The Women’s War
Author: Jenna Glass Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Del Ray
Trigger Warnings: Rape (on-the-page, violent), heavy misogyny, abuse (verbal, physical, emotional), anger issues, fat shaming, body shaming, death, torture, forced marriage, child abuse, loss of a loved one (death of a family member, death of a child), pregnancy, miscarriage, sexism, slut shaming, sex, violence, war and suicide/sacrificial death.
- STRONG “Fuck the patriarchy” vibes. That had to be hands down my favorite aspect of this book. While it was really hard to read about how women were treated–often poorly, with abuse and neglect and judged as inferior not rare occurrences–it was also super empowering as some of our characters began to fight back, as the bricks of these patriarchal societies began to get torn down and how inspiring these women were. I’ve been ready to smash the patriarchy for a while now, but after reading this? I was vibrating and unable to sleep.
- How emotionally invested I got. I got really emotionally invested in some of these characters, Alysoon and her family, in particular. It’s because of that invested that I literally read the last 200+ pages in one sitting and resigned myself to stay up until 1am to see how this ended. But also, FUCK Delnamal. Like, fuck him to the highest degrees possible. He’s like Joffery, but worse.
- The ending. I can only speak in GIFs to respond to how I am feeling about that ending:
- Hard to keep track of who is who. I definitely struggled throughout this for most of the book. We have a lot of POVs and many different players within this–which makes complete sense for the political narrative that it is–yet I struggled to keep up with who was who, and how they all fit together in the larger scheme of things.
- Fatness equated to evil. This upset me a great deal, because why was this a thing? A few characters, including Delnamal, who are depicted as vile and evil because of the thing they have done, yet another aspect that is included to help “confirm” his evilness is definitely his being fat. This is mentioned multiple times and, considering there is no positive fat rep, that’s the obvious conclusion that’s being drawn. Which, as a fat person who is in recovery for ED, that was…not great to read.
- Where do queer people fit into this world? I was also really disappointed that we’re presented with a novel that is labeled as a feminist fantasy that…doesn’t include any queer people anywhere, nor any clues on how they fit into this world? Like, c’mon loves, seriously?
Obviously, this was a mixed book for me! I really enjoyed the vibes and seeing women grow into power and fight back against oppressive systems, but the negative fat representation and lack of diversity in other ways–not to mention reading a book that is on-the-page oppressive towards women–challenged any attempts to fall completely in love with it. However, I did enjoy it enough (and was floored enough by the ending) to want to continue reading this series!