After the Flood is a compelling story of one woman's quest to find her daughter in a post apocalyptic world. The waters have risen over most of the world due to climate change and Myra lives hand-to-mouth with her daughter Pearl aboard their makeshift boat, making a rough living through fishing. But there's an event in her past which haunts her- her husband Jacob leaving her after the floods came, and taking their first daughter Row with him.
Why did he do this? Well, we don't know, although we do find out he had been wanting to leave prior to this and wanted Myra to come with him, but she wouldn't leave her grandfather, who was building a boat of his own to ride the waves. Myra has all but given up hope of finding Row when one day she gets a clue to her whereabouts. She's so far away it seems almost impossible but once she knows her daughter is alive she will stop at nothing.
From there we sail over a vast part of the post- flood world, and the world itself is fascinating. Mountains reach above the waves and many are underwater as well, not to mention cities. That's part of the problem for me though in terms of the worldbuilding. I mean, sea level rise that covers entire continents? The Rockies underwater for the most part, Nebraska being inundated by waves that roar across the prairies, submerging everything? It seems a bit much.
I had to suspend my disbelief at this and just go with it, and after a somewhat iffy start I got sucked into this and was along for the ride. And for the most part I really liked this. There are raider ships, everyone for themselves mentalities among many survivors, and a world of mountaintops protruding from the seas and trader settlements. Allies become available but who can Myra trust? That becomes a serious issue as the story progresses.
In the end I enjoyed this, and I may have shed a tear or two along the way, but it didn't quite rise to greatness for me. The improbability of the world affected my feelings a bit, and I skimmed a little at times, but I think my biggest issue was that things seemed to happen to further the plot, and I found that unrealistic. Need allies? Something happens to provide them. Need to get to a certain part of the world? Something happens to make that possible. Having said this, I don't want to diminish the book because it is good. It just didn't amaze me. This is a debut novel and this author is one to keep an eye out for.