The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power - Naomi Alderman

I apologise for taking so long to write a review. I’ve been so caught up in local politics that everything has taken a back seat these past few days.


I read The Power for a feminist book club that was meeting in Belfast last week. Unfortunately the book club was cancelled, so you’ll only get my thoughts. Sorry! I’m still glad I read it, though, as I found it an eye-opening experience.


The book charts the time when women from across the globe acquire a power that gives them the ability to electrocute or even kill others. It ends up being directed at men and used to attain positions of power.


We’re introduced to several characters from varying regions, such as London and Nigeria, and learn how the power has effected their lives.


What I really liked about the novel was the uniqueness of the story and directions I could see the world going in if something like this did happen. What I’m saying is, what I simultaneously liked about the novel was also it’s downfall. The fact that I could imagine a more interesting turn of events to what was depicted is a pretty big fail on the part of the author. If the book had been scaled back and described how the power affected just a couple of people in one corner of the globe I think it would have been better. The author took a much larger approach and set out to give us a kind of Rise and Fall overview of events, which diminished her ability to make the reader truly connect. The story was just too big for me. In relation to this there were several characters who I felt were unneeded and failed to add much. This idea of failing to add much was a common theme as I felt it just about everywhere. It felt like a novel that wasn’t very well planned, like all of the pieces didn’t really add up and were there largely for filler.


It’s worthwhile to mention that there are pockets of violence that are quite extreme, so bear this in mind if you pick it up. I felt like the violence achieved its goal well by illustrating the depths to which the world had fallen, but I also think it could have been achieved in a more creative and less jarring way.


The aspect I really enjoyed were the letters between the author and a friend that framed the beginning and end of the book. That gave the book a layer of intrigue that was lacking from the actual narrative.


All in all a great idea with mediocre execution.


I read this for: