Book Review | The Power

book review

People can’t seem to stop talking about Naomi Alderman’s The Power. Ever since it came out in October, I have been seeing it absolutely everywhere. I actually got this as my Book of the Month right when it came out, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. But when I saw that Obama named it as one of his favorite books of 2017, I had to finally pick it up.

(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)

Synopsis

The Power(From Goodreads) ‘She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She’d put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.’

Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light.

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

 

Review

 

I am all for the premise of this book. I enjoyed seeing how power moved from men to women, and all the ways in which that changed the world. While the power in this book is very physical – and women often use it for violence – it also gives them more political and social power, which was fun to see. I also thought the violence itself was done in a way that, more often than not, made sense. There were a few instances of senseless violence – women hurting others for fun – but much of it was a role reversal (for example, there a are a few instances in which men are raped by women), which seems shocking even though it shouldn’t. Which is kind of the point. I really liked the message of this book, and think it came across very well.

I did also like that this book was almost written like a historical account, because it felt like something that could actually happen. It was a very creative way to tell this story, and it was very effective. That said, I feel like the writing could have been a bit more personal. I didn’t mind it at the beginning, but I think it took away from the excitement as the story went on. It also created a bit of a disconnect between me and the characters. There were a lot of times that I wanted the story to be more personal. I loved getting glimpses into the characters’ minds, but those were few and far between. It just felt a bit too clinical, and I wanted something a little bit more.

This was also one of those rare cases where I recognized that the writing was good, but I didn’t like it. It just wasn’t something I enjoyed all that much, but there wasn’t actually anything wrong with it. By the end of the book, I struggled a bit to stay invested in the story. The end of this book fell a bit flat, and I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to love this, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Rating

★★★★☆ – While I liked The Power and think it is a great contribution to feminism, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. Still, I think it is definitely worth reading, because it is an incredibly original and thought-provoking novel.

Have you read The Power? What did you think of it?

To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and select The Power as one of your two free books.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission for purchases made through this post.*

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24 thoughts on “Book Review | The Power

  1. I meant to get to The Power in 2017 because it seemed like EVERYONE was talking about it but I never did get around to it. So I’m a little relieved to hear that, even though the narrative style wasn’t to your taste, it was still very much worth a read because of the premise!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The novel is definitely thought-provoking! While I disagree that some things would have happened the way they did, I still thought the book was fabulous and so unique! 🙂 great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am still very much intrigued to read this myself, but I can also see the flaws being something that I might not appreciate all that much either. It’s hard when there’s a disconnect with the main characters. Still, great review and I’ll pick it up for sure one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I’m dying to read this book, I’ve been eyeing it on the bookstores for ages. Too bad you didn’t like the writing style! I do like a more personal book, but several of my favourite novels seem quite impersonal as well, I hope this one will be one I’d like 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had slightly mixed opinions of this book — I felt at times it just kind of went too far with the role reversal and ended up sort of having an undercurrent of “look women in power would be terrible too” which, true, we should aim for equality rather than supremacy, but… I don’t know, it bothered me. And there’s that one really graphic scene that I just found so upsetting it put me off the rest of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see that. I think it went overboard to make a point, but it would have been interesting to see something subtler. It was a lot more graphic than I expected, but, fortunately, I wasn’t invested in the story enough for it to affect me too badly.

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          1. Oh yeah, I’m even more squeamish about violence towards children. And so many kids’ books contain a lot of it. As a child I read them and I was fine with it; as an adult I’m sitting there fighting the urge to just protect all the characters because they’re BABIES and YOU’RE HURTING THEM, HOW COULD YOU.

            (And I say I have no parental instincts…. haha)

            Liked by 1 person

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