Thursday, August 29, 2019

After the Flood

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
HarperCollins: 9/3/19
advanced reading copy; 432 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062889362

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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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