This weekend was either the worst weekend or the perfect weekend to start and finish reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. It’s a what-if novel – what if first teenage girls and the women awoke within themselves powerful abilities that made them the physically dominant gender? What would change? How would it change? And how quickly?
I have a feeling that Naomi Alderman is a big N. K. Jemisin fan because her writing style feels very similar, just … stilted. Like it’s not how she naturally wants to write, it’s an affectation. I’m a huge Jemisin fangirl so I feel you, Alderman, and I get why she tried that. It just doesn’t totally work for her.
Weird writing style aside, I liked this book. Some of the man pain felt a bit on the nose but c’mon, they’re ridiculous and men’s rights is nothing (tm Leslie Knope). The scale of where this book could have gone is so big and yet so much of the book felt so small. The key flashpoints take place in Moldova and I work in international affairs and it takes me a beat to find that country on a map. And maybe the scale actually made it feel more plausible (as much as women waking up to find they can manipulate electricity with their hands is plausible). As an atheist, I did have a soft spot for the upending of religion and how smoothly that happened. There are characters I definitely would have liked to spend more time with.
Is this book perfect? No. Did I feel a whole lot better reading it? Yes. Yes I did.