Monday, 20 August 2018

REVIEW - VOX BY CHRISTINA DALCHER

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publisher: HQ
Release Date: 21st August 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I heard this book was being compared to The Handmaids Tale and I love the dystopian genre even though I guess I should admit to not having read The Handmaids Tale yet. I have bought a copy but just not gotten around to reading it yet. Anyhow I looked this one up on Goodreads as soon as I knew it was going to be published. I have seen two different covers for this book, (see below).


 

The stark white cover with profile of a woman with the red X of the book title being over the females mouth. Its a very strong image and really puts over the basics of what the book is about, which is silencing women. This is an especially poignant message as this year we celebrate the suffragettes and the fact they got women the vote and gave us a voice. 

I also love the black cover too with its red letters and the byline of "Silence can be deafening" which is a great line to start you thinking about the book content. 
Which cover is my favourite? I honestly like them both and I think either will stand out on a bookstore shelf so both do their job very well. If I absolutely had to choose one? My love o a great byline would make me choose the dark cover, but, the white cover and the x over the females mouth is such a stark, striking image too.
The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Dystopian which fit perfectly but I would also add futuristic to this list.

This book is set in America, though the setting would also work over here in the UK. The government (all male of course) has passed a law that women are only allowed to use 100 words per day! It doesn't stop at limiting women to just 100 words soon women are not allowed jobs, they are supposed to stay in the home and keep the family home ticking over, caring for the children, and having the dinner ready for their husband coming home, they are not allowed to hold any job of responsibility.

There really is an inequality within everyone's household. The central character in this story is Dr Jean McLellan who is ironically a well educated woman who trained as a cognitive linguist forced to give up her career to men with lesser qualifications. She has to stay home and isn't even allowed access to books. She cannot use a computer, anything for the use of communication is locked away in her husbands office. Her husband is quite literally her jailer. Jean isn't even secondary in the pecking order at home. Her son is held in higher esteem and has more authority than she has herself. When her son Steven becomes deeper and involved with a movement called the Pure movement and really believes women should not be at work, or allowed to read books. Steven wears his badge as a member of the Pure movement with pride. Jean cannot believe the change in her son and his attitude. His actions and words certainly fit the governments expectations, he truly seems to think women are an inferior race and should be ruled over by men. This doesn't sit well at all with Jean, his educated mother. In fact it makes her think back to her years o education and a friend, Jackie Juarez who had told her she should be out protesting with her but Jean was dedicated to her books and never thought things would go this far. Jean remembers the last time she saw Jackie on TV, she was labelled a feminazi and sent away to work in the fields.


Jean is devastated to learn that her son Steven has reported his next door neighbour/girlfriend, Julia King for what he considers an infraction of the governments rules. Julia is taken away in the night and like all protesters or those considered to be breaking the law she is sentenced to working on the farms and a life of silence, she isn't allowed any words at all.

I guess I should explain how the government enforces the 100 words per day policy. Every female from the youngest children to the oldest woman is fitted with a cuff which counts their words as they use them. If the female wearing the cuff goes over her 100 words per day she is sent an electrical type shock through her cuff. So is harshly punished for over use of words. There is no way out of this life. Even if women wanted to leave the country with her family she is unable to do so as all females had their passports confiscated and n new ones are being issued. 


Dr Jean McLellan is given the chance of a small reprieve when the President wants her to continue some scientific work she had been doing before America changed. It turns out he needs a serum to give his brother who is suffering from a brain disorder/damage which was the scientific are Jean and her team had been working on. Jean decides to help so long as she can choose her team Lin and Lorenzo to help her. The price/payment she receives is the removal of her cuff and her young daughter Sonia's cuff. Jean intends to enjoy what little freedom this "work" will give her. She fall right back into the affair she was having with Lorenzo, which is risky as if found out she will be sent to the farms to work hard labour until death!


There is so much going on in this book and it truly is a conversation starter. I'd also say it is something that could quite realistically happen. I mean there's still a political row going on about getting equal pay for women, and certain professions are still mostly male dominated.


I was pulled into this book almost immediately within the first 4% ! As a reader you are thrown right into the dystopian society with its rules and regulations. To be totally honest looking around at our present political leaders around the world is a scenario that is really believable and doesn't take to much imagination to envision it. I found the plot of this book amazing twist on a society. Women, even young girls must be fitted with a counter and are limited to the 100 words! If you just go over, a reminder shock is entirely through your counter.....if you continue to speak even though you have used you allotted words the shocks get stronger and stronger. It's not only words that have been taken from the female part of society...." There really seems no end to the torment of women in this society yet still some women look down on others. Making it seem in places were women are their own worst enemy, if they banded together they could make a bigger impact but it just takes a few brave women to stand together.


I really enjoyed reading this book it was really thought provoking the society going back to a time where women were thought lesser important than men and are sentenced to a life of drudgery and silence. 


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