains, surrounded by water. There are a few communities where people who live on the water like Myra, can trade fish for other items. But you have to avoid the pirates, groups who roam in large boats, and control some of the few remaining land communities. They take children to work and women to be on large “breeding” boats, pumping out a child a year to help boost their numbers.

Post-apocalyptic novels are some of my favourites to read, I really enjoy that survivalist type of plot. It makes me wonder how I’d be in such events (hopeless, pretty much every single time). There’s something terrifying about them too because they’re fantasy….but also, maybe not really? Like this is something that could happen, given the right conditions. The oceans are already rising…..polar icecaps are melting. Australia is a coastline nation – something like 90+% of our population lives along its vast coastline. If it rises too much, we’re basically all toast, either having to adapt to a new life on water like Myra and her daughter Pearl or heading for the interior of the country which is sparsely inhabited for a reason. This is the sort of post-apocalyptic novel that is both easy and difficult to imagine. Easy because of the fact that the sea level is rising and there will be consequences of that but also difficult because our country is becoming drier and drier, stricken by drought and it’s so difficult to imagine water covering a large portion of it, even ocean. There are some great descriptions here of Myra sailing over what used to be cities on the California coastline, vast skyscrapers below the surface of the ocean that one has to watch out for, like rocks.

But for me, the beginning of this novel was slow as heck, unfortunately. And not necessarily in a good way. It just took so long to get going and establish itself, get the story moving in the right direction. It just felt like a lot of sailing and catching/gutting fish and then some more sailing followed by joining another boat and then a lot more sailing. I understand the majority of the book takes place on the water, but I think there could’ve been more things happening, even as the sailing was occurring. Also, Myra seems to do a lot of things that potentially put in jeopardy the daughter she has, in order to search for the one that was taken from her years ago, when her husband (former husband?) fled with their young daughter, leaving a heavily pregnant Myra behind. What a complete piece of work he was with a pathetic excuse for why he did what he did to her. But I suppose this is what events like this do to people, they make them do desperate things in order to attempt to ensure their own survival, often at great cost to others. But Myra did survive and so did the child she was carrying.

The action does pick up considerably towards the end, where Myra manipulates a lot of people to get her way, putting not just herself and her young daughter in danger but also other people too, people who make decisions based on her lies. I understood her desperation to track her daughter but she seemed willing to throw anyone and everyone else in her life under the bus for this goal, without a single bit of real remorse. She lies at will, deceives people and forces them to do what she wants when really they just wanted to try and make a life for themselves that was as free from violence as it could be. Instead she basically leads them right to violence and the probability of death in any number of ways. In some ways the world building is quite rich and detailed and in others it’s quite annoyingly vague.

I didn’t enjoy Myra as a character and I didn’t enjoy Pearl, which in the end, made this read quite difficult in places. The characters I did like, Myra seemed to do her utmost best to wreck their lives or at least change the course of them and not at all for the better. There was little backstory explored for some of the characters that desperately needed it to flesh them out and others drop bombs that go no where, despite them being ripe for helping to both enrich the world building and the story telling.

This was okay. Some good ideas but for me, the execution was not one I found myself really enjoying.

6/10

Book #171 of 2019


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