Date Published: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: Women’s War, Book #1
First Thoughts: Have you binge all of GoT and The Handmaid’s Tale and are going through withdraw?? Well, this is the book for you.
When a nobleman’s first duty is to produce a male heir, women are treated like possessions and bargaining chips. But as the aftereffects of a world-altering spell ripple out physically and culturally, women at last have a bargaining chip of their own. And two women in particular find themselves at the crossroads of change.
Alys is the widowed mother of two teenage children, and the disinherited daughter of a king. Her existence has been carefully proscribed, but now she discovers a fierce talent not only for politics but also for magic—once deemed solely the domain of men. Meanwhile, in a neighboring kingdom, young Ellin finds herself unexpectedly on the throne after the sudden death of her grandfather the king and everyone else who stood ahead of her in the line of succession. Conventional wisdom holds that she will marry quickly, then quietly surrender the throne to her new husband…. Only, Ellin has other ideas.
The tensions building in the two kingdoms grow abruptly worse when a caravan of exiled women and their escort of disgraced soldiers stumbles upon a new source of magic in what was once uninhabitable desert. This new and revolutionary magic—which only women can wield—threatens to tear down what is left of the patriarchy. And the men who currently hold power will do anything to fight back.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy to review.
TW: suicide, rape, beheading (off-page), torture (off-page), miscarriage, violence against children
There are some books that are marketed as the new blank and since you love blank you go and read it thinking that it will make you feel just as happy but it pales sorely in comparison. Well, The Women’s War should have been marketed as the book to fill the Game of Thrones and Handmaid’s Tale hole in your heart. Because that is exactly what it is.
This society only views women as wombs, not people with feelings, or people with the capabilities to make decisions. If a husband wants a divorce then he has every right to send his wife and even his daughters if he chooses to do so to the Abbey, where they will spend their days as second class citizens. And if a child is born into the Abbey then they will never be allowed to shed that mark. This is what happened to the Old Queen and through a series of events, her and her daughter and granddaughter, create a curse(?) over the land where only a woman who is willing to have a child can have one. And it is not hard to see how a society where women have the same rights as a dog took this news. And that’s were the Game of Thrones part of the story comes in because the political games that were played were on that level.
The story is told from multiple points of view, though I felt that Alys, the daughter of the Old Queen and current King of Aaltah was the main character as I felt that the story seemed to revolve around her the most. There was also her daughter, Jellin, who seemed like your typical ditzy teenager but this girl was fierce. And then my favorite, Ellin, whose family died tragically in the beginning and is now the new Queen of a neighboring country, Rhozinolm.
Speaking of the beginning, it was so long. It starts off with the curse/blessing which causes an earthquake and changes all of magic. In my opinion, Glass spent way to much time focused on what happened afterwards. It must have been at least 75-100 pages (of a 560-page book) before that night and the next day were done. I understand that it was a big part of the book but seriously I didn’t need to read all of that. It dragged the plot down. The plot moving forward was a lot better. It moved fluidly and with little resistance.
The magic system was okay. I wished that it had been explained better. My biggest question with it was why don’t the other countries, such as Rhozinolm, didn’t share the same experiences with magic as Aaltah. Magic was hardly ever brought up in settings outside of Aaltah which is really annoying because each country has its own customs thus a different way of dealing with magic.
Another issue with the book was the lack of representation that it has. There are no queer, disabled, or POC characters that are mentioned which is really weird because you know its a feminist novel. I hope that Glass brings in some more representation into the next book.
Overall, I had a fun time reading this book, or as much fun as you can have while your blood is boiling. I do plan on reading the next book and I hope that Glass brings in more representation and expands on her world more.
Add The Women’s War to your GoodReads TBR!