Who Runs the World?
Author: Virginia Bergin
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
UK Publication Date: June 1st 2017
Format: ARC (336 pages)
Welcome to the Matriarchy.
Sixty years after a virus has wiped out almost all the men on the planet, things are pretty much just as you would imagine a world run by women might be: war has ended; greed is not tolerated; the ecological needs of the planet are always put first. In two generations, the female population has grieved, pulled together and moved on, and life really is pretty good – if you’re a girl. It’s not so great if you’re a boy, but fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that. Until she met Mason, she thought they were extinct.
My Rating: ★ 1/2
Sigh. I had SUCH high hopes for this book and when I first heard about it I immediately requested a copy to review which I was lucky to get. I’m glad I did because honestly I probably wouldn’t spend my money on this book. I’m sure that some other people will love it but it just wasn’t really for me and I got to the end and just felt like the whole book lacked what I had been hoping for.
I thought the idea of a society where the world is being run by women after men have been wiped out by a disease was super interesting and I’m a fan of dystopian novels, normally. But this just didn’t really work. I thought this was going to be a wonderful feminist novel that I would love whole heartedly but it didn’t feel feminist to me at all. Erasing an entire gender to make women the ‘important’ ones is the complete opposite of feminism and equality. This book is like a manual for man hating but in an awful way. River is brought up in a society where she is taught that men are all dangerous and will rape, murder or attack her. To me this is such a dangerous idea to float around in a book, even in a dystopian world, and it just didn’t sit right with me.
When I got to the end of this book I was so very confused. There were so many moments where I thought ‘Ooh, this is the moment it will all make sense’ but I am still waiting. I’m not sure I really understand the dystopian society that has been created and so I couldn’t fully embrace the story itself. I almost felt that I had been dropped into the wrong part of this book and would have actually preferred to read more about the ‘before’. How did their society end up how it was? What triggered the disease? What sacrifices were made for the women to survive? Why did the disease only wipe out men? How did the world only being women mean wars came to an end? I just wanted more information so that I could understand this new world more. Just thinking about getting the answers to those questions makes me see how much I didn’t know about this world.
The characters were okay. I felt quite neutral about River, our narrator, but I did like Kate. I thought she was quite funny and sassy. River’s voice was very immature though and I just couldn’t connect with her.
All that said, I did read this book quite quickly and the writing style is fairly simple. I just question whether the fact I skim read some of this says it all? An excellent premise it just wasn’t executed how I had hoped.
Thanks to MyKindaBook for my advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you read Who Runs the World?
What are your favourite YA dystopian novels?