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Madd Addam
By Margaret Atwood
An Audio Book Review

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By Margaret Atwood
Read by Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond
Random House Audio, 2013
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 11 CDs ISBN: 978-0-7393-8399-5
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Also available in a Random House Large Print edition.

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - October 18, 2013

Margaret Atwood's post-apocalyptic trilogy comes to its long-awaited conclusion with MaddAddam. The first two books in this nail-biting series are Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Madd Addam takes up almost immediately (time wise), after the end of The Year of the Flood.

In the first two books we are introduced to a world where a manmade pandemic has wiped out almost all human life. In this post-apocalyptic world we find a bevy of strange people, some who may not be totally human. For instance, there are the Crackers (short for 'Children of Crake'). These are a group of genetically engineered people who are passive vegetarians, and who like to sing. There are also the Pigoon's, who are, genetically, part pig and part human. Along the way we also met God's Gardeners, members of a religious group that worship the earth and the Corps which once dominated the world and who liked to organize various blood sports. Then there are the Painballers, who, it could be said, survived the Corps's tournaments only to become psychotic killers and worse.

As book two ended, Toby and Ren had just rescued Amanda from a group of Painballers who had taken her captive. Retreating to the MaddAddamite Cobb House, the trio begins to pick up the pieces of their lives, as they learn to work with the Crakers, the Pigoons, and other new allies.

As the story unfolds, Toby takes to preaching Craker Theology, because their normal preacher, Snowman, is ill. For those who don't remember, Crake is the individual who 'engineered' the pandemic, the Crakers, and much more in this futurist world, and Craker theology sees the 'mad-scientist' Crake as an almost God like being. Meanwhile, Toby's boyfriend, Zeb, is trying to form an alliance with God's Gardeners, a group he once belonged to. This is because the MaddAddamites are finding themselves more and more at danger from the Painballers and they want to arm themselves with as many allies as possible before it is too late.

Much of the story in this third volume is told in flashbacks, and it focuses almost exclusively on Toby and Zeb. I will not really say anything else about what goes on in the story as it is too easy to give away a spoiler without meaning to. Let me just say that while there were a few parts in this third book that I did not like, I did love the ending. Atwood did a wonderful job of tying up all the loose ends in providing a satisfying ending that made it worth the long wait for this final installment to arrive.

This audio version of Madd Addam is read by three artists, Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond. Their reading is animated and in tune with the cadence and emotions of this story. And, as you would expect if you read the first two books in this series, or any of Atwood's other books, this book is extremely well written and well plotted. The characters are rich and unique, the dystopian world that she has created is believable, and the writing is eloquent and even lyrical at times. If you have not read or listened to the first two books in this series, I would highly recommend that you read them first before tackling MaddAddam as this story would be hard to pick up in midstream.

I highly recommend this book to Atwood fans, as well as to anyone interested in dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction.

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