The book inverts the world. Bookended by the correspondence surrounding the draft of a book by a male author. The story in his book being the core, interspersed with factual pieces from history. It depicts a world where, apparently suddenly, all girls have the power to release electricity from their fingertips, and soon all women, but only women and post puberty girls. As with all speculative fiction you have to go with the premis and here it will take you on an incredible journey alongwith its princple characters - Allie, an abused American foster child who reivents herself as a faith leader building a commmunity away from men, Roxy, streetwise teenage daughter of a London gangster, Tunde a young Nigerian journalist who reports on this pehnomenon witnessing how it shifts the society's balance worldwide, and middle aged Margot, an on the rise American politican.
And it does change the world. From overturning regimes in Saudi Arabia, to freeing women from trafficking, but mainly it inverts everything as regards gender, just as Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses up-ended race in her thought provoking look at prejudice, so Alderman up ends gender in an equally thought provoking manner.
In essence what this book is about is Power, what it is and how it is wielded. And as such it is not for the faint hearted - think of all the situations where power exists today from the writing of history, waging war, abuse of individuals, groups and peoples, exploitation etc, the power to cover up, the power to spread false news, the power to manipulate etc.
The book I felt started well, took a little bit of time to give us all the characers and start to bring them and itself together, and then it got The Power and thundered all fully charged. Some of the scences are horrific, but at the same time nothing that does not happen. This book does what all great speculative fiction should do, pose pretty soul searching, fundamental socio=political questions about the way we live and why. Up there with the best. The 1984 for 21st century.