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The Power

Any book that is endorsed by celebrated author Margaret Atwood already has my tick of approval before I open to page one. Naomi Alderman’s The Power is a genius story that turns society so perfectly on its head. It begins when teenage girls worldwide develop a 'skein', a strip of muscle in their collarbone which conducts electricity, allowing them to instantly inflict pain and death.

Virtually overnight, the world changes beyond recognition. Women are elected as political leaders, the army is almost completely made up of women, God changes gender, and sex-trafficked women break free from their bonds.

The story moves between chapters from the point of view of four very different characters. Allie is an adopted young woman who uses the power to murder her abusive foster father, and becomes “Mother Eve”, the head of a worldwide movement re-writing world religions to emphasise the primacy of women. Roxy is the daughter of a gangland boss. Tunde captures video footage of one of the first manifestations of the power and quickly becomes the reporter on the emerging phenomenon. Margot is an American mayor who gains confidence as the result of her Power, and use that confidence to fuel a rapid rise to power.

The Power is well deserving of the 2017 Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction. Alderman has created a unique world with this clever and thought-provoking story, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves first-class dystopian fiction.