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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

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Beginning pulls you in, but end doesn't hold up

The set-up to this book was one of the best I've listened to in a while. The premise of this new power and how it takes hold around the world makes for a gripping story. Unfortunately, without giving away too many spoilers, it feels like the author takes the easy way out at the end. The narrator handles all the various accents well, though over plays some at times.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

121 of 127 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wanted to enjoy it more

So much potential for this premise, so woefully squandered. I really wanted to love this book, but between characters I didn't like, story that refused to go anywhere for the first 2/3 of the book, and painfully flat writing, I found myself just trudging through this one. by the time it finally caught my interest in the last few chapters, I was just ready for it to be over.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

54 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Extreme and difficult to believe.

The premise was interesting, but the events became more and more unbelievable as the book went on. Women fighting back against their abusers? Yes, I can see that. Packs of women raping and sexually torturing innocent men all over? An entire country as restrictive as a Nazi germany turned against men? Pfffft. No.
I can understand trying to show that power corrupts, but telling the reader that women’s learned propensities toward social ties, family, communication, and nurturing would be utterly lost? I doubt it.
I was hoping for more thought into how a modern women’s society would differ from our current world of patriarchy, but no luck. Try harder, Naomi. There is more depth to women’s psyche than you think.

127 of 140 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 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.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

33 of 38 people found this review helpful

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

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.

59 of 69 people found this review helpful

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

Does power tend to corrupt?

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority." - John Dalberg-Acton

Does power tend to corrupt? Are great men almost always bad men? How about great women? The Power will leave you considering those questions and many more. Naomi Alderman has written an excellent book - one that may make you initially gratified to read about women fighting back against their oppressors, then recoiling in horror at the ab/use of power, and thinking about the characters and the premise of the novel for a long time. The book is unsettling, but it's also beautifully written, and well worth reading. I can't pronounce that I've already read the best book of the year in January, but I know that I'm going to be thinking about The Power throughout much of the year ahead.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • OJA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 02-07-18

Interesting premise, clever elements

The premise was fascinating and there were many clever elements. The central characters were fairly well developed, but the story rests more on navigating the central plot more so than conflict or twists, save for a few minor ones. I thought it was ingenious to use unsympathetic characters to illustrate human beings’ capacity for inhumane behavior even when stereotypical gender roles are reversed. It was sobering though to see how damaging patriarchal societies can be, by shining a light on societal norms through a matriarchal lens.

With regard to the voice actor, the “American” accents were terrible - to the point of distraction. I had previously listened to another book voiced by Ms. Andoh and she did a fine job. Further, Brits - even non actors - can usually do a passable American accent, so this was disappointing. No one speaks like this! It was beyond caricature. That said, it was probably a bridge too far to require a single actor to accomplish the wide range of US regional accents, genders, and ages, in addition to all the international accents. The Nigerian, Middle Eastern, and East European accents weren’t horrible, although far from accurate. The East Indian and presumably Latin American accents weren’t great either. It would perhaps have been more believable to just use her English accent throughout. She did, of course, do a good job with the nuances of regional English accents - Cockney-like for the gangsters, Queen’s English otherwise.

Overall, a decent read.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful