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The Testaments

(The Handmaid's Tale #2)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  75,554 ratings  ·  9,937 reviews
In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.
When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her--freedom, prison or death.
With The Testaments, the wait is over.
Margaret Atwood's sequel
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Nan A. Talese
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  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)
    Release date: Sep 10, 2019


    The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be read on its own or as a

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 20248 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Nov 24 - Dec 24, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.24  · 
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     ·  75,554 ratings  ·  9,937 reviews

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    Start your review of The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)
    Nov 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
    Recommends it for: big fans of the TV show version
    I guess I'll have to be the one who says what nobody else is willing to say. This novel is terrible, and Booker judges are starstruck, hype-driven sellouts. And that no professional literary critic has the guts to tell the truth about how poorly conceived and written The Testaments is, is a true shame.

    I can't decide which work Atwood should be embarrassed for more - Angel Catbird, Vol. 1 or The Testaments. The book doesn't read like a novel written by one of the most lauded authors of the 20st
    Emily May
    Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: modern-lit, 2019
    I can sum it up simply: this book is not needed.

    I hoped that wouldn't be the case. I really really hoped Atwood had something important to add to the world of Gilead with this book, but she honestly doesn't. If anything, The Testaments serves only to weaken the power of The Handmaid's Tale.

    In the past, I have spoken highly of authors who are not afraid to "be evil" with their books. This may give the impression that they are doing something particularly nefarious, but, in fact, it’s not so much
    Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2019
    Return to Gilead

    Check your expectations at the door: The Testaments is a highly entertaining page turner, but it is also probably quite different from whatever you were anticipating.

    It differs from its 1985 antecedent, The Handmaid's Tale, in tone, voice and literary heft. That earlier book had a power and a gravitas that is not recaptured here. For me the most striking thing about The Handmaid’s Tale has always been Atwood’s choice of narrator. Offred (in the book she has no other name) is so
    Nilufer Ozmekik
    Only two stars for the love of Aunt Lydia! If she wasn’t in this book, I could do something first by giving minus five stars to a book! See how I disliked and how I felt frustrated about this hope stealing, time wasting, one of the biggest failures of the year!!!! One of the tasteless testament you could ever have!

    2019 could be one of this year I got really disappointed by movies, series books. They were like several ugly stabs to your stomach. I was unlucky to read Cari Mora ( After 13 years of
    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    I haven't even finished season 2 of the tv show since it was so emotionally draining but here I am reading this!!
    Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    This was my most anticipated book for 2019.

    Wait... I should amend that statement...


    And much like my life, it was an epic disappointment.

    The Handmaid's Tale is on my Top 10 shelf. It is, in my opinion, the greatest dystopian novel of all time. It is everything you expect from the genre and more. Shocking, terrifying, an unflinching account of a fucking nightmarish scenario that could actually happen.

    At the end of The Handmaid's Tale
    Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: margaret-atwood
    "How tedious is a tyranny in the throes of enactment. It's always the same plot."

    So why does Margaret Atwood choose to tell the story again? That question has haunted me since I heard the announcement of the project almost a year ago. WHY? I was convinced I would hate the hype and the gushing reviews and the book itself, and started reading with the attitude of someone who knew the story didn't need telling again.

    To my surprise, I liked it from the start, and soon engaged in the thriller
    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    A review in 5 words:

    Unnecessary. Pointless. Ruining. Bland. Spoilers.
    Justin Tate
    Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
    It's not easy being the most anticipated book of the year. I would argue that most of the negative reactions - including my own - are based largely on expectations. Since published in 1985, The Handmaid's Tale has become sacred ground in the literary world; a true modern classic further amplified by the successful show and current political tensions. Stakes for a sequel couldn't be higher and, even for the ever-talented Margaret Atwood, that's a tough performance to deliver. All in all, this is ...more
    Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: overdrive

    “One mysterious box, when opened, so often conceals another.”

    In relation to The Handmaid’s Tale Hulu series, I found The Testaments entertaining. As a follow up to the novel, I found it lacking.

    I am holding off on a complete review until I have finished rereading The Handmaid's Tale.

    More to come!
    Oct 23, 2019 added it
    I liked this one more than A Handmaid's Tale! Call me crazy! But I loved that there was this exciting plot that was pushing the momentum forwards and that we were learning more about Gilead and the world outside and the way it came to be. I read this DIRECTLY after A Handmaid's Tale, like I read both of them in the span of a few days, and I felt this enriched the world so much more.
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Winner of the Booker Prize 2019 (together with Girl, Woman, Other)
    This is a flashy, placative, but also intelligent thriller, here to make some points about society and to entertain - it's certainly not the most layered or subtle literature ever written, but you know what? It's engaging, rather suspenseful and great fun to read, full of quips and commentary on the world we live in, and sometimes, that's more than enough. And honestly: The Handmaid's Tale wasn't particularly ambiguous or

    Why did Atwood write this more than thirty years after The Handmaid’s Tale (see my review HERE), when she’d already written sequels to that for the TV series? Because “we started moving towards Gilead instead of away from it – particularly in the United States” and more specifically, to answer “How did Gilead fall?” and “How do you get to be such a person [as Aunt Lydia]?”.

    Why read it? Hype, a heavy discount, and morbid curiosity. It’s an easy read and enough of a page-turner to finish
    Ron Charles
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    “The Testaments” opens in Gilead about 15 years after “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but it’s an entirely different novel in form and tone. Inevitably, the details are less shocking — at least in part because the horrors of Gilead’s male-centered theocracy are already so well known. When Offred first told her “sad and mutilated story,” we were hearing about the hangings, the Unbabies and the Sons of Jacob for the first time. But by now, Gildead’s breeding Ceremony is a creepy cultural touchstone.

    Gumble's Yard
    Joint Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize - which I captured in this photo.


    You’ll labour over this manuscript of mine, reading and rereading, picking nits as you go.

    I was fortunate enough to attend one of the live cinema screenings of the readings and author Q&A from the National Theatre on the evening of the book's official publication, managing to complete my first read of the book just as the event started.

    The event was excellent - and I think only reinforced my view that Handmaid's Tale is
    Charlotte May
    Holy shit is this real? Because I need it!
    3.5 stars.

    It pains me to write this, because I love The Handmaid's Tale, but this book just felt incredibly unnecessary. The plot is predictable, with ‘revelations’ that are glaringly obvious, and characters that just don’t have the same level of depth of emotion that Offred had. With The Handmaid’s Tale, we have a novel that leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. The ending is ambiguous and interesting, with a story that features an incredibly narrowed view of a world by a woman so
    Paul Fulcher
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: booker-2019, 2019
    Here I also keep another set of files, accessible only to a very few; I think of them as the secret histories of Gilead. All that festers is not gold, but it can be made profitable in non-monetary ways: knowledge is power.
    Aunt Lydia

    It was an “extraordinarily complicated process” to get copies of the manuscript, which is protected by a “ferocious” non-disclosure agreement.
    Chair of Booker Judges as told to the Guardian

    When, in 2197, the Thirteenth Symposium on Amazonian Studies takes place, the
    Richard Derus
    Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: borrowed, returned
    UPDATE OCTOBER 2019 The Coode Street Podcast goes into the SFnal roots of this title.

    My hold came in today!! The librarians saw my name on the holds list and our library bought one, instead of relying on the system's many multiple copies. That way I got my hold immediately instead of being wherever I was, deep in the triple digits.

    They like me. They really like me.
    All three stars are for Aunt Lydia's sections. Agnes is annoying, a lump of nothing as required by her upbringing; it didn't make
    Jenny (Reading Envy)
    I've had less than good experiences in my last few Atwood reads - first I spent money on the novella series that was then removed from my Kindle with no renumeration. Then I held off and finally read The Heart Goes Last and ended up sorely disappointed in it. You can read my 2-star review but part of my complaint had to do with a feeling of author laziness on some level. Claiming it was an all new book, but to me half of it being very familiar since I'd already read it in the novella version. ...more
    3.5 to 4 stars

    I was going to go with 3 stars because while I liked it, it did not impress me as much as the first book. But, after discussing the book with my wife at dinner last night, I realized I got more from it than I thought, so I am upping my rating a bit.

    In the afterword, Atwood hints at the fact that this was written in response to the recently renewed popularity of the first book and the current state of affairs in America. Because of this, it does kind of read like it was written to
    Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    At the opening of The Testaments, a statue is unveiled. This is a statue of the infamous, puppet-master, Aunt Lydia. Readers of The Handmaid’s Tale will know her well.

    The Testaments is narrated by three narrators, but Aunt Lydia is the dominant of the three. Through her secretive writings, we learn of her history, and how she rose to power to become the mastermind that sets in motion the destruction of Gilead. Again readers of The Handmaid’s Tale will recognise the diary style of writing that
    Joint Winner of the Booker Prize 2019

    I can't help but be a little disappointed with this book. In my view The Handmaid's Tale didn't need a sequel, but I suppose we can't begrudge Atwood the opportunity to cash in on the popularity of the TV version. In my view this book is not worthy of a Booker shortlisting, and is possibly the weakest of the Atwood novels I have read.

    There are two main problems - firstly by alternating the accounts of three narrators, the distinctive voices are lost, and
    Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
    [3.5 stars] So I'm finally getting around to reviewing this. I finished it about 2 weeks ago, and didn't really mean to wait that long to write a proper review of it—but I'm glad I did. As I've sat with this book after finishing it, I think my initial feelings have faded a tiny bit. I will say first and foremost, reading this was incredibly enjoyable. It affirmed my love of Atwood's writing, at a sentence level, and storytelling. Her ability to weave plots and deliver complex themes in a very ...more
    Well, it’s written by Margaret Atwood who pens a very good read in all her books, so I added another *. Or it would have been 2.75*

    The book itself in MHO is that it should have been left as it was.
    So why did I buy it?
    Because I was hoping it lead on from the previous book The Handmaids Tale.

    For over 60% of this read it focused on the children. Nothing wrong with that, it was written really well.
    On the whole I enjoyed it but it was slow moving, tedious at times.

    Lydia is still around and as in the
    Aug 16, 2019 marked it as to-read
    this is the most unexpected thing of 2019 so far
    Diane Barnes
    Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    When it comes to highly anticipated books, assuming it's one I actually want to read, I like to get hold of a copy early on and read it before the hype gets started. In this case, I re-read Handmaid's Tale a few months ago to get a fresh take, then put a hold on this one at the library to ensure being at the head of the line. I did watch the first season of the Hulu series, since I had been told that followed the first book very closely, but stopped there until the book was published.

    My opinion
    ☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
    “Once a story you’ve regarded as true has turned false, you begin suspecting all stories.”

    As a big fan of The handmaid's Tale, I was extremely excited when I heard of this sequel coming up, and I must say it was my most anticipated book of 2019. I pre-ordered it as soon as possible, and re-read the first one earlier this year to refresh my memory. I made myself ready for this one, and I also talked myself into resignation in case it would be a disappointment. Luckily, it wasn't! At least, not
    Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Whilst I wasn’t clambering for a follow up, the fact that I brought this sequel straightaway does highlight how keen I was to return to Gilead.

    I tried to keep my expectations in check and accepted that this novel was written mainly due to the success of the Hulu series.
    Seeing as the show has surpassed The Handmaid's Tale and with other series also continuing past the source material with mixed results (I’m looking at you Game of Thrones), my theory is that Atwood has used this opportunity to
    Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: dystopia
    Under His Eye Handmaids Tale GIF - UnderHisEye HandmaidsTale GIFs

    "You could believe you were living virtuously and also murder people if you were a fanatic."

    I have a confession to make: I did not particularly care for The Handmaid's Tale when I read it several years ago. I know, shocking, right? Most of you, my friends, gave it 5 stars, many gave it 4, and only a tiny handful of you (you know who you are Thank you for making me feel not-alone) granted it 2 or 3. The reason I didn't care for it could be simply that I had just finished the second book in
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    2019 & 2020 Readi...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Testaments 26 95 Nov 02, 2019 03:18AM  
    Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

    Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry,

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