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July 2018: Dystopian > [Decathlon] The Power by Naomi Alderman (4 out of 5 Stars)

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message 1: by Jeremiah (last edited Jul 26, 2018 06:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeremiah Cunningham | 689 comments The Power by Naomi Alderman
4 out of 5 Stars
Decathlon Buddy Read

In The Power the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

Rarely do I struggle as much to write a review for a book as I am with this one. Trying to sort out my thoughts has been difficult and even as I write this I am not sure I entirely know how I feel about this novel. I am left feeling both intrigued and confused. I feel as though the writing was incredibly powerful and yet, as I was reading the book, I often felt as though the writing lacked any type of quality. I am left thinking that the violence in the book is over the top at times and yet wondering if the violence is not actually understated and a bit muted. The one thing I know this book has done is left me conflicted.

The Positives of The Power
As with most novels, the last 30 to 40 pages of this book really influenced my rating of the novel. Although still not a five star book for me the last portion of the book elevated my rating by two stars and maybe more. I really appreciated the craftsmanship that went into the last section as Alderman plays with form. Some of the changes are more subtle, such as altering the voice of the narrator, and some are more obvious like altering the length of the sections and removing the chapter titles. (Both things you can clearly see from just flipping through the book.) While I found much of the other writing to lack exquisite skill, I really appreciated the talents of the author in the end.

(view spoiler)

The Negatives of The Power
My biggest negative with this book was the fact that the writing through the first 250 pages left me thinking that it might not be worth reading. While I found the redeeming value in the end and the writing works, I could easily see why many might choose not to continue. I highly respect the work that Alderman did in the book as a whole, but found the beginning of the book to at times almost insufferable. In recommending this book, I would have to know that the potential reader has the gut to keep pushing forward and see the novel as a whole.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm so glad you liked this book more than I did. In fact I like your review more than I like the book! Wonderful review.

Jeremiah Cunningham | 689 comments Rachel wrote: "I'm so glad you liked this book more than I did. In fact I like your review more than I like the book! Wonderful review."

I really did not think I was enjoying the book either Rachel. I felt very frustrated with it through most of the book. Thanks for your kind words about the review.

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