Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox

Christina Dalcher

When the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, one woman will do anything to protect herself and her daughter.

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One of Entertainment Weekly's and SheReads' books to read after The Handmaid's Tale

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.


Advance Galley Reviews

This is my favorite First to Read book thus far. As other reviewers have mentioned, it's similar to the Handmaid's Tale in the essence that women have extremely limited rights, but it takes a different turn. I couldn't put the book down and read it in 2 days. I can't wait until it comes out so that I can recommend it to friends!

This was a scary book. Scary and very similar to The Handmaid's Tale, women's rights have been stripped away. Dalcher took a fascinating route in which females of all ages are only allowed to speak 100 words per day. What would you feel was important if you only have 100 words a day to speak it? How carefully you would choose your words. We don't know how far into the future this scenario takes place but we do hear of the black president and then his predecessor. And they don't seem *that* far in this past. This book shows how quickly change can happen and how easily it could be. I really liked the book until the end. The book is barely 300 pages and I feel like it could've been longer because the ending felt so rushed. It wasn't enough for me after how detailed the rest of the book was!

This was an amazing read. The way the author, Christina Dalcher, brings the novel to life, is very eloquent. I loved the way one woman stood up to try to change the way things were going and she was able to accomplish it. I do wish the ending wasn't as rushed as it felt. However, it was still a very enthralling read.

Disappointingly, I did not get to read this - since they asked for a review by August, I moved it down the priority list a bit, and when I just tried to start it, I was informed my download was expired. I'll try it when it comes out maybe.

An astoundingly relevant book about forced silence and resistance. Dr. Jean McClellan is a neuro-linguist who studied aphasia, and she is also a woman in a dystopian society. She missed the warning signs, lots of people did, and now she’s got 100 words a day. Until. Until she’s deemed useful again, necessary even. But at what cost to society, to those she loves, to herself? A good plot and fast paced narrative help drive the story. Jean is a far from perfect narrator, but I think that makes her more relatable.

An interesting take on an Orwellian society. Jean, a former Doctor, does as other females are forced to do; be quiet and know your place. Then, circumstances are presented that could allow her the ability to not only change the future for her daughter, but for every female. Is the ability to speak and live freely worth risking the lives of her entire family?

This is a terrifying book because it just seems so plausible. Following in the tradition of The Handmaid's Tale, which gets a reference in the book, Vox tells the story of an America in which women have been literally silenced. Forced to wear a band on their wrist that counts their words, women know that any word over 100 in a day will cause them actual pain. Jean finds herself in a position to maybe change the status quo and struggles with the choices before her. The narrative moves at a fast pace, particularly towards the end when I did feel that the action became a little rushed. The manner in which control happens is so insidious and honestly, this is a tough book to get through because it is so believable. Unfortunately, I do think that as the narrative progresses, the credibility of the action lessens. It becomes an action packed thriller, which I enjoyed, but I think the horror of the first half in it's quiet depiction of a world slightly askew from our own, was far more affecting. I received a free copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

How many words do you use in an hour? A day? A week? What if you could only use 100 words a day? Would you use them more wisely, or suffer the consequences of the 100-word rule? For Jean and her daughter Sonia, this is their reality. They must use their words wisely and so does every woman in the near future of the US. Yet, Jean gives the change to regain her voice but it comes at a price. A price that may silence everyone in the process. Will she allow a whole race to be silence for a brief period to regain her own? Pro: With the current political environment, this book seems to bring a realistic future of what it could be like for women. Recently, women have stopped the silencing of their voice. Through such movements as MeToo and literature/media as a Handmaid’s Tale. Bringing into focus the unequal balance between a male and a female as well as the roles they should play. Breaking the patriarchal hegemony rules that are placed upon them, in which a female's point of view is not valid. Dalcher also touches on situations of women having a chance to have a voice and choose to not use them. This can be through cultural domestication or passive naiveness. Dalcher choices a strong and educated woman to be the lead protagonist. Jean is a headstrong linguistic scientist, who was on the verge of making a scientific breakthrough. The storyline follows her struggles of being silenced and having to be subordinate to her husband. The everyday struggles of what happens when someone can not voice how they feel or defend themselves. Not being able to soothe a child, speak of their day or even vent about a problem. Through this process, she realizes how much speaking in any form is vital to how a person views themselves. Jean is a strong and educated woman, but like many women do not participate heavily in politics. She was not blind to what was going on and how the government environment changed for the worse. She chooses to believe that it would never happen., that her voice or actions could not influence in any way. Jackie is her polar opposite, the activist and heads strong political leader. She symbolizes the anti-culture in the book; outspoken, educated and lesbian. She refuses to conform and is the moral compass of Jean. Trying to make her realize that only you can give up your voice. Con: The book is very aggressive in the view of how the 100-word count is implicated. Picking a conservative religious group and leader. Although this is not a new premise, the way it is presented is a little harsh, although I do not know if that is the correct word to use. Maybe a point of view from another side would have made the story feel less one-sided. Jean has an affair with a coworker. Although this relationship has a means to an end for Jean and a closing to the book, I didn’t really like her affair. The plot gave much reason to why she did what she did. Her home life was not a happy one and she felt disjointed from her kids because she could not participate in their lives like the father. Also, she had been stripped of all her merits and hard work. Yet I felt like the affair was a kind of cop-out. Quotes: A lascivious action made tender by the gentleness I have words now, but I have no idea how to use them Memory is a damnable faculty Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

I enjoyed this book but I felt like there was something missing towards the end. I kind of wish the reader was given a little more about how everything went down in the White House, how her husband had pulled off what exactly they had planned to do. It also felt like the ending was somewhat rushed and the reader was left with some questions. It was a pretty good story, though.

As a woman, I feel like I should stick with this one - as a reader and a mother and a woman, I am finding it too emotionally charged and disturbing and am putting it down... Before I take grief for that decision, let me explain something - I am not AT ALL knocking the quality of the writing, the importance of the issues raised, or the need for books that upset their readers. Dalcher is a strong writer; her prose is clear and concise and powerful. Her topic - the very real threat of extremism - is, unfortunately, all too timely and an exceptionally potent one in the current political and social environment. I was viscerally upset reading this from the beginning - my stomach hurt (literally) as I read Jean's thoughts and fears for her daughter, as I imagined living and raising my own daughter in such a world. I was so drawn into this world that I could not help but feel it in my bones. And that's when I put the book down. Call me weak-willed if you like, but I read fiction to be entertained - aching feelings of distress aren't what I sign up for in my fiction, thank you very much... They're a testament to the power of the author's words, and I can recognize the value of the book while still not being able to bring myself to read it. It is possible that I feel too close to the situation of the protagonist and her family at this time in my life, that it feels too possible that we could wind up in this type of ultra-repressive environment, given the current state of the world. I am not calling this one a poor fit for me so much as a book that I cannot read right now. Distance - either due to a culture shift in sexual politics or the aging of my own daughter - may provide the separation I feel like I need to be able to really dig into this one. But for me, for now - it was too difficult a read and I was not able to finish it.

Penned by a theoretical linguist and writing instructor, this highly readable dystopian thriller imagines an America where women are only allowed to speak one hundred words per day after an ultra conservative "Pure Movement" takes control of the government. Using contemporary society as a jumping off point -- much like its thematic and genre predecessors The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984, author Christina Dalcher's Vox serves as a warning not to let our voices be taken for granted. Unabashedly feminist, the book contrasts the novel's Pure Movement with a highly intelligent though admittedly flawed heroine grappling with everything from an extramarital affair to a rebellious teenage son who's joined up with the very men she's quietly doing everything in her power to resist. And fittingly, Vox grows increasingly more complicated as it continues during the book's particularly strong first half. Spending a bit too much time watching two of the book's heroes form a plan when we could've used another twist or two to pay off on peripheral subplots and characters,Vox ultimately loses some of its well-earned momentum by the time the book reaches its predictable yet still satisfying conclusion. Still anchored nonetheless by Dalcher's gripping, high-risk premise, solid world building and well drawn main characters, we keep eagerly turning pages just the same. Sure to transition nicely to TV or film, this natural conversation starter has all the makings of a word-of-mouth hit.

4.5 stars - This was a fascinating novel that I could not put down despite the fact that it was very hard to read at times. It takes places in the extremely near future where the president is under the influence of the Pure movement - in the year since he took office all women are supposed to be at home, are no longer allowed to work and are limited to 100 words a day. All woman and female children have to wear counters that keep track of their words and girls are not even taught to read and write. The main character in the book is Dr. Jean McClellan who is a neurolinguist. She is called on by the president's advisers to work again when his brother suffers a brain trauma and she has the ability to develop the cure. Her husband, Patrick, works in the president's office as well. She makes some awful realizations while doing the work (I don't want to give anything away) and decides to fight back. It was interesting to see how her family dynamic shifted - her 17 year old son starts believing in the Pure movement and her 6 year daughter is proud of the fact when she has the lowest number on her counter in school. This book will definitely appeal to fans of The Handmaid's Tale. It will make you think and realize how easily something like this could happen.

I honestly feel like this book could be better. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book, but I just felt like such a shocking and compelling story line—seriously, women are not allowed to be modern women anymore—something more was needed. The main character, Jean, was fairly unlikeable despite going through unimaginable circumstances. I was put off by the hateful and judgmental stance the author took against Christians, too. However...it was still an interesting book and thought-provoking and I would still recommend it.

This book is phenomenal. The premise of women being limited to 100 words per day feels realistic since Dalcher weaves in the slippery slope of how this occurred. During the "Make America Moral Again" campaign and presidency of an autocrat immediately after the first black presidency (true, not too subtle), rights for women are gradually removed, premarital sex (for women) is criminalized as is abortion, homosexuality for all is criminalized and "work camps" are set up to house these offenders. Dr Jean McClellan is a neurolinguist who never believed such a thing could occur and thus made no effort to try to stop such a thing until it was too late (including not even voting). Now she is trying to figure out how to protect herself and her children and she faces a choice which could be a deal with the devil. Dalcher takes very topical concepts and weaves them into a narrative of what can easily happen if no one steps in to stop it. The book is so chilling because it feels so real, with certain ideas literally ripped from today's headlines. It serves as a warning bell that we will hopefully all attend to. It is also written in a page-turning fashion that I found mesmerizing. I simply could not put this book down. It's just tremendous.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Chemist: In an eerily and completely imaginable America, a puppet president is elected, the Christian far-right takes over, and women are stripped of all rights - including the right to speak. When they need a specialized scientist to work on an important project, they pull Dr. Jean McClellan from her life of silence and repression back into the world she used to know...but she has plans of her own. I really liked the premise of the book, and the first half where Dalcher lays out how the world got to be where it is and shows how Jean's own family has changed was fantastic. However, the second half of the book, when they got to the lab, lost a bit of the suspenseful insidiousness and moved into straight thriller territory, which isn't my cup of tea. I also didn't think the storyline with Lorenzo was necessary (and honestly it made Jean much less likable).

I enjoyed reading this book about a future where women are only allowed 100 words per day. It had an engaging story where you felt that women are being treated as the lessor sex and wanting to see how Jean will turn this around to allow her daughter and every other woman to finally be able to speak out and be an equal to men.

Compelling dystopian tale. The Handmaid's Tale meets 1984 set in the present. Close enough, with enough similarities to our current climate to give, at least the female, readers pause.

So easily it is to assume this book is just a knock off of The Handmaid's Tale. Thankfully it isn't! In Ms. Dalcher's version of a dystopian future women's rights are striped by a conservative "good old fashioned family values" kind of administration. Basically, barefoot, pregnant, and home in the kitchen or garden. No need for women to talk either so they are electronically limited to 100 words per day. I can handle not talking but they aren't allowed to read either! And the girls in school learn home making skills and how to count to 100. In this world resides Dr. Jean (Gianna) McClellan. She was on the verge of solving a brain cognition / speech issue when women were "relieved" of their outside the home duties. The book both details the changes in society based on the new rules and the personal life of Gianna dealing with her family, her loss of a vocation, and her relationships. Definitely an enjoyable thoughtful read!

I have mixed emotions after reading this book. This is probably one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. It took me a couple days of thinking it over before I could figure out what I needed to say....and then the right words to say it. I wanted so badly to enjoy and really "feel'' this story. But it really didn't work for me. On the one hand, as a woman, I totally understand what it's trying to say. But, on the other hand, I didn't enjoy the way it went about it. As a reviewer, I have to be honest. I really never felt plugged into the plot. I'm a strong enough woman to go against the flow and say I really didn't like this book. I almost DNF'd it....but I felt it was important that I stuck with it until the end. Vox is set in a future America where women have lost the right to speak, to be educated, and even to write. The female main character, Jean McClellan, was a neurologist before a ultra conservative right wing government took all women out of the workforce, sending them home to be almost completely silent homemakers. She can no longer be a doctor. She can no longer write poetry. She can't even have a passport. And any woman, even children, who speak more than the 100 word limit in a day receive a very painful electric shock. Women have effectively been silenced. This is an intriguing premise, and I jumped right on the chance to read an ARC of this book. But, in places, the plot and characterizations just fell a bit flat for me. The situation is painted so bleak and dark and inescapable that at times it came off as a bit too melodramatic or over-the-top -- not really believable. I could see women being banned from public office, important positions such as doctors and lawyers and maybe even being restricted from attending college. But, a world where women aren't allowed to read books, write down words or speak above a word limit just seemed silly to me. Is the story making an important statement? Yes. But, I'm going to be honest and say that while the premise is excellent....the execution of it could be better. There is truth in the fact that it is possible for a group of people to be singled out, victimized, mistreated and even killed by an out of control goverment and populus. Look at what Germany did to Jews during World War II. Millions murdered, tortured, starved to death....for utterly ridiculous reasons based on pseudoscience and racist BS. So, it can happen. And has happened. Still happens. But, the idea of women being forced to wear word counter bracelets and being shocked for speaking, books being locked up in cabinets so women can't read and females being restricted from most areas of the work force just seems a bit of an overkill. An honest review means an honest review....the plot came off as a bit forced and melodramatic to me several times as I was reading. BUT, after I say that, I do have to add that it also made me angry and caused me to really think about instances from my own life where I felt silenced or powerless because I'm a woman. I was brutalized and raped by a man who felt belittled by my intelligence and success. And he made it out to be my fault. I "made him do it.'' Really?? As a child I was told by an adult close to me that I was "nothing, and was never going to be anything.'' Really?? And when I was struggling to raise my son alone after a divorce and asked my employer for a raise, his response was "Don't you get child support?'' Really? Would a man have been treated that way? I deserved that raise! Or the time I was offered an envelope filled with cash by a married man if I would agree to have sex with him. Really? So, believe me....I "get'' it. I've lived it. I just didn't totally buy the version in this book. This story is definitely thought provoking. And it definitely had an impact on me. But I really wish I had liked it more than I did. **I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book Berkley via FirstToRead. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

The first book that ever really scared me was The Handmaid's Tale and there are some clear parallels between that book and this one. Vox is an excellent book that provides some thrills, while also warning us of how easily we slip into complacency.

This book has such an interesting premise—a near future world where women are limited to 100 words a day with "traditional" gender roles strictly enforced. If you enjoy dystopian, feminist books, this could be a good fit. This book, though fiction, is an interesting study in how the rights we take for granted can be stripped away. There are pieces that are little far-fetched, but I think that’s true for most dystopian fiction. It’s not a perfect book; there are some characters who aren’t fully fleshed out and some storylines that could have been more fully developed. It is still a solid and engaging read. This book is undoubtedly political (with clear links to the current political environment), and this could alienate some readers.

“The average person speaks 16,000 words per day. But what if women were limited to just 100?” and it's not in Iran, or Arab countries, but in the US itself. That's the 5 Stars premise of “Vox” --------------- But now I wish to limit some authors to just 100 pages per novel.. May be it's just me, but really felt the 325 pages novel annoyingly too long.. -------------- The idea is really great, but the writing style with overuse of unnecessary medical details, unbelievable coincidences, some flat characters or the lack of feeling them, presenting the Adultery as if it's fine for the main 'mother'... and God, the ending.. And the too much of line and scenes that ends with (expect that didn't happen) or something like this..well, expect it may be just me.. That really made me disappointed.. The story has its scary moment of how men may behave about that, even the closest ones like sons.. even how some women can be so obeying... how dangerous it can be on new generation of girls and women.. Well, I needed this story, this strong crazy serious idea and plot to be in a story that much stronger and faster. 100 and more Thanks for the Author and Penguin's First to Read program for the advanced read. ---------- (Mohammed Arabey)

You're walking down the stairs and you miss a step. That lurching, that sudden shot of fear that rushes through your mind? That's what you'll feel while reading this book. You'll follow Jean through every turn that a spiraling political nightmare can throw at you and you'll wonder if this could really happen. Uncertainty woven with eerie plot line makes this book seem too close to reality at times and it will drive you towards finding out what happens to Jean, her family, and the rest of the resistance at the end of the book...

Wow! This book is great and scary. It could easily become a reality. It shows you just how easy it is for things to take a turn. We have already experienced this in real life. You think something is so stupid it could never really happen, and then it does. Unfortunately, it isn't that far fetched. All it takes is for the right, but wrong things, to fall into place. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. The rights of women are under attack, in the real world and this story, and it gets worse before it can even think of getting better. This book speaks on art reflecting life reflecting art. This story tells you to keep your eyes and ears open, to pay attention to what happens in the world. Don't just think that something couldn't happen. It can happen before you know it.

I was immediately drawn into this book when I started reading. It was difficult to think about having to learn to limit the amount of words I use and how this would affect the world. We are more accepting as a society of any number of things, however political correctness is at an all time high with people being offended at the drop of a hat. I could not put this book down and had it read within a few hours. I thought this was extremely interesting. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read.

This book, as it sounds, is reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale - however, this is a book where characters are given a little more space to take action. Jean is a compelling, well-rounded character, with flaws and virtues, who has a powerful narrative voice. The story is bitter and riles you up in part because it feels so plausible at this moment in our country's history. I read this book within 24 hours - it was gripping and compelling, and I highly recommend it.

liked this book because it is one of those stories where I want to punch several characters. This is a book where you will like it or not due to the subject matter. In the American of the near future Christian Extremism has take over and women have no rights. Imagine Aljazeera saying America is now the extremists and we have no international allies. Women are even controlled by the number of words they can say in a day, 100 unless you are in a camp (really a prison) then it is zero. Imagine staying at home, cooking, cleaning, having children. But there are no locks on doors (except your husband's spaces), no internet, no books, no mail, no pens and paper, and only state sponsored television. This is world that Jean McClellan, a former Neuroscientist working on aphasia, has found herself in in just one year. But the Government is even scarier than what the public knows.

Dystopian novels are not what I am normally drawn to in my reading life, but considering our current political climate I was drawn to the plot of VOX immediately. The idea that women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day fascinated me considering that my girlfriends and I speak 100 words in our first five minutes whenever we're together. The entire U.S. government seems to be taken over by something called the Pure Movement, created by a man named Reverand Carl who, along with the President and his entire cabinet, are taking the woman of this country back to the dark ages where they are allowed to do nothing more than cook, sew, grocery shop, and take care of their families. Not only are women not allowed to speak more than 100 words a day, they aren't allowed to work outside of the home or hold a political office. Boys and girls are forced to attend different schools, the LGBTQ community sent to conversion camps, and anyone who is found impure is publically shamed and sent to hard labor camps. Through the story the main character, Dr. Jean McClellan finds herself joining a small resistance, uncovering Reverand Carls' much bigger plan to silence the entire country, not just the women. The more she uncovers, the more she realizes that she will do anything to stop it from happening. VOX is a quick read because you are so excited to see where the story is headed. There were points in the story where I would have liked more details, more background, and explanation of the events. This, however, did not keep the story from flowing, nor did it make the plot confusing. Fans of dystopian novels will love this book. It is a fast-paced read that would be perfect for book clubs and talking over - much more than 100 words - between you and your fellow book-loving friends.

Set slightly in the future and in a USA that has more or less silenced all women, Vox follows a female scientist as she awakens to the fact that she cannot stand by and do nothing any longer. The book is well written and the characters are engaging and believable. The storyline and political situation is very prescient and, though here the target is women, in the current climate, you feel like this targeting of a group of people could apply to any non white males. I can completely understand the comparisons with the Handmaid's Tale, but the message that this book really leaves with you is the importance of fighting against what we know to be wrong and not allowing apathy to take away our voices.

A harrowing tale. When I first started this book, I could only read it in small chunks because the entire concept freaked me out. In this day and age in America, the dystopic future presented here seems all too possible. As I continued, I was entranced by this unique take on a potential future. Jean is an incredibly interesting main character, and I greatly enjoyed following her journey. I highly recommend this book, and can't wait for publication to pass it on to all of my friends!

An alternative universe where women can’t talk and have no autonomy, is the way I would describe Vox by Christina Dalcher. In a world where women have no roll outside the home and are limited in their speech, one woman, Dr. Jean McClellan has the key to return everything to normal. A way to free women from their servitude and right all wrongs. Highly recommended for science fiction fans. Reviewed with permission from Firsttoread.com Laura Schutzman Queens, NY

Vox is set in a dystopian America in which half the population- women- have been silenced. Well, not entirely- they do have 100 words available each day before the bracelet they have each been fitted with reaches 100 and shocks them with increasing strength for going over their allotment. Jean McClellan, a renowned scientist, has been restricted to the duties of an obedient housewife. A role her husband accepts without much comment and her oldest son relishes as he fully buys in to the new way of doing things. When the president calls on Jean and her knowledge, she faces a tough decision as helping him could keep women silenced, but could also free her and her daughter if only temporarily. I liked the storyline of this book overall. I thought it was an interesting concept- perhaps a bit of a reimagining of The Handmaid's Tale- or a prediction of what our current political climate may invoke if extremists were to come to power. Things felt a little convoluted at times- perhaps too many subplots to keep moving along with the main thread. And the ending seemed rushed- as if Dalcher was trying to tie up all the loose ends in 10 pages or less. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian tales- especially those that seem possible.

I am a pretty passive reader -that is to say I don’t normally let what I’m reading affect me outside of the reading moment. I’m not one to have a need to discuss or share about the books I’m reading while I’m reading them. I’m usually a book internalizer I guess. Such was not the case with this book. It needed discussion. Loads of it. Cause I was mad, SO MAD! And my dear husband got to be the listener to my ranting -he did listen very well I might add. It’s a good thing I wasn’t limited to 100 hundred words a day like Jean was, because reading this book would have cause my death by electrocution. But then if I was Jean, I wouldn’t have been reading this book or any others, which made me mad too! Perhaps more so than being limited to 100 words. As angry as this story made me, it also made me think ALOT. That was the best part for me, and that I will be thinking about this story for a very long time. It’s definitely the best book I’ve read so far this year. I highly recommend this one to lovers of dystopian fiction. If you love well written characters, books that make you crazy and original concepts, I think you’ll love this one as much as I did. It was fabulous.

One of the most amazing reads. Loved the writing style and the plot of the story.

Wow! This book is clearly based on the excesses of the current administration and what the author perceives might come with a Pence presidency, or worse. Clearly speculative fiction, it is gripping and scary...I don't think our country will come to this, but there are many who would like it to. Excellent book, well worth reading.

Loved this story. It takes off from the first page with Jean as a wonderful, well-rounded character. In fact I liked all of them and how the family was depicted. What they went through as a family before and after the 'counters'. There were some later twists in the story I loved as well. The author took a dystopian, feminist thriller and made it a real page turner and very relevant. Would love to see this as a movie, TV drama.

Vox was a very thought-provoking book. While it does seem possible to get to a male-dominated government state, it felt the story could have used more detail about how they ended up with the word counters and female oppression. For such a hot topic, the characters lacked enough emotion about their situation. While Jean was clearly frustrated with it, it felt a little light on the anger and hate. As with all historical oppression issues in the US, there have been large underground groups fighting to end the situation and work towards equality (slavery, women's right to vote, etc). I would have expected to see a larger group of allies working together. Even with Jean and Patrick, Jean thought he was just going along with it. Sharing that they were on the same side would have helped their relationship. That being said, I did enjoy how thought-provoking this book was and the short chapters made it easy to read.

Set in a vaguely familiar America, Dr. Jean McClellan is still in shock that her voice - and the voice of every female in the country - has been taken. "Bracelets" have been placed on all females as a word counter, allowing them a strict limit of 100 words spoken in 24 hours. Jean knows first hand the punishment she'll receive if she's bold enough to test the device. Women can no longer work, use contraception, read, write, or have their own money. Government punishes women for premarital and extramarital sex. As a former doctor who studied aphasia, she's called in by the very government that has taken everything from her to continue research under the guise of saving the life of the president's brother after an accident. Jean strikes a deal: her word counter - and her six year old daughter's - will be removed until her research is completed. A quick read filled with all the key dystopian points we've come to know through the works of Orwell and Atwood, Vox will keep your attention long after the final page. There were a few too many convenient coincidences in the plot for me but overall I enjoyed it! Thanks to Penguin Random House for a digital ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

Vox is one of the many dystopian novels that have come out recently that depict worlds in which women are punished or silenced. The difference between Vox, A Handmaid's Tale, and other books like it is that at times Vox seems nearly possible. While the ability to limit literal words spoken is seemingly unrealistic, Dalcher sprinkles in other details, like the confiscation of passports, that could easily be things that members of the right could enact. Vox is a quick and engrossing read and one that I expect to show up on many summer book lists.

A timely and relevant novel I could not put down. This is dystopian done in such a terrifying way, because it feels plausible. Vox is the story of one woman and her family’s life after women have lost their rights. Women are only allowed 100 words per day and under an oppressing movement disguised as religion, women are trying to navigate this new world. I don’t want to give too much away but this is a must read.

“Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.” That, right there, is why I requested this book. Honestly, it’s a terrifying prospect, and one that feels plausible in the current climate where before I would have written it off as about as likely as The Hunger Games – which also don’t feel as unrealistic anymore, either. Perhaps I’m being alarmist, or exaggerating the possible threat. At times I want to think that, but I see how easily some people have destroyed the basic human rights of others, seemingly overnight. Vox is a terrifyingly plausible dystopia, and yet, a little unrealistic. I went into with few pre-conceived notions or expectations beyond the basic of wanting to see how on earth they could have forced women in the United States to speak less than 100 words per day. How could they do this in a place where women outnumber men 161 million to 156.1 million? And it’s explained. Kind of. Not enough to make this a 5-star read, but enough to make me think that the author vaguely thought about it. The logic that allowed this to happen in our near future is that the Bible Belt of the south expanded, becoming a corset. The only places that resisted the change were the liberal-heavy centers of D.C., the Pacific Northwest, California, and a couple of others. The problem I see with this chain of events is the power and populations that are in those liberal areas of the country and the level of resistance I’m seeing in them currently; however the scary reality is that when you pare it down, the center states could effect change on a nationwide level. My issue is that I still am a little bit in denial of this ever being able to happen, and the author didn’t convince me that it could. Once I set that aside though, I did speed through this story. It’s a quick read that takes place in an extremely truncated timeline. The word-limit was only implemented about a year ago. So women like Jean are still getting used to it, we haven’t really begun to see the long-term effects on children, especially young girls. Because I couldn’t see how this had happened, it made swallowing the fact that women didn’t have the right to choose, gay relationships were effectively banned, birth-control was non-existent…Many of women’s worst fears. But I had a hard time understanding how we’d really gotten to this point. Though I do give the author full points for including a lot of thought into the diversity and the differences in rights presented therein. I appreciated that Jean recognized she lived in a safe bubble, in part because she was a white woman, and she was quickly getting her bubble burst. But she still wasn’t nearly as affected as others who had no safe-bubble in the first place, and how she came to recognize that. Jean is an interesting narrator. She’s a neuro-linguistic scientist, studying how to enable repair of the speech centers of the brain after traumatic injury. Because of the word limit for women, we spend a good deal of time in Jean’s head. A place where she not only informs the reader of what is happening, but what she sometimes believes, or wishes, is happening. It’s a variant of an unreliable narrator, except where you’re never quite sure what the truth is, Jean herself tells you very soon after the imagined scenario. I quite liked that about her. Because I often think in the same way, of possibilities, best- and worst-case scenarios. She’s also a mother, of three boys and one little girl. She’s far from perfect. I actually loved that, though I can understand that some may not. She doesn’t make excuses for herself, and you’re presented with a unvarnished truth of her. I appreciated that she acknowledges that part of the reason this happened is because she didn’t get active when things were less dire, she didn’t even vote. And she is experiencing the consequences of those lack of actions on her, and thousands of others’, parts. There were lots of things that made me uncomfortable in this book, and they were meant to. Women unable to say ‘no’ to their husbands because they’d reached their word limit. Yes, she could have made him know in another way, but she didn’t feel like it was worth doing – so they had sex, not because she wanted to, but because he did. Girl children unable to cry out and scream or vent when they’re terrified or being harmed. Women left with no choices. The other thing that I really loved here is that it seems the author has either some good authority on the medical and sociological impacts of this kind of change, or has done a hell of a lot of research. I spent a good amount of time thinking about the implications of such a change in our society. What would it do to young children to be raised by women who couldn’t speak? How would it affect their brain development? Their social interactions? The truth is that it would affect them greatly. And while the government (or villains) in this story didn’t think of that, the author did and it’s considered and used in the story. I appreciated that. I appreciated the level of thought that went into the ‘what if’ questions. I think some readers may find it too heavy-handed with the medical and research related jargon, but I can’t say it is. There’s just enough there to make it feel real without me getting bogged down – and that’s what I want from my books. Ah, and I just looked and Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics. Now I know why it all feels so real. I’m a huge fan of that part of it. What felt a little less likely was how there were so many characters that showed themselves to be allies at just the perfect moment. I’m not entirely sure if it’s because of that or not, but I never felt the urgency in any of the characters. They continued on their paths, without really letting us in on the plans for reshaping the country. It made me feel like an outsider, despite being deeply entrenched in Jean’s head. Because of that I felt less anxiety or tension due to the climax of the story. The ending ties up a little too neatly. Jean has many revelations about herself throughout the story, but I’m left feeling a little unsure if she’s actually changed because of her experiences. Or just escaped. I can’t say I blame her if she has simply escaped, but it felt a little too ambiguous for me. Vox ended up being an quick, provocative read that made me think more than once. The only thing that could have made this better for me is more of how they got to that point, and more drama/suspense/action with the resolution.

I have given Vox 4 out of 5 stars. I liked the fact that the chapters were short, which made for a nice read when I had a few minutes to spare. Some people have stated that we don't get to know the caracters, and although it is true that we don't get to know the hobbies and interests of the characters like we would in other novels this is because those things have been taken away by the goverment. The goverment forbids women to speak more that 100 words a day and they can't work. So there isn't a lot of time to chit chat. I thought the religious extremism of the goverment was kinda scary, because it resembles the ideas of some people living in the US right now. I overal enjoyed reading Vox :).

If you're a fan of dystopian literature such as a Handmaid's Tale or 1984 do yourself a favor and skip this novel. While the premise is interesting, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The author uses the same descriptions for characters over and over again as if she doesn't trust the reader to understand the very two dimensional characters. As one who appreciates flawed protagonists, the "heroine" of the story is essentially a bystander to the plot. Perhaps the story is meant for a YA audience, in which case it's a decent read, but other wise, it's not worth the time.

I don't read much fiction in the genre but the premise of this book sounded very intriguing so I thought I would give it a try and I sure am glad that I did. This book kept my interest from beginning to the last page. If I had read it twenty years ago, I'd have thought that there was no way this could happen in real life, now I'm not too sure. Imagine a country where women aren't allowed to work or hold public office, aren't allowed to have computers or to make any decisions about their lives. Imagine a world where girls and boys go to separate school - the boys learn all of the academic subjects and the girls learn how to sew and cook. Worst of all, imagine a world where women are only allowed to speak 100 words every day, the words counted on a bracelet that they wear on their arms that will administer a strong shock if they go over 100 words in 24 hours. Where is this unbelievable country? In the new novel VOX - it's right here in the USA. I loved this book and the way that the main character, Jean, handles her life and the lives of her family members after she is silenced as she struggles to stay within the new rules. The book goes back and forth in time from what life was like before this and how things gradually changed to what is going on in Jean's present day. Be prepared to be angry while reading this book but read it until the last page - it's a story that you don't want to miss. This is an excellent debut novel from this author and I look forward to her future books. Thanks to First to Read for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Vox was a really interesting and thought-provoking book. Very hard to put down and it really kept you wanting to find out more. A dystopian novel that owes a lot to The Handmaid's Tale as well as 1984. It really was hard to put down. The concept of women being literally silenced in so many ways was very well executed, as well as the terror of not knowing who to trust. And when you think the government is evil, you stumble with Jean onto an even more diabolical plan. Jean isn't the most sympathetic or consistent character, but the story is strong. The ending did feel a bit rushed, as other reviewers have noted, and there are a lot of lucky breaks that seem unrealistic in such a brutal and ruthlessly efficient state. This would be a great book for reading groups. I would definitely read more from Christina Dalcher. Highly recommended.

Set in a different America of the future, women are only allowed to speak freely but have their words monitored. Patriarchal society has returned with men holding more power and privilege. But things soon take a turn and America's most powerful men needs a woman of many words. Will the woman in question be willing to help, and more importantly is she able. Excellent book, could NOT put it down

Set in a dystopian future, Vox tells the story of a Pure Movement. A story of oppression, of women, of any age, being limited to 100 words a day. No miming words and no reading, books are locked up. Women can't work, they can't even check their own mail. The men are back to being the head of household, "the way God intended." Because now, religion overrules anything else in the country. Where people are scared of their neighbors, that someone might catch them doing something they aren't supposed to, and tell. Jean is scared for her daughter's future. She's scared to see the system changing her eldest son, he's no longer the sweet boy she raised, he's buying right into their propaganda and soon her other children will follow suit. When she gets the chance to go back to work, if only to help cure the President's brother, she jumps at the opportunity. With conditions. Conditions that they take off her bracelet, the one keeping track of her word count, and her daughters' too. Jean she sees her daughter scared to talk, she sees the rules getting stronger and she wants change. This job might just be the opportunity she's been seeking to start exacting it. Dalcher has done a superb job in creating a future that makes you angry with the system, at the injustice, at the decades of change that are ripped from the hands of Americans. Vox is an extremely well-written dystopian novel, reminiscent of 1984, but much more extreme. It's engaging and well thought out with a creative storyline. It's a must-read for fans of dystopian thrillers that will be sure to stir many engaging conversations.

It's been a while since I've read a good dystopian novel, especially a standalone. Vox was a nice surprise. I won't lie: this book made me angry. I was fuming throughout as I learned more about the completely believable word the characters live in. Male dominated government? Yep. Right-wing religious extremists taking over? Definite yep. Men who are sick of hearing women think? Absolutely. So, it wasn't too much of a leap to believe that men figured out a way to shut women up. And that made me angry. So angry. As in I could feel my blood pressure rising. That kind of angry. Following Jean and hoping she could find a way out of the mess that Future Us got her into was thrilling and I loved every minute of her journey. She's a flawed character that doesn't make the same choices I would, but she's strong. She's strong, and brave, and she never gives up. I'd like to think I'd do the same if it came down to it, but wouldn't we all? When we learn that she didn't think she needed to protest before something happened, I saw myself in her. I saw all of us in her. It's much easier to hope that our institutions will stay the same, that they will protect us from tyranny and oppression, than it is to take action to prevent their collapse. This was an excellent read from start to finish and I'll be recommending it to friends.

At first this book was slow to get into since the plot was a mix of 1984 and A Handmaid's Tale, taken down the dystopian rabbit hole. The main character Dr. Jean McClellan and the other women of the U.S are relegated to 100 words per day and banned from their jobs, internet and other forms of communication. They are monitored by cameras and a bracelet that delivers shocks when the exceed the 100 word limit. The President guided by a popular Evangelist inspire the Pure Movement, which leads to the total dissolution of women's rights. Some of the scenarios were pretty far out, but a scary warning for apathy and acquiescence. The action revved up and the climax was exciting and satisfying. Recommend.

I absolutely loved this book. It was well written and an easy read. I'll add in just a tiny bit scary as the things mentioned in the story could possibly come true to some extent. I do feel the ending was a bit rushed but overall I would recommend this book.

When the government implements the "Purest Movement" women's rights are quickly restricted in ways that Dr. Jean McClellan could never have imagined. Women are quickly removed from all positions except homemaker. The government implements a new law allotting women a limited 100 words per day to communicate. Women are fitted with word counters on their wrists which deliver a cumulative electrical shock if the word count is exceeded. Books, writing utensils, mail, and internet are prohibited as well as all forms of nonverbal communication. Cameras are installed in homes to monitor and enforce the law and punishment for noncompliance is severe. Jean, a wife and mother of four, struggles to accept her new role in society and the future it holds for her daughter Sonia. As her family is slowly torn apart by opposing views, Jean must decide to stay in her bubble or find her voice and fight back. Wow! This novel exceeded by expectations and I could not put it down. I devoured this one in an afternoon but it is going to have me thinking about for a while. The author did a fantastic job thinking of all of the little details that really tie this novel together beautifully. This is definitely a top read for me for 2018 and would be a great book to implement into a group read where details could be discussed in more detail. I will definitely be adding this to my personal library to enjoy over and over again.

 


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