In the beginning it's a trickle, but as soon as those first few discover their new ability, it's a flood. Girls across the world are discovering they have evolved and are now able to access a well of power -— a skein, they call it -— located somewhere near their collarbones. This power acts like a supercharged Taser, sending an electric shock that can be hard enough to kill. Overnight, the tables are turned. Boys are warned not to walk alone at night. Men who are attacked are asked what they were wearing or what they did to deserve it. The world has shifted, and women hold all the power --literally. A new religion springs up with a prophet who offers to lead the world into a new era, and as soon as it's discovered that girls can awaken the power in older women, countries fall to new women-led regimes. In Eastern Europe, victims of human trafficking break free and lay waste to entire towns. Is this evolution a good thing? Will the women who rise to power govern fairly or will they subject men to the oppression they've suffered for generations?
In this spine-tingling (pun intended) piece of speculative fiction, Alderman explores the idea that power corrupts, in this instance, both literally and figuratively. Female politicians experiencing a meteoric rise to power become hungry for more, utilizing the young women they swore to protect as armies. Drugs are developed to heighten the ability, and misinformation is king in the bid for more money, more influence, and more power. The book explores two different tracks, one political and one religious, that bend and wind and eventually merge purposes. In the era of the #metoo movement, Alderman's world where women are the ones to be feared will have readers thinking about the premise long after they finish the book.
Reviewed by ba, 02/18. Other reviews by ba.