The Power by Naomi Alderman | Book Review

Rating: 8/10

Format: Audio-book – Library

Buy it Here:  The Power

WHOA. This book brought me inside out and outside in and through all kinds of heinous and bizarre things. This was touted as one of the best books of 2017, and I can’t help but agree on an objective level. It was INTENSE and interesting, and made me sad and angry and boggled. It’s not a book I’m going to pick up time and time again, but it’s definitely a literary force, and one that will definitely provoke thought and discussion.

Dystopias are the result of a “what if,” question, but that question is usually “what if there was nuclear war,” or “what if California fell into the ocean,” or “what if the government controlled everything?” This book’s what if question is “What if Girls had The Power?”

The power in the book is quite literal; they are able to generate electricity through a special organ in their back. Enough to kill with a touch, enough to torture, or maim, or give playful zaps. Of course, the physical power quickly leads to political and religious power as the story rolls on. We meet our protagonists, and they proceed to be terrifying. Especially our amiga Allie, who literally experiences auditory hallucinations. The voice tells her to change the world. So she basically founds a new religion, becomes “Mother Eve,” and things get real. Her best friend is Roxy, the daughter of a prominent London Mafioso, so money and power move fast here.

We also meet Margot, whose thirst for power is, quite frankly, impressive. The weird part about her is how relatable she is in the beginning. Her male colleagues talk down to her, her family stresses her out, her ideas at work aren’t going so hot. Then– The Power. She’s a politician when we meet her, and by the end– well. She makes her way up, and she is terrifying. Utterly terrifying.

We follow a whole host of sociopaths, basically. It seems Alderman’s moral is “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” because no one seems to be able to handle this nonsense. I would have loved to watch women make the world a better place after we seized power, but this book is a horrifying rollercoaster ride into a hellish inverse world where women subjugate men on a massive scale.

Honestly, I found I couldn’t love this book because I couldn’t love any of the characters. I wanted to know what happened overall, but I wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular. As horrifying as it is to say it, this read much more like a non-fiction book for me. Maybe that’s not so surprising considering it’s interspersed with museum clips and our friend the male historian.

This poor guy, getting nowhere with this book proposing that once, long ago, menfolk ran the world. In the future, no one believes him.

This book is dark, detailed, nuanced, and painful. It’s feminist and dystopian must-read. That said, I won’t be picking it up again.

Subjective Hearts : 3/5

Objective Hearts: 5/5

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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