Books

A book review: The Testaments

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TITLE: The Testaments

AUTHOR: Margaret Atwood

PUBLISHED: 2019

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Following on from Atwood’s hugely popular novel The Handmaid’s Tale, this sequel returns us to the dystopian world of Gilead. The familiar themes of oppression and life within a totalitarian state are present, but viewed through the eyes of three differing perspectives. These are Agnes: a young girl that has grown up within Gilead, Lydia: the most formidable Aunt within its walls, and Daisy: a girl living outside in Canada but with a surprising link. The fate of Gilead lies in their hands.

You might like – A book review: The Handmaid’s Tale

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I feel more than a little late to the party only reading and reviewing this now! I was so excited for this book to come out but that excitement turned to apprehension when I started to read all the mixed reviews for it. There seemed to be so many people that had loved The Handmaid’s Tale but hated this and I wondered if I was better off not reading it. What if I hated it as well and it tainted my thoughts on The Handmaid’s Tale which is one of my favourites! Because of this I didn’t read it for ages but eventually the curiosity proved too strong and I couldn’t resist.

I can confirm that I am in the ‘loved it’ camp when it comes to this book. As I write this I struggle to work out if I read the same book as those that disliked it because I can’t see how you wouldn’t enjoy this one. Having said that, I suppose that is the beauty of reading, it is subjective and what one person loves another may not.

I’m so glad I liked this though, if anything it made me love The Handmaid’s Tale even more and if I didn’t have such a huge list of books to get through I would probably be picking it up for a reread!

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So, what did I like about it?

I loved the differing perspectives, they were easy to follow and I felt this approach gave a really well-rounded and full impression of Gilead and Canada overall. I loved the writing style, for me there is just something about the way that Atwood constructs a story that makes me just want to devour it in one sitting. The pace was good, there was a steady development throughout so that I didn’t feel as though any parts were put in just because. The characterisation was brilliant, whether main or supporting characters I really felt something about them all and this is crucial for me when reading. If I struggle to feel anything then I can quickly lose interest in the story, luckily this wasn’t the case here.

I definitely think that this was worth the wait, and I would absolutely read it again! Furthermore I would recommend this to anyone and everyone!

There wasn’t anything about it that I didn’t like. Yes, if I had to choose a favourite between this and The Handmaid’s Tale then I would choose the latter but that is not a negative reflection on The Testaments, I just loved the former that much!

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This is truly a fascinating read, and more than a little frightening when you consider how easily the world of Gilead could become a reality.

MY RATING: 5/5 

Have you read The Testaments? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x

18 thoughts on “A book review: The Testaments

  1. I have read it in a couple of sittings. I had started it before lockdown and then gone onto something lighter to come back to it. Then I absolutely loved it. I am glad you hear that you did enjoy it. I did too even though it has come under a lot of criticism. Like you say there is a good depth to the characters. I preferred The Handmaid’s Tale but did enjoy this.

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    1. Same with me, started it and then had a big gap before starting up again and really enjoying it. I was a little apprehensive because of the criticism it received but I suppose it goes to show how much reading is subjective and what works for one reader may not for another. It keeps things interesting I suppose! I agree, The Handmaid’s Tale is better, that book blew me away when I read it 😊

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      1. It was some years ago when I read The Handmaid’s Tale. It blew me away too. I was so excited to learn there was a sequel. There is a danger with sequels they might not match up to expectations. I only saw there was criticism after I had read it! I suppose you know yourself if you are enjoying a book or not. Its just down to personal preference and timing!

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      2. Have you watched the TV show of it? I haven’t because despite it being received well I’m nervous that it won’t live up to the book. That’s lucky that you didn’t know about the criticism until afterwards, because as much as I still really enjoyed it, it definitely had an impact on my reading experience

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      3. Yes, I really enjoyed the TV show if it. Its very well done. I saw an interview with the actress that played Aunt Lydia and that is what spurred me on to read the rest of it. I’m glad I ‘d not seen the criticism too. Its a shame it influenced how you felt reading it. I definitely recommend the TV version. 😊

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      4. Ah that’s great! It’s on list to watch and I’ll definitely give it a go after reading your thoughts 😊 yes it is a shame but I’m glad that once I got into it I was so absorbed by the story that I forgot about the criticism. Now I still can’t work out how it received a negative reaction from some, a 5 star read for me for sure.

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  2. Great review! This book is on my reserve list for the library. I have read The Handmaid’s Tale a couple of times but it’s not a favourite. So much talk about The Testaments though, I have to read it…

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