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The Power by Naomi Alderman
Sci-fi

The Power

by Naomi Alderman

Quick take

"I felt the electricity running through my arms, I imagined how I could harness it."

Why I love it

Laia Garcia
Lenny

The Power has a simple premise: young girls around the world suddenly realize that they have the ability to send electric currents through their fingers, jolts that can injure or even kill others. Soon it is revealed that all women have this power—they just have to harness it. As power literally shifts from the hands of men to the hands of women, power structures around the world are threatened and the world become a dangerous and unstable place. We follow three women and one man as they make their way through this new world.

In Alderman’s hands, this world seems both strangely familiar and totally alien. In fact, I was struck by how many times I forgot I was reading a work of fiction. Thinking about the men’s rights activist of our real world, versus the men’s rights activist of this parallel world where a matriarchy is threatening to take hold, I felt the electricity running through my arms, I imagined how I could harness it. I wanted to believe this power was really there all along, and that after I finished reading the book I would be able to shock the world around me. What if I could go anywhere I wanted? What if I never felt fear? I know that what ifs are pointless and yet—how sweet that vision of paradise seemed.

In the hands of another writer, this story could’ve become another empowerment cliché full of empty platitudes, and faux feminism. But it was Alderman who created this world, and her vision has endless depth. I devoured this book in a couple of days, and every time I turned the page was a bittersweet moment: I was so completely invested in the story but I knew the sooner I got ahead, the sooner the whole thing would be over. I did not want this book to be over. I did not want to go back to my world, where there aren’t any what ifs to help me escape reality. Where everything is what it is.

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Synopsis

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, 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 drastically resets.

From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

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Preview

Member thoughts

All (3316)
All (3316)
Love (1533)
Like (1277)
Dislike (506)
3442 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 37% Like
  • 15% Dislike
  • Daphne, AL

    The Power is just incredible. The subdle and screaming differences between our world and the one in this book were cleverly and heart wrenchingly relatable for anyone that's ever been seen as “weak”.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This story isnt just about feminism as I’d assumed. It’s about human nature. Even though rooted in a sci-fi concept, it serves as an inspiration to find your real inner strength - your own super power

  • Louisville, KY

    This book came out at exactly the right time. Did a great job of showing the nature of toxic masculinity, as well as showing both the beauty and the ugliness of today’s society. I couldn’t put it down

  • Colorado Springs, CO

    This book took me through twists & turns I wasn’t ready for up to the very end & I had to take some time to see how I felt about it. It doesn’t shy away from the bad, it hits you with it & I loved it.

  • Lake Forest Park, WA

    Again- the audio version of this one is THE BEST! Both horrifying and captivating, this story makes you think, what if... I was so into it and invested in the characters that I didn’t want it to end.

  • Chicago, IL

    Once it got rolling, I couldn’t put it down. A fascinating take on what happens when a power dynamic shifts, and what it means to be good or evil, an aggressor or a victim. A great alternate history.

  • Waukesha, WI

    In love!!!! The twists and turns made me jump and the dialogue made me stop think and of course feel all the things :) I am determined to use my power for good and I can't wait to read more from Naomi

  • San Rafael, CA

    The whole journey of the book was a fun interesting read. Great... The moment though, that I really decided that this book was of value to my life and others', was after reading the very last chapter.

  • Oak Harbor, WA

    This was a great book to read after The Handmaid's Tale. It was very empowering book to read. But, it goes to show that anyone with a little power can be dangerous. I recommend everyone to read this.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Right in line with The Handmaid's Tale-style dystopia, this is a book about a world in which gender and power dynamics is turned on its head! A phrase I've always wanted to use = "perfectly wrought".

  • Grand Rapids, MI

    Intense, and I suggest caution for those triggered by sexual assault. It packs a punch and before it’s over, a storm upsets the balance of gender assumptions, leaving the reader to wonder what if...

  • Mooresville, NC

    Holy crap...this book goes from "yaaaaaas queen" to "oh dear lord" and you don't even see it coming. It is deep, it is profound, it is a bleak look at humanity, it's empowering, it's funny. It's GOOD!

  • Helena, MT

    This book did so much to internalize the ideas of what power means and does to people. I think Naomi switches the narrative so much in an attempt to make us aware of hypocracy or to try and avoid it.

  • Colorado Springs , CO

    This book was fantastic and so thought provoking! It investigates what it means to be the dominant culture and how power can be political, physical or intellectual. Had me turning pages till the end!

  • Mantua , NJ

    When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure I would finish. I was wrong. I could not put this down, nothing like I expected, but so much better. Super powers, plot twists, and strength from within.

  • Chicago, IL

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a quick read. I loved how in the beginning I was cheering something on that I thought would end well but went in a different direction. I didn't care for the ending.

  • Westland, MI

    Wow, this book. It was unique, complex, and so engaging. There were moments I found very uncomfortable, but I think those moments really added to the importance of the message of this book. 4/5 stars!

  • Philadelphia , PA

    Seriously makes you think about what kind of female you'd be in the same situation. Everyone likes to believe they'd act fairly, but after years of oppression would the push for revenge be too great?

  • Minneapolis, MN

    It was eerie how relevant this book is to current events today. I couldn't stop thinking about the book when I was finished. I want all my friends to read it so we can have deep philosophical convos!

  • Bayside , CA

    This book really has so much depth to it. There is a lot of connections to be made to modern times and the way we erased prior theologies in place of Christianity. Good story, like the writing style.

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