Just recently I had the chance to be on the selection panel for my Universities Big Read – it’s a scheme they do for prospective students where they send a book to them just before they start to give them a feel of how lovely our University is.
It’s been going on for a few years and I really wanted one of my last things to do with University to be something that will benefit a lot of other students so this was the perfect thing for me.
As a group of about 15 we sat down for a few evenings over the last couple of months and talked through a shortlist of books. The titles all had a connection of some sort to our university, being it an alumni or location etc.
I’m going to be posting my reviews of the books we were shortlisted as 6 separate blog posts, as in the meetings I will give my honest opinion on the books and let you know a little bit about the authors too (because lets face it, we all love to know a little bit more about people!).
So with that in mind, the first book we were given in our bundle was The Power by Naomi Alderman.
The bibliophiles in you might already know of her name, the recently nominated author for the Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction and the author of a handful of books, she wrote this novel about a group of girls who manage to get superpowers and end up ruling the world.
I will admit that I, personally didn’t enjoy the novel but that’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s merits.
The overall concept of the novel was amazing, the idea of women being in power and ruling the world and that no man will get in their way, however I didn’t feel the narrative of the story translates into an engaging read.
The novel is told from at least four perspectives, which is no easy feat for an author – the only time I’ve really seen it work is with Giovanna Fletcher’s You’re the One That I Want and Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. There were some themes of the book where the multiple narrators really worked, but for the most part I wasn’t a fan of the constant switching from perspective to perspective.
The characters also have the chance to use their powers for good or evil (as with any badass superhero/villain story) but I got the feeling that they never really chose. The characters would go from good to evil in one pen stroke.
The book sort of danced around the story as if you weren’t really allowed to know what the point was. The novel is a mixed bag of amazing concepts but naff characters and a huge lack of focus.
However, in the end of the novel we finally get some insight as to what is going on, even though there seems to be some ways that Naomi could elaborate some of the plot lines, the reader finally gets some satisfaction from the story with the ending (I’m not going to tell you what it is because otherwise I would completely spoil it for those of you who still want to read it!).
You can grab yourself a copy here
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