Thursday, August 29, 2019

Review: After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

After the Flood
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
William Morrow
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Hardcover. 432 pages

About After the Flood:

"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."

After the Flood is a post-apocalyptic novel that felt very different from others that I've read lately. In this one, the sea level around the world has risen and a majority of land that was once above sea level is now below it, hence this taking place 'after the flood'. This is where we find our main protagonist, Myra, and her daughter, Pearl, as they continue their life sailing around to various trading ports in order to maintain enough supplies--and to keep searching for Myra's other daughter who was taken from her several years prior.

I found After the Flood to be an oddly compelling story, both thoughtful and adventurous at the same time and full of interesting ideas about humanity in this post-apocalyptic world. In the end, I'd say this is more a story about a mother's love, grief, and the will for family survival than it is solely about how to stay alive, though it combines these ideas in a cohesive and thought-provoking manner.

Myra is a determined women who has learned how to be tough after growing in such a constantly changing and dangerous world. Myra's daughter, Pearl, starts out the book as a seven year old who is simply along for the journey with her mother to find a sister that she's never met. Since Pearl has known nothing but this sparse and treacherous world for her entire life, she appears much more hardened and up for anything than her mother is and is easily a force to be reckoned, which isn't always a good thing in this world.. She's truly a rather peculiar child and although I understand that this is a world in which kids probably grow up a lot quicker than their age reflects, Pearl seemed far too mature to be only seven years old. That is something that I thought about a lot throughout this book and that threw me off, but perhaps I'm just out of touch with how mature a seven year old can be.

Myra's desperation to find her child is one that I think most parents would feel. Her struggle to track her down has taken over her life and driven her to take unnecessary risks and maintain a fairly one-track mind. A common sentiment that both myself and Myra seemed to have throughout the story was whether or not this endless search was beneficial or detrimental to the daughter she still had with her--not, of course, suggesting that she stop searching for her daughter, but that perhaps she take less risks in finding her? Her endless moralizing about her choices did reach a bit of an excess at times, which did hinder my enjoy somewhat of her character. Nonetheless, this is very much a story about family and love and soldiering on no matter the circumstances as much as it is another post-apocalyptic story.

Other characters that we meet include a stranded man that Myra and Pear rescue, as well as a bit of a misfit group that becomes a vital component to the story. None of the other characters really grabbed my attention much and it felt as though they weren't quite a fleshed out or developed as they could have been, which also made it hard for me to care much for them at all. I enjoyed seeing the interactions between everyone, as everyone has lost something and/or had a traumatizing past that has led them to where they are, for better or for worse. There's a lot of tragedy and heartbreak in this book, but there's a lot of hope that creeps in at the seams.

This world is one that truly fascinated me. I thought it was interesting to see how humans separated themselves amidst the rising sea levels, how ships became the prime method of transport, and how 'pirate'-like gangs took hold of various territories around the world. Whether it's being used for good or for bad, t's an impressive system of coded flags and other unique methods of communications--including old-fashioned word-of-mouth!-- and so much more that I couldn't seem to get enough of learning about.

Overall, I've given After the Flood four stars!

*I received an ARC of After the Flood in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*


  1. I really hope I have time to read this soon. Its giving me Station Eleven vibes for some reason😁

  2. I love post-apocalyptic stories, especially ones that are slightly "different." It's nice when they can be more thoughtful over action-packed.