Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin

Who Runs the World?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)

Goodreads:       Author        Book


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: ★

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?


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14 responses to “Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin

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  2. You know, I’ve heard about this book and I was considering checking it out this year. After reading this, I think it’s not for me. Writing negative reviews can sometimes be hard to do, but they’re really worthwhile for this exact reason! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!


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  8. Aah I am sorry it wasn’t what you expected it to be. I picked up a copy of this book just last weekend, I haven’t gotten round to start it yet but now I am even more intrigued to read it x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I find writing reviews like this quite difficult. I’m sure some people will enjoy this book I just couldn’t get past some of the things I considered to be problematic. I would love to hear what you think when you’ve read it 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I understand what you mean. I find writing reviews in general quite difficult because I never really know if I should follow a format or focus on specific areas ahah. Yes! Once I’ve read I would love to compare our thoughts x

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Quite sorry to hear how much of a disappointment this was. The premise sure did sound interesting and would’ve caught my attention too.. The line between “equality” and “superiority” seemed slim with this one, sucks that it didn’t go in the right direction. Great and honest review though. Really appreciate the thoughts you had to share for this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It took me a while to write this review as I didn’t want it to be a complete slating but there were definitely some things that concerned me about this book. I’m sure some people will like it enough but I couldn’t get past the superiority that goes completely against what I believe in!

      Liked by 1 person

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