After The Flood
Author: Kassandra Montag
Publication Date: 19th September 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins Voyager
An inventive and riveting epic saga, After the Flood signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.
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 Artic 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.
I was provided with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Wow absolutely blown away Montag’s debut novel. This is a fictional high five to feminism and female centred characters. When the publisher put out a request for bloggers to review this I just couldn’t say no. The cover is artistic and intriguing and if anyone knows me well, they know I’m a huge climate change worrier. This dystopian gem ticked all the boxes and had me hungry for more…just one more page turned into just one more chapter and before I knew it was done. This book is the so unputdownable, it’s got brutal action, but the deeper themes are what touches your soul. It’s a tragic look at what happens when a natural disaster changes the course of how humans operate and survive in a changed world and how we deal with loss, grief and the indestructible will to keep going.
The heart of the story is centred on an unbelievably strong mother, Myra’s will to protect her eight-year-old daughter from unspeakable dangers. This is not the world we have grew to know. There is no guaranteed safety blanket, people’s motives aren’t always clear (and if they are – it’s usually to do something heinous.) The world is now a place that is frightening and unstable. Myra is also on a mission to save her now 12-year-old daughter who was abducted by her father, Jacob, when she was still pregnant with Pearl. The plight of a mother doing anything and everything despite the impact it may have on her is admirable and frightening that a world could become this untenious. Myra discovers that her daughter is being held until she is old enough to be transferred to a “breeding ship” where the raider crews enforce women to become pregnant to repopulate their crews. What a horrendous thought!
“Children think we make them, but we don’t. They exist somewhere else, before us, before time. They come into the world and make us. They make us by breaking us first.”
The realism in this novel is scarily close to coming to fruition. This is the result of climate change that scientists have been warning us about, pleading with us to make changes, begging world leaders to act before it’s too late. It’s already too late for Myra. The rains and continuous flooding has eroded away the coastline, villages, towns and cities. There is only one option and that is to head towards the middle of the land – one that is now becoming overpopulated, everyone has the same thought. Eventually everything will be gone, there is no happy ever after in this scenario. All you have to do is switch on the news and see the footage of the Amazon rainforest overcome with flames to be faced with the stark reality that climate change is a very real and already here. Myra and her daughter, Pearl live on the boat her grandfather built called The Bird. Their survival depends upon trading fish. During one such escapade they come across a survivor called Daniel, he just happens to be a navigator – a skill Myra is sorely missing. The Bird ends up shipwrecked in a disastrous storm and hesitantly Myra suggest Daniel join them on a quest north to where she strongly believes her daughter, Row is located.
I had feared losing them, but there were moments that desire lurked right at the edge of that fear. Set loose from them, I could give up, I told myself. I could slip away into the water, no longer fighting, no longer pretending to be strong.