I was really looking forward to reading this follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, but I sadly have to agree with a lot of reviewers that felt this book was not necessary. There were certainly sparks of greatness in this book, unfortunately just not enough of them.
The most compelling storyline followed Aunt Lydia. She is credited with being one of the “Founders” and helped set up that structure of the new government. We learn that her power, such that it is, fell into her lap mostly by chance. This did not, of course, prevent her from making the most of the opportunity. In following her storyline we find different ways in which people subverted the system.
Two other main characters, both teenage girls – one in Canada and one in Gilead – were not memorable and the weakest points of the book. Both characters were unrealistic (even for a dystopian work of fiction) and I couldn’t care less about them, especially the one from Canada. In fact, I care so little about them that I can’t even remember their names. (I already returned the book to the library. so I can’t look them up, and I don’t care enough to even Google them).
All in all, I thought the book was ok. It was an easy read, but there were stretches of blah that I couldn’t wait to get through. It’s definitely not as good as the first book. I haven’t seen the tv series, so I can’t comment on whether the author tied this book to the happenings of the tv show. I can tell you that the tone of the book is definitely different from the first book and the storylines are not nearly as impactful.