After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
advanced reading copy; 432 pages
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag is a highly recommended post-apocalyptic climate science fiction novel.
It's a little over a century in the future and rising flood waters
and melting polar ice caps have resulted in a world underwater with just
the highest mountain ranges forming an archipelago of islands. Living
on their small boat, the Bird, are Myra and Pearl, her seven-year-old daughter who was born on the boat. The Bird
was built by Myra's grandfather, who started the journey with them but
has since passed away. When flood waters overtook their home in
Nebraska, they started their journey.
Along with survival, a major goal was to search for Row, Myra's older
daughter, who was stolen away and taken off on another boat by her
father. Myra fishes, and visits trading post on islands to barter her
catch for supplies and look for information on Row. A violent
confrontation results in Myra getting information that Row was seen,
alive, on an encampment in Greenland. Myra is determined to get a larger
boat that can survive the journey to this camp and rescue Row. When
they have Daniel, a navigator, join them, and then they all join the
crew of a larger ship, Sedna, it seems that Myra may be able to
get to the island to rescue Row. Her determination to do, however, may
end up endangering everyone.
After the Flood is reminiscent of the long running genre of many other dystopian flooded earth novels (Stephen Baxter's Flood, 2008; Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, 2003-2013; J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World, 1962 - for example) and the movie Waterworld,
1995. Obviously, if you like this genre of science fiction, you will
enjoy Montag's novel. The writing is very good in this debut novel and
excels more in the literary writing, rather than the world building,
which is adequate, but not extraordinary. Additionally, there are some
little niggling details in the plot that require you to set doubts aside
in order to enjoy the action in this thriller.
The novel focuses on Myra, both her love for her daughters and her
determination to save Row. Myra is a well-developed character, but the
other characters are all bit players in many ways. There are several
strong female characters, however, which is refreshing. Montag exposes
both the positive and negative in Myra's character, exposing some real
flaws and questionable morals in her behavior. She is determined to save
Row, no matter the cost to others (in some ways including Pearl), as
she faces an endless series of obstacles. She also has some surprisingly
good fighting moves.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.