As my loyal readers know ;), I LOVE the world created by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale, and more recently, The Testaments. I’m a sucker for a dystopia, especially one with a feminist slant. The Power by Naomi Alderman was definitely along these lines.
This novel follows a few characters in a world that we are able to recognize — until women have a power awoken in them. They are able to shock people, injuring or killing others if it’s not controlled. The gender dynamics have changed, and men begin to fear women and what harm women can inflict. The novel focuses on a few main characters: Margot, a politician with two daughters; Allie, whose life as a foster child is rough and makes her run away; Roxy, the daughter of a British mobster; and Tunde, a Nigerian photographer & journalist who covers story as it unfolds. I really enjoyed Tunde’s perspective as a male who began to fear the women around him. I also really enjoyed how he was able to go see how these events unfolded around the world. Often, dystopias only focus on what’s going on in the US and Tunde was able to show us lots of different cultures coping with the onset of this ‘gender war.’
I also really liked Margot’s growth from a small-time mayor to a big-time national politician. Again, many dystopias focus on the US, but most often they do not look at the people who are in charge. This was a fascinating look at how politicians claw their way to the top.
The book is written thousands of years in the future, as if it was found footage, including diagrams & drawings of ‘artifacts’ that existed during the time of The Power. I really liked this framing device — there was some really amazing artwork throughout the novel that really enhanced the story.
As we learn more about this world, really obvious parallels are made to the Bible and Christianity. We also see some Men’s Rights groups pop up (eye roll), which are relevant to the political climate that we’re experiencing in the US right now.
I thought this book was well done, but the ending was a little confusing. I just didn’t think that was the ending I wanted, either. There were some characters I enjoyed more than others, and wish their stories were the only main ones. I gave this book a 3.5/5. Trigger warnings for rape and violence.