I know most people out there wouldn't agree with me on this one; but I thought Oryx and Crake was better than The Handmaid's Tale. This book was very nicely written and though I did think that the plot slacked a bit at places, it didn't stop me from being completely drawn into the book. The mystery, the "what the hell is happening"-feeling was just great. The only thing I hated about the book was that it was a library copy, and some crazy person had underlined (with a bold pen) words like toga and scamper and written down meanings in corners (which is worse than dog-earing the pages, according to me, anyway.) Sorry, not the point.
Oryx and Crake isn't a proper dystopian novel; it is sort of a dystopia in a dystopia. A short summary (from Goodreads):
Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.
I am not in the mood to write a proper book review, as I rarely am these days. There were parts in the book, which were unrelated to the plot and seemingly unnecessary, and I just loved them. See for yourself how simply and beautifully the book is written:
A caterpillar is letting itself down on a thread, twirling slowly like a rope artist, spiralling towards his chest. It's a luscious, unreal green, like a gumdrop, and covered with tiny bright hairs. Watching it, he feels a sudden, inexplicable surge of tenderness and joy. Unique, he thinks. There will never be another such moment of time, another such conjunction.
These things sneak up on him for no reason, these flashes of irrational happiness. It's probably a vitamin deficiency.
A beautifully written book isn't always a well thought out book, and I get that, especially in case of this one - because it wasn't up to the mark plot and character arc-wise, not to mention, the slightly goofy seeming scientific details. But sometimes, a beautifully written book leaves a far greater impression on you than a well though-out book (hey, I said, sometimes) and this one was one of those few books for me. Somehow (I may be able to better explain how later) I loved this book.
If you like dystopian fiction, check out Dystopia 2012 at Bookish Ardour.