The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

When I read the premise to The Power by Naomi Alderman I was really put off. I mean, it’s a feminist sci-fi in which women suddenly get the power to shoot electricity through their fingers and ultimately become the more dominant sex, why would I want to read something so nauseatingly overstated and simplified to the point of being patronising? Yes, we all live in a predominantly patriarchal society and women have been holding back their true powers for centuries, but surely there are subtler ways of making the same statement. I downloaded the book mainly to argue against the obscenely positive reviews I found of it, something I do far too often to be healthy.

It doesn’t happen very often (lies), but I was really, really, really surprised to discover that my preconceptions for this novel were entirely wrong. What I thought to be a clear-cut, man-hating rant was actually a cleverly written dissection of human nature, societal norms, politics and authority.

The story is told through the perspective of a few different characters, one of which is a male journalist documenting the changes to society and the violent backlash and confusion that ensues. Each character is tremendously multi-faceted, interesting and, much to my astonishment, actually human-like. The women were not depicted as pure and wholesome and the men were not monsters. In many occasions the opposite was true.

The Power is by no means a pro-women story, nor indeed a man-hating one. The novel is simply a fascinating piece of fiction asking the question all good sci-fis should ask: What if?

This is a must for anyone who has given up on the search for a decent modern novel. It’s a little too topical at times with it’s mentions of modern technology and social media, so I’m not sure whether it’ll age particularly well, but if you want a captivating story that’s bound to change the way you see the world around you, check out The Power.

Emily created Dystopic in July 2012 after requiring an outlet for her love of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. She is currently working on her debut novel ‘These Unnatural Men’ to be published in 2017.

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