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Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake  - Margaret Atwood See the full review on my blogThis book is a dystopian like no other that I have read, if I thought ‘Shades of Grey’ was different, this is on a whole new level of intensity. It takes place on this Earth many years into the future – we are never given a specific time, but in the way that’s it written, you can feel that it’s not too far off to sound unrealistic; the world is filled with genetically modified animals, new medicines, and science is running the show. The types of things described in the book are things that we are currently trying to work on in the present day, and due to the fact that they have made advancements on all of this, it gets a little bit too realistically creepy. It’s one of those novels where you think to yourself that this technically could be happening to our world in the very near future, and because of this it is quite scary to read at times.The story follows the perspective of Snowman, or as he used to be known in the old world, Jimmy. It follows him in the present day when the world has become a desolate chaos, and show’s you a recollection from the past from his school years up until now as he deliriously recollects the memories from before, and how the world fell apart. If there was a casting call for the role of the ‘(technically the) only man to be alive at the worlds end’, you wouldn’t imagine anyone like Jimmy; he was a screw up that was always living in somebody else’s shadow, who didn’t really get anywhere in life. Even though this may sound quite odd, I think that Jimmy gave an interesting perspective to read from because of his personality – he wasn’t always confident about what he did, he had his regrets and was plain right stupid a lot of the time – this made it quite relatable as not everyone would act cool and collected and figure things out like in the movies.The other main characters, Oryx and Crake, as a whole were ridiculously interesting, they had a variety of different upbringings and life stories that shaped them into what they became, and I was intrigued as to the mystery behind them – which there was a lot of, I found myself wanting to read more about their lives than I did about the present day chaos. Sometimes I found them to be a little too vague in the present day, a lot of the things they said got me frustrated as they were so open ended and profound that they just didn’t make any sense. Again, that was probably the allure of mystery that was a key factor in this book, and maybe that was Atwood’s aim, but I can’t help but think that there was something I missed.For the first 200 pages I found myself flying through this book – it’s a relatively easy read, and the structure of the whole thing was brilliant. For me, it was fresh and unlike anything that I have ever read so I was intrigued as to where this was going to go. After about 200 pages however, I did find myself getting bored, I wasn’t reading as much, and my interest levels were dipping immensely. The book became quite boring, samey, and things were just delved into more than they needed too; a food production chain was described with amazing detail as to the history of their products, and although it’s interesting from a ‘near future’ perspective, it’s quite irrelevant to the story at hand and made me impatient for Atwood to just get on with it. Due to this, and just the general lack of story, the book just fizzled out then for me, and I started page counting, (I don’t do this unless I’m getting bored and want to read another book.) Nothing new or interesting was happening, which was very disappointing as it started so well.I finished this book not knowing what had happened, I felt as though nothing had actually been resolved – I had more questions than answers which made me frustrated. I just felt as though an amazing novel just slipped through Atwood’s fingers at the last minute, and although I still loved the premise there were definitely pitfalls which let her down.