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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

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.

©2017 Naomi Alderman (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Adjoa Andoh capably portrays an international cast of characters in this thrilling novel about the reshaping of the world when women develop powerful electrical abilities. Andoh makes the most of her vocal range, tone, and pacing, as well as an extensive catalogue of accents. The audio presentation particularly shines in the development of the character Allie into Mother Eve, especially in some scenes in which the Mother Eve persona drops and Allie speaks in her own voice." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A necessary read

This book is phenomenal.

At times, it addresses social issues as tongue in cheek. In other instances, the commentary is presented in as all too real and difficult to swallow.

I do not want to give anything away, but this novel really makes you think about our current social climate, politics, "human nature," power dynamics, and the like.

If you enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, or any other sci-fi novel focused more on social commentary, then this is the book for you.

On top of that, Adjoa Andoh's narration is wonderful. Her accents are great, her character voices varied, and her delivery is exceptional. She creates suspense through pregnant pauses (pauses that are not as grammatically clear in the printed copy of the book) and appropriately quickened sentences. That description may seem generic, but I struggle to find narrators who truly pay attention to the story and deliver with appropriate conviction.

44 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelli
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 11-13-17

Amazing Audio Performance

Super weird science fiction set in the near future that seemed oh so real to me. Some parts bordered on horror and language was edgy so this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was a very satisfying read at this moment in history. What woman would not want the power to shock the daylights out of someone (read: a man) with just her thoughts! Kudos to Naomi Alderman for her creative twists and turns and for making me see the world we live in now from a new angle. Would love to discuss this one with a friend over coffee or a glass of wine. Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I "should" have loved this book...

I normally love well-written speculative fiction. This one, not so much. The premise was interesting—it’s asking readers to think about what would happen if roles were reversed and women had the power instead of men—but that was about the only thing I liked.

Generally, we meet the female characters when they discover their power. The inciting incident is usually violent, so we don’t ever see them “before.” Well, that probably would have made no difference because at least with two of them, their lives are already filled with violence. And that was my problem with the book. It was relentlessly violent and depressing and basically says women would be as bad as, if not worse than men, if they ran the world.

If I could have connected with or even liked any of the characters, that might have changed my perspective on the book. Although at least Roxy and the one male character were slightly interesting.

I just didn’t find it very nuanced. Just as I didn’t believe (in another recent book I read) that almost all men would dissolve into sadistic rapists and murderers three weeks after the world ended, In this book, I didn’t believe all women would become this power mad, sadistic, etc. to the point that in 9 years they blow up the world.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Faulty Premise

It was (or could have been) a good story, but what it devolved to was channeling the worst fears of the whiny MRA set, who believe that women, if empowered, will turn around and do to them what they've been doing to us for all of recorded history. I don't buy it. Some women would be jerks if they had physical power over men, and there would be some retaliation in play, but not to the degree it has been happening to us all these centuries. Honestly, women roaming around in packs, gang-raping men? Nah. It isn't just a case of they'd do it "because they can" as the author assumes. There are examples of women in power who are tyrants and there are examples of women in power who are not - mostly, they are not. Women, when empowered, make excellent and fair executives, bosses, and professionals. Empowered women actually create the best societies. The author believes that women, empowered, would simply devolve into packs of wolves. I don't buy it. That said, the story and characters were interesting and the reading was well-done.

43 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Top Book of 2017? I Couldn't Get Halfway Through

Any additional comments?

I'm honestly surprised that this book was on the NY Times' and NPR's "Best Books of 2017" lists. I have to assume that it is due to the timeliness of the concept, and the possible conversations around it. However, I got about 4.5 hours into the book, and it had not yet meaningfully engaged with those ideas. On top of that, the book is written in such a bland, predictable, unchallenging manner, that I went back to double check I hadn't picked a book from the Young Adult section of these lists.

Unfortunately, Adjoa Andoh's performance detracted from the story rather than elevating it. Her accents are over the top and cartoonish. We get heavy handed treatments of a southern belle, a hispanic nun in the US (who is voiced as Catalan rather than South American), middle eastern prisoners, and a Slavic head of state. Her British street urchin and African teenager are a little better, but still laid on quite thick.

All in all, I don't see (hear?) what any of the fuss is about. There has to be a book out there that does a better job with the interesting questions The Power attempts to pose.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I hated the voices the narrator used

The narrator used different voices for different people, as is customary, but it felt like she made silly voices for women and very silly voices for teenage girls. I did NOT like that, to the point that I will go get this book to read instead of listening to it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant idea, executed pretty darn well.

I've been waiting for this book for some time. The premise sounded fascinating. For the most part, it didn't disappoint; certainly, it gave me a lot to think about. The multiple narrators were probably necessary (think Winds of War), but didn't allow us to really get invested in them, maybe with the exception of Roxy (but that might be partly the result of Andoh's brilliant rendering of her particular voice). Speaking of the reader, Andoh absolutely nails the multiple British and Nigerian speakers, but her American voices are as usual more caricature than character: either excessively nasal or excessively Southern, both with occasional lapses into British ("been") pronunciation and sounding just kind of simple. Her Eastern European accent is almost comically Dracula-like (yeah, I know, Romanian, but still). But if there's anyone to really root for-- and sometimes we need that --, it's Roxy.

Is it a feminist book? Maybe? I mean, yes, it makes you think about what we expect of women and men, respectively. I was watching a football game today and wondered how guys would feel if men in tiny tight outfits were dancing around athletically on the sidelines. But it's mostly a book about what happens when one gender (country/class/group) has more power than the other: some people can handle it with something like fairness, some are transformed into monsters. Alderman explores this idea with intelligence and curiosity rather than a glaring agenda (thinking of the self-justifications Mayor Cleary becomes adept at employing). Alderman also incorporates social media and conspiracy communities into the story well, acknowledging the impossibility of controlling a government or movement or religion once the ball gets rolling. But the book feels a little uneven, possibly rushed in the second half especially: the timeline of events is a little over-constructed, and the new (5000 years after the Cataclysm) society is awfully and maybe implausibly similar to our own. Maybe it should have been a trilogy or something, Oryx-and-Crake style.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The audio performance is OUTSTANDING

As Alderman describes it, the premise is a thought experiment on what if the gender power balance was flipped. This reading of this book is dynamic, captivating, and filled with different voices for each character. By far the most entertaining audio book I've listened to in a long time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great narration for a compelling story

The author flips the world as we know it on its head. She explores what it would mean to have the power dynamic shift from patriarchy to matriarchy with quick jabs at our stereotypical gender-biased thinking. The narrator makes the characters come alive with accents and unique voices. She is one of the best narrators I’ve had the pleasure to listen to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Cheap and tropey

Thought this would be a creative study of power dynamics and how physical strength is an overlooked factor. Instead it was just a piece of tropey dystopian lit. Gender swapping a patriarchy isn't innovative or challenging. Overall, it was like Hunger Games, a movie pitch in book form. Cheap.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful