Anna: I’m sorry to say that I was so disappointed by this! In the vein of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 read like a total money grab. I really enjoyed 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥’𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦, and in no way did 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 feel like its sequel. For one, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 lacks the tension and literary weight of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥’𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦 in every way.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥’𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦 is slow-paced and slowly reveals the horror of the dystopian world of Gilead. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴, on the other hand, is pace-y, dialogue heavy, and driven mostly by plot. It completely lacks the dark, creeping so prevalent in 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥’𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦.
Set fifteen years after 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥’𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 is told in three perspectives. There’s Agnes, who grows up in a prominent family in Gilead; Daisy; living in the free country of Canada; and, wait for it… the third is Aunt Lydia’s perspective. My biggest problem is Aunt Lydia’s storyline, which just wasn’t believable for me. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I just didn’t buy any of it. The other two perspectives were interesting enough. That is, until they started to overlap, which is where I really think this book fell apart.
Unfortunately, I came away from this feeling that Atwood was forced into this book in response to the show. I’m so sad–I really wanted to love this!
VERDICT: 3 stars
In the age of JK Rowling, who has exploited her wold and characters for everything that she can (disclaimer, I still love the original Harry Potter books), I feel that having a bestselling book or series isn’t enough any more. The new Hunger Games book coming out this year, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is a prime example. It’s a prequel to the series that reveals the backstory of President Snow. I’m so over prequels and have no desire to read this. I think that sometimes there’s value in letting a good book or series stand on it’s own. I know things like book deals and an author’s career are part of this, but I think I’ll be avoiding any long-awaited add ons to old favorites for a while.