The world is mostly water when Pearl is born. The floods have left America a cluster of small islands with roving trade ships and raiders.
Pearl knows little of her father Jacob and elder sister Row, who left her mother Myra when she was pregnant with her. Between them they make do, with Myra fishing and trading to make ends meet, travelling from island to island on Bird, the boat Myra’s grandfather made before he died.
Whilst their life is a tranquil one, Myra still aches for the daughter she once lost. When a chance encounter reveals that Row might still be alive, Myra packs up six-year-old Pearl and together they begin a dangerous voyage to The Valley, where rumours of violence and breeding ships run rampant.
Along the way they encounter death and strangers, finally finding solace on board Sedna – full to the brim with supplies and an able crew – where Myra feels like she might be closer to finding Row than she has ever been. But to get to Row she will have to deceive everyone around her, betraying the trust of those she’s come to love, and ask herself if she’s willing to sacrifice everything and everyone for what might be nothing at all.
Title : After the Flood
Author : Kassandra Montag
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA dystopian
Publisher : Borough Press
Release Date : September 19, 2019
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5
Micky’s 4.5 star review
There couldn’t be a more relevant reflection into the environmental future than AFTER THE FLOOD. It’s written in a time and place where the world is flooded. The worst had happened and this was about life through the lens of a mother and daughter.
Myra was the main character, a mother of two, a reluctant spouse and a survivor. Myra was one of the most quietly strong women I have ever read about. She was single-minded in her need to survive, protect and search, so much so that she often feared she had lost her humanity.
I feared that my heart had shrunk as the water rose around me – panic filling me as water covered the earth – panic pushing out anything else, whittling my heart to a hard, small shape I couldn’t recognise.
The story has a grand picture, of humanity drowning and then surviving but more importantly it is about Myra and Pearl and it is about trust and suspicion, loyalty and betrayal. The story followed these two on their own and then as they came together with others. There was a truly coherent storyline despite the consistently fast-pace of the narrative. I loved the pacing of the book, never knowing what was around the corner, guessing what was foreshadowing and what was just detail. There were some almighty twists that were just excellent.
As a reader, I wanted Myra to have some kind of good outcome but in a dystopian read, is this a realistic goal? Whatever my thoughts on that, Myra also needed to hope and though she rarely did, an odd chink did shine through.
I hadn’t allowed myself to have a dream in so long it felt foreign, uncomfortable, like a muscle gone weak. I pressed deeper into it, saw us on a bed reading a book, a quilt heavy and warm over our legs.
I’ve come away from this book still feeling unsettled, how could I read about this kind of story where earth is mainly water not seeing the relevance? However, Kassandra Montag told this tale impressively through her characters and I am impressed by her debut. AFTER THE FLOOD isn’t a preachy read, it has heart, soul and a challenging story to tell. You will feel discomforted, a little anxious possibly but on the edge of your seat. This is a good dystopian standalone that I would recommend to all.
Thank you Harper Insider and Borough Press for this early copy.