Reviews

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood

mbartman21's review

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2.0

I wanted to stop reading this book way at the beginning because it was dragging. But I kept at it, hoping the middle and end would pick up. They did not. It was a good story, but there was no climax. No resolution. The book just kind of ended. Maybe if I read the others in the series it will be better?

emmaohornegard's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.75

ham_pancake's review

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dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

mattmatros's review

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3.0

Since my only other experience with Atwood comes from reading The Handmaid's Tale (maybe one of my two or three favorite books of all time), expectations for this novel were through the roof. But I understand that's not fair, and so I give Oryx and Crake an extra star even though deep down I don't think it's deserved.

The social commentary provided by this novel's dystopian future seemed completely obvious to me. Art has lost its value. It's bad to genetically alter animals. The food industry is disgusting. There is a rich/poor, educated/uneducated gap. The child sex trade is not right. We already know all this, and it isn't any more horrifying in this novel than when I read about it on Facebook every day. I think part of the problem is that ten years ago, when Oryx and Crake was published (and even more so pre-9/11, when Atwood started writing), a lot of the issues Atwood raised really were off people's radars. Not so now, which is probably to society's credit, but it makes her novel seem dated. The brilliance of The Handmaid's Tale is it feels as relevant today as ever, which I think is because the world Atwood creates in that book is one we'd all love to believe could never happen. But the more I read, the more plausibly terrifying it all became. In Oryx and Crake, most of the scary "future" problems are already taking place in 2013. It's missing the element of "this can't be? oh wait, it can!"

On a narrative level, not much about this book worked for me. The characters are not fleshed out (who is Oryx? she is one half of the title, and she's basically a non-entity), and the prose is pedestrian. Again, I can't help comparing with The Handmaid's Tale, which is so superbly and beautifully written it feels like magic. Oryx and Crake is necessarily bland against that backdrop. Maybe Atwood's mistake was ever trying to write another novel after producing such a masterpiece!

So anyway, in summary, I didn't enjoy this book at all, but I'm willing to allow that unrealistic expectations played a role in my forming of that opinion.

escapegrace's review

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4.0

I originally read this book in 2004 and this time around, I was teaching it. It was a little awkward at first because I forgot how much sex there was - not much by bodice-ripper standards, but a bit more than enough by required reading standards. My students handled it quite well and, judging by class discussion and their essays, enjoyed it as much as I did.

marnie17's review

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adventurous dark funny medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

bookexplorer's review

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4.0

Margaret Atwood is increasingly becoming a favorite author of mine. While I didn't love this one quite as much as The Handmaid's Tale, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and bought the next two in the series immediately upon finishing.

There's just something about Atwood's prose that gets me. Part of it is her brilliantly accurate metaphors. There are so many times where I read a metaphor of hers that is totally out of this world, and I think 'yes, that's exactly what it's like'. Beyond that, I don't know. I just love her writing. The plot of the book is also griping, set in a dystopian world and filled with eerily believable facets of the future. Overall, definitely recommend thus far.

hannahcorness's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

buncie's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny mysterious reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

claireestey's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

3.75