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review 2018-03-19 20:10
Listen to the audio version!
The Power - Naomi Alderman

I was expecting more from this book, considering all the accolades and hype it has earned. I found the first 18% confusing, until I was fortunate enough to come across the audiobook, narrated by Adjoa Andoh and that was a huge improvement. Adjoa's Nigerian, London and Russian accents made such a difference to my enjoyment of the book and may have even raised my star rating from 2 to 3 stars.


The premise of the book was strong, that women suddenly developed a skein across their shoulders that generated electrical power and gave them a significant edge over men. The descriptions of this organ twitching and twisting, and the resultant surge of power, were excellent. The characterisations were also strong, boosted by Adjoa's narration.

Some of the violence was a bit lurid for my taste and the use of the 'f' word was offensively excessive. 'f' this, 'f' that, not even any variety of swear word, maybe valid in some cases but totally overused.

The inserts describing museum artifacts were well read in the audio version, by a male narrator, but I couldn't picture the items he was describing and so these parts were frustrating. I was also unsure through most of the book, whether the action was taking place 5,000 years ago, or whether it was in current time - or maybe it happened in current time and was being recorded 5,000 years hence. That may have been a failure on my part, I shall have more idea once my book club discusses it tomorrow.


The ending was a bit weird in my opinion, I felt I'd been left hanging a bit.

Maybe I will edit my review after tomorrow's discussion, but I wanted to get my opinions down before others voiced theirs.

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review 2018-03-18 11:25
The Power
The Power - Naomi Alderman

The world is the way it is now because of five thousand years of ingrained structures of power based on darker times when things were much more violent and the only important thing was - could you and your kin jolt harder? But we don't act that way now. We can think and imagine ourselves differently once we understand what we've based our ideas on.

Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn't. What is a woman? Whatever a man is not. Tap on it and it's hollow. Look under the shells: it's not there.

One of the most written-about books of 2017, and hailed as a modernised version of The Handmaid's Tale, I had very low expectations of The Power. I'm not a fan of dystopian fiction and I tend to avoid hyped-up books like the plague.

However, I am a sucker for a great cover and so this ended up on my shelves.


The biggest surprise was that I found quite a lot about this book that held great promise:


I loved the epistolary exchange between the two authors, Naomi and Neil, at the beginning and end of this book. 


I loved the idea that the rise of the women was not due to a freak accident or a mutation, but was based on a power that had been there all along but had been, for want of a better word, forgotten. 


I loved that Alderman based so much of her novel on current events. 


I loved that there were male characters that were not horrible human beings. Well, okay, there was just one. But ... that is still one more than in many of Atwood's books.


I loved the snarky tone of Alderman's writing. Some of the dialogues and inner monologues was funny enough to make me smirk. Dripping with sarcasm, but it did make me smirk. 


Where the book fell flat, however, was that once the premise had been established, the story didn't seem to go anywhere. Or not anywhere new. It just seemed to follow the same old path of mayhem and carnage that had already been established by both the MaddAddam trilogy and Butler's Parable of the Sower. In fact, the insertion of Biblical tone and phrases reminded me a lot of Parable of the Sower, and the fight scenes reminded so much of MaddAddam that I spent the second half of the book wishing it would end. This had already been done, and done better. 


I really hoped that maybe, just maybe, this novel would have had the guts to dare to imagine the rebuilding of society after an apocalyptic event - the cataclysm in this book.

There are hints of this at the end of this book, but the story ends before it gets to develop this aspect. All we get is another iteration of Lord Acton's adage that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." 


So, while I really enjoyed the political side of this book that seeks to hold up a mirror to society with respect to the differential treatment of men and women, the execution of the actual story as a whole was disappointing.  

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text 2018-03-17 22:14
Reading progress update: I've read 294 out of 340 pages.
The Power - Naomi Alderman

I need this book to end. Tonight. I already look forward to reading something else.

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review 2018-01-20 03:31
The Power (to put me to sleep) DNF at 70 pages
The Power - Naomi Alderman

This is just not entertaining to me. I have been trying so hard to enjoy this, but it's mediocre at best. I must have much different taste than most of America. 

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text 2018-01-19 21:36
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 340 pages.
The Power - Naomi Alderman

Amazon says this book was one their best sellers of 2017. So far, I'm meh. I don't feel one way or another about it. I hate when that happens, and it happens a lot to me. I tend to be the unpopular opinion penguin of best seller lists. What others rave about, I tend to dislike. 

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