The Women's War

The Women's War

In a high fantasy feminist epic, a revolutionary spell gives women the ability to control their own fertility—with consequences that rock their patriarchal society to its core.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 cultur...

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Title:The Women's War
Author:Jenna Glass
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Women's War Reviews

  • Sami

    The Women's War is an incredible, tour-de-force answer to Naomi Alderman's book, The Power. In this epic fantasy, women seize control of the magic of the land, creating a world where women chose if they become pregnant and consequences befall any man who would fight a woman's will. Glass' heroines are women of every age, who each offer a unique perspective on their sudden gain in power. As these women begin to seize control over the dominion of men, a larger rebellion simmers. This book both fil

    The Women's War is an incredible, tour-de-force answer to Naomi Alderman's book, The Power. In this epic fantasy, women seize control of the magic of the land, creating a world where women chose if they become pregnant and consequences befall any man who would fight a woman's will. Glass' heroines are women of every age, who each offer a unique perspective on their sudden gain in power. As these women begin to seize control over the dominion of men, a larger rebellion simmers. This book both filled the sore spot in my heart from recent politics and stoked my rage at how women have been treated in past and present. One of the most necessary books of 2019.

  • Lesa Divine

    5 🌟

    I actually enjoyed. Seen a lot of reviews with people DNF this it had me worried but I decided to give it a try.

    Seen all the trigger warnings but as i kept reading I noticed those trigger warnings are part of the plot that these women must fight for or to upcome and fight in the women's war.

    Characters growth, the magic system, very vivid. I enjoyed the suspense of what to come next with these women and how to get out of the crap that held women back. The p

    5 🌟

    I actually enjoyed. Seen a lot of reviews with people DNF this it had me worried but I decided to give it a try.

    Seen all the trigger warnings but as i kept reading I noticed those trigger warnings are part of the plot that these women must fight for or to upcome and fight in the women's war.

    Characters growth, the magic system, very vivid. I enjoyed the suspense of what to come next with these women and how to get out of the crap that held women back. The politics was on Q. Seeing how a queen that isn't to be on the throne fight to been noticed as a queen not a stand in until a king comes.

    To have a half brother want all the power and damn his half siblings for just being born. SMDH.

    I wonder will there be a book 2. How that ended I hope so.

  • Carrie

    The Women’s War by Jenna Glass is the first book in the epic fantasy Women’s War series. This is another book in which women have been treated as if they are property instead of equals along the lines of things like The Handmaid’s Tale or Vox.

    In here though we start off meeting Alys who is the daughter of a King but her mother was exiled years before when the King decided he was finished with her so Alys has been disinherited. While visiting her mother in the awful place she had been

    The Women’s War by Jenna Glass is the first book in the epic fantasy Women’s War series. This is another book in which women have been treated as if they are property instead of equals along the lines of things like The Handmaid’s Tale or Vox.

    In here though we start off meeting Alys who is the daughter of a King but her mother was exiled years before when the King decided he was finished with her so Alys has been disinherited. While visiting her mother in the awful place she had been living since her divorce Alys’ mother hints to something big coming for women and later that night she does cast a spell that releases the women of the land.

    From that point of the spell taking place the book begins to switch the point of view between differing areas of the two kingdoms involved. Alys finds herself looking for answers to help her daughter, Ellis finds herself in line for the throne of her kingdom without a husband and then there’s the place in which Aly’s mother had been with those woman finding are not what they would seem.

    I’m not sure I would even need to say to those that know me well that over five hundred pages of book I did find some places that really seemed to slow down and be in danger of losing my attention. I did like the idea overall of the world the author tried to create here and to be rather vague this was due to following the different classes and getting a point of view from all angles. Some of the content could be a brutal and might bother some but it wasn’t as bad as one could expect either, if that makes sense? So while I wasn’t completely wowed at the end I did enjoy this one and would give it 3.5 stars.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

    For more reviews please visit

  • Helen Power

    In this patriarchal, high-fantasy world, women are used by royals as bargaining chips and are valued only for their ability to reproduce.  But the tables have finally turned. A curse has been cast, one that allows all women to choose whether or not they want to bear a child.  Women have finally regained some control over their lives, but the battle has just begun.  Many men will do whatever they can to keep their power.

    Touted as a feminist high-fantasy,

    does not disappoint in this regard. power.Plot

    In this patriarchal, high-fantasy world, women are used by royals as bargaining chips and are valued only for their ability to reproduce.  But the tables have finally turned. A curse has been cast, one that allows all women to choose whether or not they want to bear a child.  Women have finally regained some control over their lives, but the battle has just begun.  Many men will do whatever they can to keep their power.

    Touted as a feminist high-fantasy,

    does not disappoint in this regard.  This curse that is cast upon all the kingdoms gives women some semblance of power, but of course, men still seek to control them.

    The novel follows several women over the course of the months following this curse that befell all the kingdoms.  Each of the women is in a different stage of life – whether eighteen or the ripe old age of forty, and each of them experiences different levels of oppression. Each woman is controlled (to varying degrees) by the men in her life. These women’s journeys, while quite different in plot, are also eerily similar.  It’s fascinating to watch their characters develop over the span of this 550-page book.  However, because there are so many different characters living in different kingdoms, they can be hard to keep track of, which does slow down the pace of the book.  The individual chapters are a tad too short, giving you a taste of what is going on with one character before switching over to the next, which can add to the confusion. Although a lot happens in this book, this is not a quick read.

    While there are several main female characters in this story, I will focus on three: Ellin, Alys, and Jellin.  When her family is tragically killed, Ellin becomes the new Queen of Rhozinolm.  Having a female sovereign has precedent in her land, but the men of the council seek to manipulate her and seize the throne for themselves.  Alys is a forty-year-old widow with a gift for magic, which before now she was unable to use.  She hopes to use magic to make the world a better place for her children.  Jellin is Alys's eighteen-year-old daughter who must use her wits to avoid marriage to an unsavory man.

    While many men in this novel are reprehensible, Glass includes several men who are quite the opposite.

      They don’t have the need to weaken others in order to feel strong themselves.  I was a little worried going into this novel that in order to make the women powerful they would have to cut down the men.  This is true for the egotistical, psychopathic, power-hungry men of this world, but fortunately Glass makes the distinction between these men and the allies, and

    does not develop a dangerous "us vs. them" mentality.

    I absolutely

    how magic works in this world. It’s so simple, yet unique in concept. There are elements everywhere, some which are feminine, some masculine, and some neutral.  Each element has a unique purpose.  Glass expertly introduces readers to the nuances of this type of magic without readers having the chance to realize that so much information is being fed to them. There aren’t pages upon pages describing how magic works. Instead,

    .   Magic is so critical to the way that this world works, and it’s quite cleverly done. By adding a “mote” of the element “rho” to the “cheval” (horse-like invention for transportation), you start it up and can begin your journey.

    The existence of magic and how the people use it reinforces the book's themes of oppression. Many women have the ability to see and use these magical elements, but, depending on which kingdom they reside in, it varies between being simply frowned upon and being illegal.

    I recommend this book to anyone looking for a high fantasy epic that blends with dystopian themes of oppression.  Looking for a feminist read that doesn't lecture or feel quite as depressing as

    ? Then this is the book for you.

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  • Shaina

    Women’s War is a complicated one and yet simple at the same time.

    This is a world like ours used to be back in the medieval times and some parts even farther back than that as far as women’s rights and abilities are concerned; however, there is magic. Women aren’t allowed to use it in most countries or places. And women ‘s Magic is considered unclean until someone needs a certain spell and then sure, it’s all fine but on the DL.

    (I know I have written this before and Goodreads keeps taking my re

    Women’s War is a complicated one and yet simple at the same time.

    This is a world like ours used to be back in the medieval times and some parts even farther back than that as far as women’s rights and abilities are concerned; however, there is magic. Women aren’t allowed to use it in most countries or places. And women ‘s Magic is considered unclean until someone needs a certain spell and then sure, it’s all fine but on the DL.

    (I know I have written this before and Goodreads keeps taking my reviews and stuffing them somewhere but I refuse to be defeated. )

    So, they are property, heir breeders, used to unite nations and to secure trade agreements and peace between countries.

    The kicker is that there is a place called the Abbey, where the former Queen and all other women and children of the crown and nobility —who are deemed unfit by way of ; getting old, the man wanting a different wife, suspected of adultery,

    birthmarks on the face; whatever the reason —are made to stay and sell potions and themselves to make money for the kings coffers. These women are allowed to open their “mind’s eye” and do magic. Simple things.

    But magic is stronger in women than many realize and having been practicing it for generations near the magic well in Aaltah has allowed the former queen not only to get her revenge, but to equal the sides a bit. To craft a spell that when out in place will alter the world. One where women are not just breeders or pawns in a property war. The Abbess or former Queen was from a long line of Seers. Royals were not hampered in using their magic. Especially not the queen.

    She warns her daughter Alys but doesn’t say much; only that she will cast a spell that will give women a right to choose. To control their fertility and therefore their lives a lot more. She and two of her bloodline she bore after leaving the castle, give their lives casting the spell and the world is forever changed. Now what are her children to do that she has left behind ? The others at the abbey?

    What will the king do ?

    It gets a mess but it’s a good story and the next book is already being written. It says it’s feminist fantasy. I’ve never read that before. I just gave this a try.

    No. Not all of the men are misogynistic pigs. A lot of them help the women and battle on their side.

    There is much more here than I can hope to put in but it would ruin the book.

  • Lucia

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.

    2.5 stars. Maybe.

    This book contains a richly drawn world, believable characters, a complex but neat system of magic and enough political machinations to keep you on your toes the whole way through. What it isn't is fast paced or exciting, and this took me over a month to get through.

    While I really, really appreciated the concept of this book—that the world changes because women gain the power to control whether or not they become pregnant—t

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.

    2.5 stars. Maybe.

    This book contains a richly drawn world, believable characters, a complex but neat system of magic and enough political machinations to keep you on your toes the whole way through. What it isn't is fast paced or exciting, and this took me over a month to get through.

    While I really, really appreciated the concept of this book—that the world changes because women gain the power to control whether or not they become pregnant—the execution left much to be desired. This was not the angry feminist fantasy I wanted. In fact, none of the characters seem all that angry, despite living in a terribly misogynistic world. They aren't itching for change. They accept the things that happen to them and it was...frankly disheartening to see all this women just...not be angry. Like Shelvon! I'm sorry but as an historian of the Middle Ages, I can say that in no time period were women ever that docile.

    My largest complaint with this book is the utter absence of gay characters. You cannot in the year 2018 write a feminist fantasy and not include queer women. An abbey full of scorned noble women?? THEY WOULD HAVE SEX WITH ONE ANOTHER. Instead, these women all just accept the fact that they will never have enjoyable sex because like, apparently 0 of them are gay. It made no sense. Queer women have always been at the forefront of feminism and to not include them in a feminist story like this one is upsetting, unacceptable, and insulting. Seriously there are 0 gay characters, 0 mention of homosexuality existing in this society, and 0 hint that any of the women who ALL LIVE TOGETHER might have romantic feelings for one another.

    I really enjoyed aspects of this, don't get me wrong. But it's such an ambitious book that fails in many ways, and I can't overlook the ways it fails when it has to do with the very aims the book sets out for itself. Your feminist fantasy should be queer. It should have queer characters. It should have angry women. And it should have women who seek power for themselves without having to have a man tell them to do it. Seriously our two queens here are put in power because men give them the idea. It's ridiculous. I get that maybe these women have lived with misogyny and no power for so long that they wouldn't think to take power but history has shown us that women always find a way to think outside of misogyny and rebel.

    The things I legitimately liked here was the ending with Ellin and Tamzin, Ellin's arc in general, Jinnell's character (she's gay you can't convince me she isn't), and the magic itself.

    I'm so disappointed by the lack of queer women in a story that so desperately needs them (like oh ladies you're tired of men??? good thing there are like...other people you can have sex with and fall in love with. Oh wait...in this world they're apparently aren't). I'm disappointed by the lack of anger.

    And most importantly I'm disappointed by how this story handles rape. The author chooses to have all these women raped in one brutal scene, the result of which is that they start producing a specific type of killing magic. Great. Except none of these women is given a survivor's arc, their trauma is never explored, and we are actually fed a line about how they experience so much trauma on a daily basis that the rape basically doesn't matter. Rape causes trauma. How can you include rape victims in a feminist fantasy and then not give at least one of them an arc about survival, healing, and dealing with trauma? I was shocked, hurt, and amazed frankly.

    This book has some great elements. Ultimately, though, it fails in the ways that matter by setting itself up as a feminist fantasy and then...not being very feminist. This was intriguing enough that I might read book 2 and will at least check out the final product. But I can't say I'm very pleased.

  • Jenny

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Del Rey). This review is unbiased and honest.

    2.5 ⭐

    Trigger warning: misogyny, sexism, rape, violence, racism

    Content warning: white feminism

    DNF at 65%

    URGH! This is such a hit and miss it hurts. It could have been an amazing epic fantasy about women overcoming sexism and misogyny and fightin for equality. Instead it became a chain of how many times the author could include sex in those wome

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Del Rey). This review is unbiased and honest.

    2.5 ⭐

    Trigger warning: misogyny, sexism, rape, violence, racism

    Content warning: white feminism

    DNF at 65%

    URGH! This is such a hit and miss it hurts. It could have been an amazing epic fantasy about women overcoming sexism and misogyny and fightin for equality. Instead it became a chain of how many times the author could include sex in those women's lives.

    Because that's what this book is all about: sex. It starts with how easily men can coerce women into having sex with or marrying them, and it probably ends with... well just the same, since the only effects of that spell are that women cannot procreate unless they

    want to and that they produce a new element when they are raped. That's it, really. Or at least that's the jist of the half I read. If anything more interesting happens afterwards, I am unaware.

    The main problematic point (apart from the constant need to include non-graphic sexual content at every turn) of this novel is that it has white feminism written all over it. Let me get this clear: if, in 2019, your feminism does not include diversity of any kind (queer, disabled, body positive, different ethnicities, etc.) it is NOT feminism! It's serving your white, cisstraight interest with no regard to those who have it worse than you. Unfortunately, that's the kind of fake feminism this book falls under.

    Oh, there is

    diversity. Of course, that diversity is accompanied by racism, even from the characters we are supposed to like, as readers, in the form of microaggressions. It is said by Delnamal and thought more than once by Alysoon that people from Nandel are too pale, that it's not normal. I don't know if the author tried to weave some sort of white racism into her story, as a way to be "woke"...

    Mostly, her effort lies in a sexual revolution for the women. Nowhere in the first half I read does this spell make them fight against their assumed destiny of "baby factory" or the political alliances they are forced into. It's all about how they can sleep with whomever they want without consequences. And that only applies to noble women, apprently. There isn't a single peasant among the main characters.

    Nor is there any queer character for that matter. Because apparently queerness isn't important in feminism........ or at least in that author's feminism. She made an entire institution filled with "unwanted" women who have to sell themselves for sex to the highest bidder, yet none of them ever thought of, you know, trying it with each other?! Hundreds of women alone together most of the time and none of them has sexual desire for her peers? PUH-LEASE!

    (That of course, is not including the abigails who could be asexual.... there could have been a whole arc about them dealing with the constant threat of rape)

    And among all those women who have to prostitute themselves, who for the most part are raped on numerous occasions, none of them ever seem to deal with PTSD......... I guess the author didn't want to trouble herself with research on the topic.

    It's a huge hit and miss, and it's the only thing it is. If you want a fantasy only about women's sexual revolution, go for it. If you want a truily feminist epic fantasy, look somewhere else.

  • Rike @ RikeRandom

    cn: death (by suicide, beheading, mercy killing, magic, (off-page) torture, …), sexual assault (rape, forced prostitution, …), miscarriages, violence against children

    I really wanted to like this book because the premise was awesome. Then I started reading it and within the first 10 % several characters committed suicide / were pressured into killing themselvs, countless women were raped and I don't know what else. I originally decided to just dnf the novel b/>THIS

    cn: death (by suicide, beheading, mercy killing, magic, (off-page) torture, …), sexual assault (rape, forced prostitution, …), miscarriages, violence against children

    I really wanted to like this book because the premise was awesome. Then I started reading it and within the first 10 % several characters committed suicide / were pressured into killing themselvs, countless women were raped and I don't know what else. I originally decided to just dnf the novel but then read on anyways. It got simultaneously better and worse.

    I liked a few things about the book. It's world, some of the characters, the writing, some of the ideas behind it and I did get drawn into the story after a while. But I also hated so much of it (spoiler ahead and also serious tw regarding all the stuff listed above):

    - It is NOT queer inclusive. At all. In fact the whole thing is based on an absolutely binary concept of gender. There is pretty much only either strictly male or strictly female. And there's not a single queer character in sight. No trans or enby characters but also no sign of anybody being non-hetero.

    - There's also no disabled people in this, the only fat character is ridiculously evil and … I can't say that I remember any character description that, especially in combination with the skin colour of the hand on the cover, implied that anybody in this book was not white. Apart from those who were even whiter, of course (there's racism against the whiter guys?). Oh, it's also classicist (is that the right word?) and there's not a single peasant in sight, apart from some lady's maids who don't actually get a voice in this.

    - I absolutely hated that it is strongly implied that only women who explicitly said 'no' to and/or struggled against their rapists got 'rape-magic'. Got repeatedly raped by your abusive husband but never managed to do more than silently cry into your pillows? Well, too bad.

    - Then again, rape apparently also doesn't really lead to trauma in this world, so … yeah … All the women forced into prostitution are pretty much fine or at least aren't shown to experience any mayor issues after being freed. They're just mostly okay?!

    - Somehow women and especially women who do magic (who are usually also prostitutes) are really not well regarded in any of the countries in this world and yet in some super surprising twist of fate half the guys aren't really that shocked about them doing magic or turn out to be amazing allies?!

    - I hated the (on page) violence. Most of it felt so clumsy, heavy handed and often unnecessary. Yes, I get it, women are in a horrible position in this world and all guys (apart from the good ones, of course) are superduper absolutely evil. Still, I don't need all those rape scenes and other stuff.

    - Parts of the story seemed weirdly disconnected from the rest and there where plotlines that didn't seem to have any actual relevance to anything. It just gives this novel this feeling of "Hey, I'm just an introduction for a coming series and in the sequels it will totally make sense, that these characters were introduced!"

    - This is mostly about sex. Who can have it, who can't and, oh, how cool, now women can have sex with whoever they want too! Sure, this is meant to convey how women suddenly have all the power, because they can't have children unless they want to, but it just isn't done in a way that works and only seems to result in trying to see how many rape and fade-to-black sex scenes can be put into this.

  • Fafa's Book Corner

    Mini review:

    DNF

    Trigger warning: Misogynistic society. Rape. Physical violence. Suicide. Till the point I read.

    I received this arc via Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

    Buddy read with my dear GR friend Kayla! When Kayla had told me about this book I was excited! So I sent in a request for the arc. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me.

    I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. It wasn’t terrible but not great either. I didn’t care for the characters

    Mini review:

    DNF

    Trigger warning: Misogynistic society. Rape. Physical violence. Suicide. Till the point I read.

    I received this arc via Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

    Buddy read with my dear GR friend Kayla! When Kayla had told me about this book I was excited! So I sent in a request for the arc. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me.

    I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. It wasn’t terrible but not great either. I didn’t care for the characters. Or the plot.

    And I felt that I’ve read much better feminist books. There didn’t seem to be any WOC, queer women, and women with disabilities. Considering all this I’m really confused as to why it is being advertised as such.

    I did try skimming to see whether my assumptions were wrong. I didn’t find anything to prove it wrong.

    Still recommend. I’m sure others will enjoy it.

  • Madi

    DNF at 1/3 of the way in. Saw that this "feminist fantasy" has no rep for queer women and the treatment of sex workers was absolutely abysmal. The male characters are all considered terrible and the female characters are not much better or smarter. Do not have the patience for a pretentious ass fantasy at the moment. Still marking it as read though.

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