After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
"I knew it was sometimes easier to love ghosts than the people who were around you. Ghosts could be perfect, frozen beyond time, beyond reality, the crystal form they'd never been before, the person you needed them to be."
After the Flood was Libraries Transform's #ltbookpick in October. I love the idea of fostering a collective discussion on social media about a book! I hope there will be many more to come!
After the Flood is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel about a mother's relentless determination to find her missing daughter. While Myra was still pregnant with her youngest daughter, Pearl, her husband whisked away their five-year-old daughter Row, and due to the flood waters, Myra was unable to reach him in time to stop him. Now that most of the world is covered by water, Myra and Pearl travel from port to port selling the fish they catch on the boat Myra's grandfather built. When she has finally given up hope, she discovers that Row is living in a colony in Greenland. The problem is, girls like Row are enslaved on Breeder ships at the age of 13, and Myra is determined to reach her before that happens.
Myra will capitalize on every opportunity to reach her daughter in Greenland, no matter the cost. On the one hand, this is a redeemable and admirable trait. On the other, she is risking the life of Pearl and countless others in her quest. And the worst part is, Pearl is completely aware of it. Pearl feels that she has lived her life in the shadow of her sister and often does things just to get her mother's attention. Dangerous things, that lead to unsavory consequences.
Now is this an unrealistic plot point? I don't think so. I could easily see any mother throwing caution to the wind to save one of her cubs, believing in a false sense of security surrounding the cub she has with her. It's heartbreaking to read, but relatable, too.
The story moved forward at a good pace, and though it was well written, it did not evoke much emotion. I did not feel connected to Myra whatsoever. I was frustrated with her poor choices (such as sleeping with a man to sway him into doing her bidding, despite someone else being obviously highly invested in her...oh the sexual tension there...). But at the same time, I can't blame her, because she will fight tooth and nail to get what she wants, no matter who is standing in her way.
Upon further reflection while writing this review, I have changed my rating from 3 to 4 stars. This book is haunting and raw, and there is so much to consider. If you were living in her situation, could you--would you--do it better?
Recommended for fans of: dystopian fiction
Trigger warnings: death, suicide, murder, sexual content
A little more than a century from now, the world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, starting with the great coastal cities, rising floodwaters have left America 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.
Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious and feisty eight-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting small hamlets and towns on dry land only to trade for supplies and information. Just before Pearl’s birth, when the monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska, Maya’s oldest daughter, Row, was stolen by her father.
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 discovers 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 the girl, now thirteen.
On the journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship, a band of Americans like them. In a desperate act of deceit and manipulation, Myra convinces the crew to sail north. Though she hides her true motivations, Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers, men, women, and children who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world.
But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten to capsize their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.
A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, action-packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder—an affecting and wholly original saga both redemptive and astonishing.
Libby via Libraries Transform's #ltbookpick loan for October 2019
©William Morrow: September 3, 2019
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