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.)
(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?
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.
★★★★☆ – 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?
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