Pondo’s Review: The Testaments

By Margret Atwood

“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.

Oh my goodness gracious, holy moly and shut the front door! I have been waiting for a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale since I read it at the age of about 12. While I know that’s not quite as long as those that have been waiting since the initial release, I was over the moon when I heard The Testaments was being published. Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was one of my first dystopian novels and it shaped my love for the genre.

I had a lot of expectations for this book and it didn’t disappoint. It starts right off with a bang and continues to build momentum right until the end. I loved that it was told through the voices of new characters rather than Offred. She was a dynamic and engaging character in the first book, I just think the television show has grown the character so much that to have Offred as the main character again would be more of a spin off of the tv show rather than a new story from Atwood.

I was over the moon that one of the voices used to tell the continuing story of Gilead was Aunt Lydia’s; she’s always been a character of interest to me. How did she get roped into the organization of Gilead? Did she truly believe the doctrine? Upon opening the book, I was eager to find out.

Outside of the story itself, the writing is exactly what you would expect from Atwood. The prose had me hanging on every word and the dialogue was sharp. I was never bored reading The Testaments, rather I would say I over read it (I was almost late to a meeting I had after a lunch break spent reading).

All of this to say: if you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, I highly suggest you read The Testaments.