So..I'm still not so convinced there is a story here. See my review of Oryx and Crake for starters, but essentially in The Year of the Flood we get 97% (my kindle version did not have page numbers so I can't give that) back story. AGAIN! And then the current action starts where O&C ended with 3% left of the book. I checked Atwood's website and there is no notice of MaddAddam #3, but presumably it will come out soon and we can actually have a story. I'm guessing, though that it will be backstory from Zeb or Glenn/Crake's POV and we will once again end at the pivotal moment on the beach.
Getting that complaint out there, there are lots of good things in these two books. I like her anti-materialist and anti-consumerist comments; certainly the perspective in YOF is different from O&C (much more pro-religious and not nearly as focused on the genetic engineering moral component).
After reading O&C I was not sure that Atwood's perspective on religion was negative (clearly Jimmy's and Crake's was), but in YOF she presents a much different picture. Now that we see Crake as a young adult interacting with the Gardeners and can find lots of Crake's later philosophies as regards to the development of the Crakers as originating from Gardener preaching, it is hard to understand these novels as anything but containing moral/religious propaganda themselves (with which I would disagree personally).
For instance, Adam One preaches: "they fell from a joyous life in the moment into the anxious contemplation of the vanished past and the distant future....sucked into the well of knowledge, you could only plummet, learning more and more, but not getting any happier." which sounds a ton like Crake's explanations to Jimmy in O&C for keeping the Crakers simple. My husband once wrote a paper about Utopia and he came to the conclusion that all Utopias require religion (Opiate of the Masses, if you will). I am left wondering if Atwood has reached a similar conclusion.
I was also wondering if Zeb was Crake's missing father (generation would be right and we don't ever find out from where Zeb comes) and he whole splat on freeway story could have been a set up to get the CorpSeCorps men off his trail. This may also make sense as to why so many of the Gardeners did not end up getting sick because Glenn could have given the antidote to Pilar and Zeb and they immunized the early Gardeners. Also, I am not sure I quite get how Crake/MaddAddam/Zeb relationship goes from working together to the MaddAddam programmers having been kidnapped by psycho-Crake.
Going along with this, some of Zeb's actions don't make sense. He is not really a Gardener and there are several comments during the early years that he is an obvious second in command to Adam One, so why is it that he is so committed to finding Adam One after the Waterless Flood? Wouldn't he just declare himself the new leader? Why doesn't he go after Toby (since she is less than a day's walk away and he knows where she is)? Why do they spend their time recruiting anyone rather than just building up their sheep-compound?
Another complaint I had (which seems to occur with regularity in almost everything I read) was the convenience and size of the world. These people are supposed to live in a fairly large city and are segregated into compounds/ares. And yet, EVERYONE KEEPS RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER. Isn't it odd that Amanda (Jimmy's future girlfriend) is also his ex-girlfriend's best friend from the weird cult that they both were sort of accidentally involved with as kids? Isn't it odd that Jimmy's mom is hid by TOBY for a short run? Isn't it odd that Bernice is Jimmy's weird roommate who burns his shoes? Isn't it completely ridiculous that Blanco finds Toby multiple times INCLUDING at the end? I mean, come on...just way too much overlap here for any sort of plausibility.
On the plus side, Atwood does have a knack for accurately portraying conflicting human emotions and thoughts. My three favorites were: "Why do we want other people to like us, even if we don't really care about them all that much? I don't know why, but it's true." and "Maybe that's what love is, I thought: it's being pissed off." and "What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question."
Again, I loved the world and I am interested in reading the last book, but I'm gonna probably only give it a 2 star rating if the whole point of the series is "blank slate, new world" or "perspective is everything and so we get different versions from different POV" and the whole novel is back story with Zeb (or someone else) arriving on the beach with a few pages left in the story.