Let me start off by saying that I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood. The first book I ever read was The Handmaid’s Tale when I was 14 years old and it made such a strong impression on me that I devoured any and every book written by her. I’ve been waiting to read this novel for a while now so here is my review:
Charmaine and Stan have both lost their jobs and are trying to make ends meet while living in the back of their car. The economy has crashed and everyone is scrambling to survive. Just when Stan thinks that the only way to make money is through illegal means, they discover an advertisement to work and live in Positron and Consilience. The advertisement guarantees them shelter, food, comfort, and stability in exchange for participation in a social experiment of sorts. The set up is unique in that one month, they will be living as civilians and the next, as prisoners. During their stint as prisoners, they would be trading places with Alternates. At first, life is great. But Charmaine and Stan’s growing obsession with their Alternates could change things…in a bad way.
At first, I was really confused about this novel as I kept hearing that it was part of a series. So let me clarify: the original story was published as 4 episodes but there was never a conclusion. The author has compiled everything and written a conclusion to the story through this book. So it is a standalone. This book had a very interesting premise and started strong. I was sucked into this dystopian world and the perspectives of Stan and Charmaine. During the middle, though, I became muddled; there was this introduction of sex robots and it all got ridiculous and perplexing. But I decided to push through and finish the novel. I liked how it all tied up in the end and it was nice to see the author leaving it open-ended (which she did in Handmaid’s Tale, too). However, this was not one of my favorite Atwood novels. The story could have been a bit cleaner in the middle, which would have helped with the flow. But the story itself was fantastic and I loved the concept! I’d love to hear what other Atwood fans think of this novel compared to her other works so please do comment below!
Happy reading ~