Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Power” as Want to Read:
The Power
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Power

by
3.88  ·  Rating details ·  76,748 Ratings  ·  10,568 Reviews
What if the power to hurt were in women's hands?

Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.
Paperback, 341 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by Penguin (first published October 27th 2016)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Emily May
It doesn’t matter that she shouldn’t, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted.

TW: rape.

Ooh, this is a toughie. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Alderman's The Power. It's an intriguing and clever concept, but this never really translates into an engaging story.

Imagine if one day, suddenly, girls developed a strange physical power: they can produce electricity inside them. They can use this power to hurt, to torture, and to kill. A world that is built on patriarc
...more
Laura
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
When a male friend found out I was reading a book in which all women simultaneously develop the power to electrocute people and subsequently seize control of society, he responded "Tch, if that were the other way around, you'd go mad"... NO SHIT SHERLOCK! Damn right, the idea of a society in which one sex is systematically oppressed through the threat (or use) of physical and sexual violence infuriates me. The concept of one sex being disproportionately raped, killed and restricted sickens me. B ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, recommended
Wow.

I finished this novel at midnight last night and after I went to bed, I blinked into my pillow and tried to think of what words I would type into this box on Goodreads apart from that first one: wow. After a few minutes thought, I figured I could add "intelligent" and "uncomfortable" and "thought-provoking."

The problem with all of those is that they get used so often that we see only hyperbole. This book, like many others, bears a jacket printed darkly with other authors saying great things
...more
Regan
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75
Benji
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seriously?! Christ this is a mess. I'm obviously wrong considering all the glowing praise and award-winning going on here, but can't for the life of me understand what the fuss is about. I mean, great concept but poor execution. Way too many of the chapters felt off or forced, I didn't invest in any of the characters, and the ending didn't redeem it - in fact, probably made it worse.

Very disappointed.
Kat O'Keeffe
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a brilliant read that explores power and gender dynamics in a fascinating and thrilling way! i do think this book favors the ideas and the writing over the story arc--some parts weren't quite as cohesive as i would've liked--but i did still thoroughly enjoy this! it was so captivating and frustrating and horrifying and familiar all at once. i will definitely be thinking about this book for a long while, and i think it would be an excellent choice to read with a friend/bookclub because there are ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.



Roxy is a tenacious girl with an influential family. Tunde enjoys lounging poolside after his photo-journalism class. Margot is a politician with grand aspirations and a vulnerable teenage daughter. Allie is a young woman whose religious foster parents are not what they seem. Roxy, Tunde, Margot, and Allie have relatively normal lives, until something extraordinary happens: Teenage girls acquire supernatura
...more
karen
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOW AVAILABLE!!

Sometimes it's good to go to war, just to know you can.

i’d enjoyed this author’s kinda-sorta The Secret History book, The Lessons, some years ago, and when i saw the cover and description for this one, i was very WANT for it. so, first things first: millions of thanks to lena for so generously sending me a copy, because it isn’t out in the u.s. until OCTOBER! sheesh.

this is nothing at all like The Lessons, leaving realism behind for a feminist SF “what if?” scenario in which girls
...more
Elyse Walters
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing like this catches my attention.......

“There is a feeling in his hand as if some insect has stung him. He looks down to swat it away, and the only thing on his hand is her warm palm.”
“The sensation grows, steadily and swiftly. At first it is pinprick’s in his hand and forearm, then the swarm buzzing prickles, then it is pain. He is breathing too quickly to be able to make a sound. He cannot move his left arm. His heart is loud in his ears. His chest is tight.”
“She is still giggling, s
...more
Emma Giordano
May 10, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
DNF @ 50%

I actually think this book is FANTASTIC. It's extremely sophisticated, well written, and though-provoking. The issue is I'm just really not engaged with it at the moment and feel there's no point in me continuing right now when I can barely retain the story. I 100% intend on finishing the story at a later time and may pick up the physical version instead of continuing with the audiobook (I also really did not like the narrator.)
Joe Valdez
The Power is a ride into dark fantasy by Naomi Alderman that starts off like an E-ticket attraction at Disney Resorts before fizzling out like a bottle rocket from Jerry's Fireworks. Published in 2016, Alderman's concept is thrilling and one that Rod Serling or Ray Bradbury might've given props to, using genre to address prejudice, intolerance and social inequality right here on earth in the present day. The novel develops a strong sense of mystery and unease early, but once the call goes out fo ...more
Barry Pierce
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think I'm going to give up on literary awards. Naomi Alderman's The Power found its way into my hands by winning 2017's Bailey's Prize. The plot sounded so intriguing. Young girls around the world began developing 'the power', or essentially being able to shoot lightning from their palms. This discovery leads to a great event known as The Cataclysm, after which women become the dominant sex in society. It's fairly classic speculative fiction territory. However, what may have done quite well as ...more
Susanne Strong
5 Completely Rad and Rockin Stars.

There are some novels that you feel, from the tips of your fingers, all the way to the bottoms of your toes. This is one of them.

All at once, something happens, something strange, something inexplicable and yet, one by one.. every teenage girl experiences it. A feeling simply overtakes them and they strike out at everyone who has wronged them.


She feels the thing like pins and needles along her arms. Like needle-pricks of light from her spine to her collarbo
...more
Bradley
I think I've just stumbled upon one of those "Important Works" I keep saying is so necessary. No UF fluff with magical women or post-apocalypse SF nonsense where it's mostly about shocking us about the brutality of man against woman. (It seems that's mostly what it is, these days.)

Indeed, what we've got here is a careful and complex study of all the gender roles turned on its head, slowly, surely, and irrevocably.

We have women getting the power to shock the living shit out of anyone and teach t
...more
Jenna
This was sort of like: Put some elements of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale, and Star Wars in a cocktail shaker, toast to The Imminent Apocalypse, pour neat and extra dirty and drink - which sounds AWESOME, and also very apropos of the 2017 zeitgeist...yet....

I didn't love it. I admired it, to be sure, and it def left me totes curious about inquiring into this author's other works. But as many other eloquent reviewers have already noted, it left me wanting in a few key areas.

I'm all for su
...more
Paul Bryant
What a horrible mess of a book. As soon as I heard of the idea of The Power I wanted to read it – it’s simple and completely revolutionary – you’ll know it already – women throughout the world develop a power somewhat like ELECTRIC EELS!!!!! But better! (One might hope – when did an electric eel ever run for president? Also may I say this is no cheap mockery, there is a scene where a character ponders a tank of ELECTRIC EELS quite early on).

Yes, women can now send out shocks which cause anythin
...more
Thomas
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Laura
I feel so sad giving this book such a low rating because it had so much potential. It follows three female-identifying characters and one male-identifying character who reside in a world where girls and women have the power to produce electricity and hurt, torture, and kill people. This newfound ability brings about an amalgamation of changes, including political power plays, shifts in male-female relationship dynamics, and the burning question of girls' and women's new place in society. The Pow ...more
Ilenia Zodiaco
Grande idea. La prospettiva di questo romanzo è capovolta. Le donne acquisiscono improvvisamente il potere di controllare l'energia elettrica (il titolo originale dell'opera è appunto "the power"). Ben presto questa abilità le porta a sopraffare gli uomini, sempre più marginalizzati e discriminati. Il rovesciamento del femminismo è un'ottica che spiazza il lettore e lo avvince completamente. A questo si aggiunge una prosa molto pop - forse un po' troppo, alcune svolte narrative sono trattate con ...more
Belinda
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was another of those books reviewed on the radio and given loads of positive hype. I love sci-fi, I love Margaret Atwood (Alderman's mentor), and I'm a feminist. I wanted to read this book because what could go wrong?

The first 20 chapters seemed to be ok. Naomi can write, well, of course she can, and the premise was sound. Women have been altered genetically by pollutants and have developed a skein. This enables them to generate electricity. Suddenly they are the more powerful sex.

We follow
...more
Simon
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Need to think about this one a bit before I review it as my minds a little blown and all over the place. In a very good way. Alderman creates an empowering (pun not intended) and in turns terrifying* alternate world where power is literally (and electrifyingly) in women's hands and follows how the power effects them. Which is the greater power; love, hate, survival, revenge?

*Not terrifying because women are in charge but because of what some of them do with their power. As terrifying as men, whi
...more
Monica
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Are patriarchies peaceful because men are peaceful? Or do more peaceful societies tend to allow men to rise up to the top because they place less value on the capacity for violence?" ponders a male historian living in a matriarchal world where women hold the power.

This book doesn't just flip gender roles. It delves into complicated discussions around systemic oppression, power, rape culture, gender, and religion. The book is an unflinching dystopian yet also a mirror of our world today. It for
...more
Heidi The Hippie Reader
In The Power, young women have developed the ability to control electricity. It shifts the balance of power between the sexes and the world begins to come apart at the seams.

It is told from the point of view of a few women and a man. They each have different stories and experiences that Naomi Alderman blends together to create a powerful statement about how we live.

This is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read, but also, most brilliant. It made me think about all of the internal biases
...more
Helene Jeppesen
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A great thriller with a somewhat dissatisfying ending...
Carol (Bookaria)
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, fiction, sci-fi
This is an insightful, fictional exploration of shifts of power and the repercussions that a such sudden and dramatic change can have in society.

I am absolutely amazed by this work by Naomi Alderman, this is the first book I read from her and definitely won't be the last.

In the story, women in contemporary times develop the ability to emit electricity through their hands which can be used to physically hurt other people, they call this ability "the power". As you can imagine, some of them start
...more
Paula Kalin
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dystopian and YA fans
Recommended to Paula by: Women’s Baileys prize
Okay The Power won the Women’s Baileys prize for fiction in 2017 so I recommended we read this in my bookclub which we will be discussing this week. A good bookclub read? Yes, plenty to talk about.

The world turns around when teenage girls develop a lightning strike physical power. There is a reversal in gender roles. Women are now in power, but do they start to solve the woes of the day? No. They turn into barbarians who rape, murder, enslave, etc. Women act the way some men do now. What’s too
...more
Peter Boyle
"The power to hurt is a kind of wealth."

What if women suddenly became the dominant sex? What would the world look like? Would it be a better place? These are some of the questions Naomi Alderman asks in this thrilling Atwoodian tale. Get ready to hear a lot more about The Power - it's one of the favourites for this year's Baileys Prize and the TV rights have already been snapped up.

Teenage girls across the planet develop the ability to deliver electric shocks through their fingertips, by means o
...more
Tatiana
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi
I thought this was riveting! A thrilling, scary, violent Atwood/Bacigalupi combo.
Hugh
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2018, modern-lit
So much has already been said about this book that nothing I say will count for much - it has been sitting on my to-read shelf since shortly after the paperback came out last year.

As always I will start with the positives. The concept is nothing if not bold, its sweep is all-encompassing, it undoubtedly made me think and it is not at all difficult to read. The Biblical and historical parallels are cleverly done and it does have plenty to say about real world problems.

So why am I not entirely sa
...more
Edward Lorn
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover
A completely plausible and believable piece of fiction that suggests a world run by women would be no different than a world run by men. The swapped gender stereotypes and roles in society hurt as much as they ring true. Sometimes you can't see a thing until you get a full view of every side.

The final line before the author signs off is now my favorite last line of all time.

THE POWER is a brutal, rage-inducing, thought-provoking novel that should be require reading in schools. Especially for bo
...more
Riley
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I don't have the words to fully express how I felt about this book right now. But it was hands down one of the most thought provoking books I've read in a long time
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
1,474 followers
Naomi Alderman (born 1974 in London) is a British author and novelist.

Alderman was educated at South Hampstead High School and Lincoln College, Oxford where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She then went on to study creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a novelist.
She was the lead writer for Perplex City, an Alternate reality game, at Mind Candy from 2004 th
...more
“It doesn't matter that she shouldn't, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth.” 87 likes
“One of them says, 'Why did they do it?'
And the other answers, 'Because they could.'
That is the only answer there ever is.”
62 likes
More quotes…