After enjoying Oryx and Crake so much, I thought the series couldn't get any better. Instead, it grew and developed. I'm honestly not surprised. I am a long term admirer of Margaret Atwood's writing, and she was never disappointed me.
The Year of the Flood happens simultaneously to the events of Oryx and Crake. Like Jimmy, both Ren and Toby survived the 'Waterless Flood', now faced with a society destitute and ruined. The Year of the Flood, much like Oryx and Crake, flashes between time frames. Jumping from the 'present day', back to Ren and Toby's time at the God Gardeners, at first was a little confusing, but it quickly added far more depth to the story. We follow their stories, from how they originally met, to their everyday life within the Gardeners, and then their lives after the Flood.
What I really loved about the book was it's subtle, but effective links with Oryx and Crake. We meet Jimmy in his younger days, we meet Crake again, only shortly, but they are there. The 'God Gardeners', a religious group who predict the 'Waterless Flood' are far more focused on in this novel, building on the small mentions in Oryx and Crake. They can, however, be read as completely seperate books, which adds a whole new dimension to the narrative. It's like you know it's part of a series, but you know it's a story in its own right. It adds two dimentions to your reading.
What impresses me about The Year of the Flood is the depth which Atwood went into, especially regarding the God Gardeners' philosophy. As part of the book's release, she performed 14 choral performance of the hymns she wrote for the book. Each section also included a speech by Adam One, allowing for a deeper analysis of the religious philosophy that the book centred around. She knew inside out how she was going to link The Year of the Flood with Oryx and Crake, and answered questions and posed new ones. We found out a bit more of the mysterious MaddAddam, of which the trilogy is named after.
If you haven't read Oryx and Crake, you can read The Year of the Flood. They are independent enough to be read separately, while linked enough to consider them part of the same series, and universe. If you haven't read any Margaret Atwood, it is an excellent introduction to her speculative-fiction, and really highlights her brilliance as a writer. I can't wait to get my hands on the final book in the trilogy, MaddAddam. Many reviews highlight that it wraps up the trilogy perfectly, and I have high expectations.