Wow. This book was the most intense thing I have read in a long time. It was ghoulishly fun to see power dynamics shifted and a timely reminder that any power imbalance leads to disparity. This book is a page turner with a lot to unpack. Reads like an inverse of The Handmaid's Tale with many of the same themes and takeaways. Must read in 2018!
I usually don't read dystopian novels. I just don't like the genre. But this title began with a hopeful premise. If women had the power to free themselves literally and figuratively. I wanted this story to be more uplifting. Sadly, women with power were no better and had no vision other than revenge and hate. The world falls into chaos. And the spiritual voice that comes to Mother Eve has no message other than the world needs to be destroyed in order to make way for a "higher" way of being. And then the spiritual voice is done and disappears. What? This book could have been so much more.
A compelling thriller about women gaining superpowers. But when I finished this book I felt a little disappointed, to me it didn't have much to say about gender. But then I realized: it has a lot of interesting things to say about power. Which she told us in the title.
Would things be different if women were physically more powerful than men? This exploration of how things might be is eye-opening! Rightly chosen as one of the 10 best books of 2017 by the New York Times, NPR, and others.
This one reminds me of a flip side of Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale." I found it riveting.
The premise of this book is interesting enough, but I felt that it was pretty one-dimensional in the way it approaches sexism and gender issues. I was especially not keen on the presentation of gender as a rigid, unchanging binary.
Power doesn't care about its owner, human do it because we can.
Good construction (convoluted, intriguing), I was captivated mostly. Gender-based violence, so repulsive to become unbearable under the influence of "Glitter", ended up revolving around a philosophical agenda of human race evolution, which gave me some aha moments, yet to off me a clear view of things in a mixed bag.
I'm for Roxy, Tunde, and Jocelyn who were more than victims and protagonists. I'm not sure of Allie (Mother Eve) and Margot (the opportunist?). Tunde, the only one who record/witness the history truthfully, is male.
Usage of realistic social media across the current world demography made the fantasy plot believable.
I really enjoyed this book with its total swap of the male female universe and the exploration of power. Is the tendency toward violence inherent, or just because someone can? Very thought provoking. I will look for more from this author.
Got halfway through and decided it wasn't worth the time it would take to finish it. Predictable dystopian scenario's, nothing really interesting and the switching from one person's viewpoint to another was annoying.
As mentioned previously, this book contains deeply disturbing scenes of sexual violence. It left me deeply unsettled when I finished it late last night. My mind was too agitated to fall asleep.
Knowing that the author was part of a mentorship program with Margaret Atwood explains the confusing framing device between the fictional author and a reviewer. It reminded me of the postscript in a Handmaid's Tale.
Overall, I was disappointed with the missed opportunities as pointed out by previous reviewers. Perhaps a few more drafts were in order before publishing.
**SPOILER ALERT** I wanted to love this book, but it disappointed me deeply. The writing is engaging, the characters are interesting, the switcheroo premise is interesting & believably executed, the development kept me turning pages and was often jaw-dropping. But... and this is a BIG but... this book wanted to be so radical, and it wants to pretend that it IS so radical, and it's not.
This author missed such an amazing opportunity to examine the nature of power itself, rather than just switching gender roles (we've seen that in so many B movies already!). Once again, 'POWER' = the power to hurt, to coerce, to destroy. I kept waiting for the author to make a radical move and show us that POWER is also (I'd argue more fundamentally) the power to create, love, and heal. What if giving women this new gift had enabled at least SOME of them to coalesce in joyful solidarity? What if the twist had given us a real show-down between two radically different conceptions of power? I kept waiting for the author to show me something new. All I got was 'power corrupts women as quickly as it does men.' A valid hypothesis, but nothing as fresh or radical as the blurbs led me to hope.
This book kind of shook me to my core. With a narrative that examines and flips the power dynamic of men and women this book felt like an incredibly timely read right now. Naomi Alderman took the idea of a women-lead society to a place I haven't seen before.
I really liked this book, and finished it in three days which is fast for me given my schedule. It felt somewhat like "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card in some respects, with a story that focused on individuals who play major roles in the future of the planet. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of men OR women when given power over others. I liked the framing conceit of the story, which implied (to me) that we are destined to live out a horrific future, and that horror is cyclical: build, fail, destroy, repeat...
Great storytelling and so very topical right now.
One of the New York Times Best 10 Books of 2017
#8 on Entertainment Weekly's Best Books of 2017
I picked this up b/c I found it on a number of "Best of 2017" lists. It was interesting and engaging, but not really a thriller or an intense "page turner." The genre is one that I like - our recognizable universe, but with a twist - women have an innate power to electrically shock men and cause them great pain or pleasure (or both together.) Reading this in light of the #metoo movement adds a dimension of realism about the complicated gender relationships which arise in the world of the book where women have all of the power. And like the famous quote: Absolute power corrupts absolutely as the book's world of literally empowered women becomes as violent and cruel (albeit in slightly different ways) as our own.
I am confused though by the framing device of the story being a fictionalization of events that happened in the distant (?) past. I could have done without the correspondence between the male author of the "historical fiction" within the larger novel and his female editor as this didn't add anything to the overall story for me.
Top-notch feminist dystopian science fiction.
This deeply thought-provoking read will have you questioning the meaning of gender, its relationship to power, and everything you thought you knew about human nature. Alderman doesn't just deconstruct familiar gender stereotypes, but reconstructs them by flipping the script and exposing the cognitive biases that colour the way we perceive gender. This is a must read for psychology or sociology buffs, or for anyone who enjoys questioning their own assumptions and thinking about the way they think.
I'll give fair warning that this book contains some pretty disturbing scenes and darker moments that may not be for everyone. It's impossible to fully examine the topics of power, gender, and human nature without also examining the nature of violence, which Alderman potrays vividly.
Although I love this book, I do, however, have a couple of gripes about representation. While significant parts of the story are set in the east, Alderman's perspective is unmistakably western, and the geopolitical aspects of the book are lacking in nuance. I also would've liked to see more exploration of LGBT themes than Alderman offered. In a book chiefly about power and gender, it would have been interesting and illuminating to read about a transgender or non-binary character's experience of the societal shift in Alderman's world.
Despite the above missed opportunities, Alderman's prose is masterful, and the language she chooses serves to weave her themes throughout every aspect of the narrative. The pacing is gripping enough that I couldn't put it down, and the subject matter heavy enough that I frequently found myself pausing mid-page to reflect.
I tried to avoid the redundancy of calling The Power "powerful," but that's what it is. It'll leave a lasting impression on you, and I expect it'll spark rich discussion for a long time to come.
Winner of the 2017 Baileys Prize for fiction. It's getting great reviews. Check it out.