After the Flood was one of my most anticipated reads going into 2020 for my Beat the Backlist Challenge. It was an added bonus that my library had a copy, too! Based on the blurb, this story seemed amazing. I liked that it sounded similar to The Bird Box, but slightly less horrific. I absolutely love a well-done dystopian novel, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve found one that drew me in and convinced me of the events taking place. Needless to say, I had incredibly high hopes for this hyped novel. I was sure it would become one of my favorites of the year and be the heart-tugging story I was looking for.
A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.
Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.
On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten 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.
Sadly, this book was a case of a well-done blurb and a dud of a story, at least in my opinion. Despite the flood as the main theme here, the story remained very surface level for me. I felt as if the entire plot kept me waiting, eager for an exciting climax to come. Unfortunately, the waiting never seemed to end. The small amounts of action were glossed over, leaving me completely emotionless and unexcited. I hoped for less telling and more showing from the writer, for what should have been an atmospheric novel.
I found the characters to be completely flat and unlikeable. I could only muster an inkling of caring for Daniel, a character who didn’t have a role nearly as big as he deserved. I found the mother-daughter dynamic forced and not nearly as emotional as it should have been. Many readers called this book bleak, due to the nature of events the characters face. I happily greet depressing books with open arms, but for me, this wasn’t so much bleak as utterly boring.
Finally, when the story came to a close, I was thoroughly disappointed. I couldn’t help but feel as if I had wasted valuable time for a pointless ending. Maybe The Old Man and the Sea ruined me forever in being a seaworthy reader. I’m sure there are some Biblical meanings hidden in this novel or an important message about climate change I should have been impacted by, but I can’t muster up enough attention to dive any deeper into my exploration of this novel.
For fear of being a complete downer in this review, I will say, I found some beautiful lines and quotes within this story. Kassandra Montag is not a horrible writer in the least. She obviously did something right to get numerous glowing reviews, but the story, in my opinion, was not fleshed out enough for my taste.
Rating: 2 stars