*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley, with thanks to the author and publishers. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Silence can be deafening.
Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.
Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.
Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.
For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…
[100 WORD LIMIT REACHED]
Vox is a terrifyingly real dystopian take on gender politics, similar to The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are restricted to 100 words per day, and the insidious erosion of rights: painfully fought for; desperately clutched; stripped away as easily as tissue paper, took my breath away.
I empathised with Jean; her internal and external struggles and the guilt she carried for not being more active before the horse left the stable (although the latter point was slightly over-emphasised).
The ending was a bit rushed and confusing; not as chillingly crafted as the preceding build-up. Still I’d definitely recommend this book.
[100 word limit reached]
Phew! THAT was way harder than I thought it was going to be. At the risk of electrocution, on I go…
Seriously, the world of VOX is one I simply cannot imagine myself surviving. Not only are the girls and women stripped of words, they are stripped of gestures, autonomy, passports, money, work (outside of child-rearing and house-keeping) and any forms of reading or writing materials. The state-sanctioned mental, emotional and physical abuse resultant actually made me feel physically sick as I read.
Yet it is not all doom and gloom, as Christina Dalcher balances her horrors with an exploration of the indomitable, stubborn resistance of human nature; the kindness that can be found in some surprising places; and the reassurance that whilst Jean’s country followed this horrific agenda, other countries stayed well away from the bandwagon. Although they didn’t come rushing to help either, or even seem to take the situation particularly seriously… Yes, there is a lot of food for thought here, applicable to the past, present and (please, no!) future!
I was slightly disappointed as the pace changed towards the end, becoming more action-based and frenetic. The preceding narrative had been so thoughtful and well-balanced that I felt thrown off-balance and therefore did not really appreciate the climax and conclusion as much as I had hoped. In my opinion there was room for the book to have lasted about half as long again; making the finale as powerful and intense as the rest.
As I said in the truncated version, I would definitely recommend this book, especially for book groups (loads to discuss!) and for fans of sci-fi based around gender politics.
And now I’m off to read my daughter, and son, a whole load of stories…!
This is how things are now: We have allotments of one hundred words a day. My books, even the old copies of Julia Child and – here’s irony – the tattered red-and-white-checked Better Homes and Gardens a friend decided would be a cute joke for a wedding gift, are locked in cupboards so Sonia can’t get at them. Which means I can’t get at them either. Patrick carries the keys around like a weight, and sometimes I think it’s the heaviness of this burden that makes him look older.
– Christina Dalcher, VOX
VOX releases on Amazon on 21st August 2018, but you can preorder a copy right now!