The Power by Naomi Alderman is a science fiction novel that looks at sexism and how the world would be if the women were the dominant gender.
The book was released in 2016 and in June 2017 it won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
I really enjoyed this book and as I was reading it I couldn’t put it down. It is a book with action, emotion and great characters. It tackles a big topic but it does it in an interesting way.
It looks at sexism if the dominant gender was female and Alderman manages to turn the world on its head with ease. The way that at one point the world realizes that the women have the power to electrocute and use these powers is interesting. The way that everyone in the book and their society changes. Where the men are scared to go out at night and need to have a female guardian. Although sexism in the real world is not expressed in this way and its not as clean cut as men or women cannot walk at night a lot of fiction depicts it as this way. Therefore to see it opposite to what you usually come across is exciting and new. it shows what the wolrd could be like if society didn’t and doesn’t continue to tackle sexism (with a science fiction twist)
I thought that the characters in this book were great and the way the book was structured around these characters and their viewpoints was a good way to combat this story. Each character was able to bring something to the book that made it more interesting and a talking point. What would happen if a women in government had the power? what happened if a girls power wasn’t working the way it should have? what happens if a boy has it? what happens when the female takes over the family crime business?
All the different characters allowed you to see the events surrounding the discovery much more comprehensible and gave you an insight into the size and scale of the effects surrounding it. I personally liked Roxy the best, she had done bad stuff and did run a criminal organisation but I felt her character was the most likable. Especially towards the end of the book after something life changing effects her. She goes into hiding and when she resurfaces we get to see the real Roxy again. One of the main characters Allie I also liked but I felt her ‘Mother Eve’ persona was starting to change her and effect her choices, not necessarily for the better.
As I mentioned above the structure of the book is written by character rather than chapter. The book is separates into sections based on time periods but similar size to chapters are alternate sections of different characters viewpoint and opinions. I think this worked well for this book as there was a lot going on and many sub-plots and it was easy to keep a track of when structured this way. The book is very well written which helped to keep confusion at bay.
The story itself is exciting and enthralling to read but after the fist half or just before you realize that this power is not a good discovery as people begin to use it foe violence and to get what they want.
This book is one I loved and would highly recommend you read it. I really liked Alderman’s writing style and I cannot wait to read another of her books!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment whether you have read this books or any from the same author)