It’s HEEEEEERE! The long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, THE TESTAMENTS, was finally released in to the world last Tuesday & I have had the great pleasure of reading it thanks to a review copy I received from Penguin Books Australia.
THE TESTAMENTS picks up 15 years after the conclusion of it’s prequel, and this time tells the stories of three different ladies. Aunt Lydia, who we met in The Handmaid’s Tale and is one of Commander Judd’s confidantes in Ardua Hall but whose backstory we never knew (until now!), Agnes, a young woman in Gilead who is in marriage preparatory classes and is grieving the loss of her mother Tabitha, and finally Daisy, another young woman living in Canada and outraged at the abuse she hears about happening in Gilead.
There is no doubt that Margaret Atwood is a masterful storyteller, and the way she weaves these three women’s tales together as their lives slowly spiral towards each other is truly incredible. I read this book slowly (by my standards), not because I wasn’t loving it, but because I wanted to soak up the small hints and intricate details Atwood leaves for her readers.
Now, for those wondering, you don’t need to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale before diving in to The Testaments. I am a bit neurotic when it comes to reading and was certain I was missing things because I didn’t reread it, but everything I thought I wasn’t understanding came clear and were honestly probably meant to be a little bit mysterious when you first begin reading!
The pacing of this book was fabulous, though Atwood draws you in from the first chapter, the momentum continues to build throughout as we slowly uncover more and more about Gilead’s inner workings, the webs Aunt Lydia weaves, and the hidden identities and motives of characters.
The parallels Atwood draws to modern-day America (and indeed, much of the rest of the world) is chilling, especially reading it as a woman in light of news stories we continue seeing here in the real world. In her acknowledgements, Atwood writes:
No event is allowed into it that does not have a precedent in human history.
With this, she has absolutely hit her mark, which makes this book all the more enthralling, heartbreaking, and honestly a bit scary.
It’s possible I loved The Testaments more than I loved The Handmaid’s Tale (which I devoured). I definitely think it’s worth picking up and finding out for yourself!
Read if: You enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, or want a look into a dystopian parallel world that doesn’t fall too far from the world we live in now.
Page Length: 415
Publisher: Chatto & Windus (an imprint of Penguin Books UK)
Were/are you eagerly anticipating this read? Or perhaps you’re more in to Stephen King’s The Institute which was released on the same day!
Either way, pop a comment below and let me know a book you’ve been hanging out to get your hands on!