Review: The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood

RATING: 4.5/5

SYNOPSIS

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”
Margaret Atwood

REVIEW

I am so in the mood of reading dystopian novels right now. After finishing The Handmaid’s Tale, I just picked up its sequel, The Testaments, right away.

This story is set 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s narrated in 3 different POVs: Aunt Lydia (those who are familiar with The Handmaid’s Tale will know who is the notorious Aunt Lydia), Agnes Jemima (a young woman who lives in Gilead and presumably, Offred and Luke’s daughter), and Daisy (also known as, Baby Nicole, who is presumably, Offred and Nick’s daughter). I love the fact that Atwood expanded the social system in Gilead. The process in choosing Aunts and their roles were explained in greater detail. We are also introduced to the Pearl Girls, a sub-class of Aunts whereby they act as Gilead’s missionaries, going abroad to countries such as Canada to try and recruit more women to Gilead. I also love the fact that Atwood introduced some current issues in this story: the misogyny of the leader of a country, the failure of totalitarianism, refugee crisis, xenophobia and feminism.

As compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, this book is more action packed, fast paced and less terrifying. However, the mental state of the characters were not fully flushed out. The most complex character would be Aunt Lydia. The character arc of Aunt Lydia is so deep, complex and dark. She is literally is my favourite character in this book! On the contrary, I think the character arc of Daisy is a little far-fetched and problematic to me. As such, I’ll only give a 4.5/5 star rating for this book. Nevertheless, this is still an enjoyable read!

P/S: The Testaments was shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2019 Giller Prize. Congratulations Margaret Atwood!

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