As my readers are aware, I've had decidedly mixed reactions to Margaret Atwood's idiocratic MaddAddam trilogy so far, and I was annoyed enough with the second volume to be at best lukewarm about taking up the third, MaddAddam.
But then I got my hands on the audiobook (bit of a mistake, although with the importance the oral storytelling tradition plays in this series, an audiobook version seemed like a naturally good fit, except, well, the narrators. Oh, the narrators*) and decided this would be good enough for pre-sleepytime ingestion and finally gave it a go.
But so I... I don't know where to
begin with this one. Atwood has been crippling what should be a
fascinating double-dystopia with soap opera melodrama from the start,
but in this closing volume... well, it's almost all soap opera, right
down to a major character spending most of the narrative
unconscious/comatose. Yep. Oh, and the badass heroine of the prior novel, Toby,
gets all her teeth pulled and instead of being smart and resourceful
and tough, spends most of her time simmering with jealousy of the
younger, prettier women whom she suspects of having designs on her man
(who is admittedly a bit of a tomcat but whatever). Seriously. Did I
miss a bodysnatching?
So yeah, I mostly wound up just glad it was
over. It didn't help that the audio book featured two very annoying
narrators, but even had I been reading the text myself I'm pretty sure
I'd have felt that way.
I will say this, though: The narrative
voices are distinct and masterful, the world-building is still great,
and all of the narrative threads were pulled tight. Atwood is a total
Just, someone take her TV away during the daylight hours? Please? Because DAMN.
*The narrators seriously drove me nuts on this one. Narrators, plural, because there is a female narrator for the Toby-centric bits (which also include most of the Crakker dialogue), and a male for Toby's boyfriend Zeb's bits-as-told-to-Toby. The female sounds like she's voicing cartoon characters most of the time (but especially so when she has Crakker dialogue); the male is an annoying cross between Dramatic Action
Movie Trailer Guy and William Shatner, though he is funny on the songs. There is a third male narrator voicing a whole new character in the last few chapters of the books that's just fine, though. Why not just let him tell the whole story? Certainly it would also have made the production a lot less gimmicky, as well.