Vox by Christina Dalcher


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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"[An] electrifying debut."--O, The Oprah Magazine *
"The real-life parallels will make you shiver."--Cosmopolitan

Set in a United States in which 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 one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

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

This is just the beginning...not the end.

One of Good Morning America's "Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer"
One of PopSugar, Refinery29, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Real Simple, i09, and Amazon's Best Books to Read in August 2018

Advance Galley Reviews

In the vein of all the other feminist dystopians coming out riding on The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation’s popularity, this book imagines a US in which females are given word counters and are limited to 100 words a day before risking an electric shock. I loved how the author detailed the slice of life bits of this traumatic world, but the crazy plot kept this from a 5-star for me.

It's not a coincidence that Dalcher's novel is written today and not a coincidence that the setting is the US. I love how contemporary authors use the backdrop of today's sociopolitical sphere to make even our entertainment work to make us think. I'm bringing this one to my book club.

5 stars... This is one of those books that will make you see the world in a new light. Scary to think our world could ever come to this at some point. A must read if you're in the mood for a thought provoking dystopian/post-apoc.

I loved this book! Imagine if all women slowly had their rights eroded and could only speak 100 words a day. Jean watches as her husband and boys are able to laugh and talk and be normal, but she and her daughter are only permitted those 100 words. Really powerful story about how easily our rights can be eroded. A Handmaid's Tale for a new era. I would highly recommend this story about a woman who decides to fight back for herself and her daughter.

I received a free advanced copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. It is scary to imagine a world where I couldn't freely read, write, and talk. This book very much reminded me of the show, A Handmaid's Tale. I should really read that book next. Vox grabbed my attention and I didn't want to put this book down.

4 stars Thanks to Penguin's First to Read and Berkely Books for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Publishes August 21, 2018. Now this is my type of science fiction. There were no aliens, no grotesque monsters, other world planets or space travel. Just a super unnatural futuristic twist on every day life. What can happen in the years to come? What happens when you ignore what is happening? When you refuse to become involved? When you don't add your voice and ideas and you just take things as they come? This is the science fiction that gets in your mind and sits there and brews, and bubbles, and makes you wonder ... is this possible? Unrealistic, maybe. Possible, maybe. Thanks to the wrong people being in power, there is a divide between men and women, male and female. Striving to put the men of the family back in power, all females are required to wear a wrist band. This band counts the words that are spoken. The total amount allotted is 100 words a day. If you go over your allotment you receive a shock - a shock that gets stronger the longer you speak, with all additional words spoken. Women who worked outside the home are now not allowed to do that - they must be homemakers. Men have no such restrictions. Men are being put back in power to run their families, to run their cities, to run the United States. There is security and cameras everywhere. It is called the Pure Movement. Jean McClellan was a scientist. Married to Patrick with four children. She was angry, as most women were. She wanted better for her daughter, better for herself. Then the call came that changed everything. The men in power wanted her back in her lab, at any cost. So what happens when we do not get involved? How difficult can our world become, the world of the ones we love? Do we go along to get along, or are we caving in to a power that we might not want? Unrealistic, maybe. Possible....

Vox was definitely a thrilling read. It was hard to take in at times because imagining a reality where women were limited to talk was unsettling. The plot line kept you engaged to figure out how one would resist the 100 word rule. The characters were at time enticing but had point of lackluster performance. Overall it was a 3/5 for me.

Sometimes I do judge a book by the cover and in this case it did not disappoint! I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys Margaret Atwood or The Power.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read and can barely recall a time when I didn’t write. Words are a vital part of my life, which is why I found Christina Dalcher’s “Vox” so chilling. Set in a future so near it could be now, “Vox” imagines an America in the hands of a fundamentalist government based on the Pure Movement, led by a President, but with fanatical Reverend Carl at the helm. According to the Pure Movement, a woman’s place is in the home. Women can no longer hold jobs, money or property. Even worse, they can’t read or write, and can only speak 100 words per day or risk electric shocks from government-fitted bracelets. At the heart of Dalcher’s story is Dr. Jean McClellan, a scientist dedicated to cognitive linguistics – at least she was, when women could still participate in life outside the home. As McClellen struggles with the new world disorder, she is joined by her husband, Patrick, who is not exactly a sympathizer, but is a government employee. She attempts to navigate the system, concerned for her young daughter, her twin boys, and her oldest son (who is a fervent supporter of the pure movement). When the president’s brother suffers a brain injury in a skiing accident, McClellan’s scientific skills are once again called into service. Back in the lab, the doctor’s research is colored by a need to rebel against the oppressive regime, as well as a rekindled romance with her colleague, Lorenzo. A worthy descendant of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Vox” encourages us to delve into a reality that should be completely unreal, but is not so far-fetched at all. Part cautionary tale, part family drama, part thriller, “Vox” wraps up a bit too quickly, but offers a gripping view of a world where rights are ripped away and the risks people will take to win them back.

The book cover of Vox thrusts its subject right in our faces. We see the word, Vox, Latin for voice, in big, bright red, with the X acting as a muzzle on the mouth of the woman. A Thou Shalt Not Speak. I was very intrigued by the premise of this book, which takes us into a dystopian America, where the next president to occupy the White House, the one after the first Black President, is hellbent on taking America into the previous century. In this dystopian scenario, few people have rights. Not women. Nor gays. Only the males do, particularly white males. American women are allowed to speak no more than 100 words over a 24-hour period. A pitiful reduction from the average 16000 words that we speak on an average. Women are made to wear a wrist counter which monitors their word usage. Women who exceed their quota suffer a painful electrical shock, which increases in intensity with each additional word that is spoken. Very quickly, the author creates a sense of disquiet, hinting at worse to come. Women don’t have a voice. No access to books or pens or any writing material. No reading. No email accounts. No passports. Women no longer hold jobs. The male is the head of the family and the bread winner, a fact that strains family budgets and relationships alike. The women must worship at the shrine of male supremacy and their own domesticity. The premise of the book, written in the first person past tense account of Jean, intrigued me. In today’s scenario, we are all dangerously close to dystopia, with the state using its collective military and political might to stifle public opinion and human rights. There isn’t much of philosophical rumination, and yet I found myself thinking about several things. About how a maniac with power could destroy everything. About the rights we take for granted. About the judgement and shaming of moral behaviour. About the right to speech. Not just the right to have an opinion, but the right to even speak. About the fear of hearing your own children believe and deify something that defies and abuses your deepest beliefs. About the sin of being apolitical, and consequently being swooped into a world where your refusal to make choices dooms you. The chapters were short, and the action moved swiftly. The information regarding neurolinguistics didn’t come across as too overwhelming or excessive. It was seamlessly woven through and toned down appropriately for a lay audience. The characters were all well fleshed out, except for Jean’s twin sons. They received so little space that one scarcely got a chance to get to know them at all. The women of this book however have all thrived under the benevolent gaze of the author. They are all strong and feisty, defiantly so in a book in which the establishment goes all out to muffle their voices. Not just Jean, Lin, Jackie, Jean’s old college friend who eschewed comfortable campus life for a life of struggle and activism, and even Olivia, Jean’s neighbor, who once totally accepted the doctrine of Purity, but subsequently defies the establishment when her daughter is arrested and shown no mercy. All these women show that they are the kinds to make things happen. I felt a sense of sharp pain and sadness at the plight of Olivia. Her total acceptance of the new doctrine saves neither her nor her daughter. My only grouse was that the last few chapters were rushed. I wasn’t too clear about what was going on. The fact that our first person heroine isn’t present at the scene and she comes to know of what happened later makes for a discordant awareness on our part. Also, the fact that Jean is so blasé about the fact that she is pregnant was odd. If she was at all affected, it was only with the thought that she might be punished for her decision. She doesn’t seem to think about how her pregnancy would be viewed by her husband. The whole romance didn’t strike me as being so raw and passionate as Jean seemed to think it was. These two issues spoiled the book for me, and I wish the author had taken care of them. Other than these, I’d certainly recommend the book for the issues it forces you to think of. Read Full & Detailed Review at https://cynthology.blogspot.com/2018/07/book-review-vox.html

Given the intriguing premise, I really wanted to read this book. Unfortunately, I was never able to get the digital galley to load properly on any of my devices. I contacted the support department twice and was told that a solution was being worked on, but the problem was never solved for me. This is the third time that I have had difficulty with a galley that I have gained access to and thus will no longer be participating in this program. I understand that it is a privilege to be able to read these books in advance, but the support team's lack of communication makes for a very frustrating experience at times.

This was an interesting take on the Handmaid's Tale-esque dystopian novel, though the end felt a little too neat. Part of the appeal of dystopian novels is that not everything works out in the end and, without going into too many spoilers, I don't think the ending quite aligned with the world the author built up until that point.

Vox is a timely dystopian novel that fans of The Handmaid’s Tale will definitely enjoy. While the premise might once have seemed unthinkable, in the current political climate, it’s not so far fetched anymore. It’s entertaining and thought-provoking and I highly recommend it.

The synopsis grabbed my attention and I couldn’t wait to see how the author developed this dystopian world. The evolution of the 100 word limit was gradually revealed through Jean’s memories. For me, that was the most fascinating thing about this book, seeing how subtle the changes were that eventually led to such a drastic outcome. It was also really scary because some version of that could happen. I was also fascinated and horrified at the changes that occurred within Jean’s own family, especially with her oldest son and her only daughter. For me, the best part of the book was seeing the progression of events over a relatively short period of time and how it resulted in the 100 word limit. I did feel that some parts of the book were rushed, especially the ending. This book doesn’t have a stereotypical happy ending, but I didn’t expect it to have one considering the subject matter. I wish there was an epilogue, so that I could find out whether or not there were any significant changes in the government and society as a result of the actions of Jean and some of the other characters. Overall, I enjoyed this book, even though it was disturbing to see how such a horrifying outcome (e.g., the 100 word limit) happened so subtly and quickly. For me, it was a thought provoking read.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is set in a not-so-distance future in which females, no matter the age, are required to wear bracelets that count the number of words they use in a day. These bracelets are called counters and females are allocated 100 words per day. Should they go over that amount, they will receive a light shock to their wrist. The more words they use over the set amount the stronger the shock, to where their wrist can receive a burn from the high voltage shocks received. Jobs have also been taken away from women unless you work in a grocery store. Women who held high powered jobs such as judges, governors, doctors and such, are removed from their job completely or replaced by men. Society, as a whole, is being watched by Big Brother. The supermarkets have cameras everywhere, especially in the produce section where groups of women are known to talk. Cameras are placed on front porches of houses. Neighbors spy on other neighbors and turn each other in for any infraction committed based on the laws of the land. Men are given complete freedom to hold any office they wish and they literally rule the household. They are not allocated a certain number of words a day. Laptops, magazines, and even games are locked away by the husband of the families and only the husbands have the key. The males of the family, regardless of age, rule over the females, including their mothers. This is not Gilead, but rather, The Pure Movement. OPPORTUNITY COMES AT A COST Dr. Jean McClellan was once a top-notch neuroscientist. With the new establishment, she has been removed from her job and relocated to being a housewife, a job she does not enjoy and finds mundane. Her husband holds a high ranking position within the government. Her five-year-old daughter, Sonia, wears the counter, but her three sons, Steven, 15, and twins Sam and Leo, both age 11, don't wear the counter. Jean, at times, has to take orders from her 15-year-old son, for this is how society is now. It's not long before Jean is approached by those that work for the President to find a cure for the President's brother who suffers from a brain disease. Jean is given immunity from wearing the counter while working on the project. But is required to put it back on once the project is complete. The only caveat to this is the number of words her and her daughter are allocated will be increased from 100 a day to 200 a day. But is this enough for Jean to go back doing what she loves, even if it's temporary? THE HANDMAID'S TALE COMPARISON When I began reading the book I liked it a great deal until I noticed a lot of similarities to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Vox introduces us to Jean's friend Jackie who has been a rebel her whole life. In The Handmaid's Tale, Offred (formerly June before Gilead) has a friend named Moria, who is also a rebel. While society was changing from a free state to an authoritarian state in Vox, Jackie protested all the time. In Handmaid's Moira protested the same changes. In Vox when a female, even some males, is caught doing something against the new rules, she is dressed in a grey colored dress and placed on a stage in front of a live audience as well as a televised audience in which everyone is told of her crime. Then she is sent off to a colony to work the rest of her life. The same thing is done in The Handmaid's Tale. In Vox, there are no Marthas and no Handmaids. However, the women can be compared to those like Serena Joy, in which their husbands now hold high ranking government offices and control what goes on in the house. However, in the McClellan household, Jean's husband Patrick is anti-establishment but is too weak to do anything about it. In essence, he has it too good right now, so why buck the system. FINAL THOUGHTS As mentioned, I really liked the book until I felt like I was reading someone else's version of Handmaid's Tale minus the handmaids and Marthas. However, I still found the book enjoyable, scary and worth reading. As someone who is a big fan of dystopia books, such as The Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World (Huxley), 1984 (Orwell) and Oryx and Crake (also by Atwood) to name a few, I rank this up there as one of my favorites, but not one I would read again. If you've read The Handmaid's Tale before beware of the similarities. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.

Vox tells a story that I would like to say has its roots planted deeply in the fiction genre. I would like to think that our world isn't full of people in positions of power whose twisted views of what is right and just haven't led to horrible atrocities. I would like to believe that men right here in the United States wouldn't decide that equal rights for women were a really bad idea and that 'silencing' female voices wouldn't be seen as something done for the greater good of family and society. However, monsters lie under civilized looking faces and it isn't a stretch to believe that something taken for granted as a basic human right today might be snatched away tomorrow. We live in strange and troubling times and Vox is a cautionary tale of what can happen when we assume there will always be a clear line between church and state and that those with extremist views won't amass enough followers to be the only voice heard. The Pure Movement has not only removed women from the workforce and returned them to the kitchen, it has also effectively silenced them. Speaking more than 100 words a day has consequences. A bracelet that all women must wear imparts a minor electric shock for a small transgression to higher voltage levels if the woman refuses to be silent. Big brother is watching and no matter what your age, words are preciously guarded as paper and pen are deemed unnecessary and everything and anything to might want to say to your friends and family must be concisely articulated. Dr. Jean McCl.ellan is one of many who have been silenced, but Vox is her story and she will not allow her past silence to dictate her future. A well written, thought-provoking book and one I look forward to sharing with others. Thank you Christina Dalcher, First To Read and Penguin Random House for the complimentary digital ARC.

I enjoyed most of this book. There was about 100 pages that didn't need to be. But the plot and characters were great.

It took me extra time to get through this novel because I often had to take a break to digest what I had read Like other dystopian novels I had read, I could actually see something like this happen in real like with is very unsettling. It definitely makes you think. I thought that the plot and the story telling were solid, however I felt that a few more pages could have been devoted to the ending. I would recommend.

This book was one of those wherein you want to devour the entire thing, and you also need to put it down after a period of reading just to reflect and regain your equilibrium. The prose is swift, and the story is charged, but the real standout of this novel is in its total execution. It reads like a political thriller or a great horror story, and has the feel of a Handmaid's dystopia or just too.close.to.reality. Vox will tilt your world until you're dizzy, and like a kid spinning in circles, you just keep going, keep turning the pages. It's gripping and terrifying and a hell of a read.

The premise of the book is solid, and interesting. It's also quite timely, although I'm sure there are some people who won't see it. That's the way with dystopian stories. I wanted to like this book on the premise alone. I found it highly probable that some society would go to such lengths to silence half the population. Most of the characters in the book weren't that well developed, including the main character. At one point, I was ready to boot out the husband and oldest son but in the end they actually had better development and motivation. I don't have to find a character likeable but I do need to understand them and I felt like there was a lot of "going through the motions" with Jean. Additionally, side characters were for the most part caricatures. Overall, the book felt rushed and ended in an unsatisfactory manner - oh, wait, I'm to the end of my book better finish up and boom! it was done.

The premise of silencing female dissent posed by this dystopian book is fascinating given the current popularity of "A Handmaid's Tale" and I'm sure it will be optioned for screen adaptation. While the opening chapters were quite gripping, as the plot developed I found myself extremely disappointed in the poorly conceived scientific plot of the book, which is both implausible and poorly executed. It was clear that Dalcher made few efforts beyond appearances to attain authenticity for the medical research portions of the story. (Sorry, but I'm a PhD chemist and my stepmom is a neurologist, so I regard science in fiction with a serious eye.) Research into actual *medical* neuroscience, beyond the term Wernicke's Aphasia and its symptoms, seems to have been overlooked here, even if Dalcher certainly has the theoretical linguistic bona fides. This was a missed opportunity. Looking at authors like Mira Grant, Richard Preston, or Michael Crichton, I know full well that there *is* scientifically accurate and gripping fiction out there. Looking beyond the plot, looking at the characters, I found the central character someone who I struggled to root for at times. While she is justifiably angry at her government, her husband's role in it, her personal situation and her oldest son, I often found her straight-up unlikeable. Some of the secondary characters like Sharon were interesting but others, like Jackie (she's that angry bra-burning feminist who's a lesbian and who shouts a lot on TV!!!), seemed almost like they were caricatures upon which portions of the storyline were built. I wanted more from them and more of a feeling of the relationship between Jean and Patrick. Or even just more backstory on Jean/Gianna and how her parents feel about her being trapped in an America that has silenced women. I'm still uncertain of how I will rate the book (on the five star system).

This book had an interesting premise. At times it seemed a bit long and drawn out. There are parts of the story that will make your blood boil. I would recommend this to others that enjoy dystopian novels. Thank you first to read.

This book made me so angry, but in the way a good dystopian novel should make the reader feel angry. The book portrayed really well all the different ways that society tries to silence women today, and shows a not that unlikely future of the men in government mandating these repressions. I liked the story a lot, but I agree with most reviewers that the book ended a little abruptly.

The premise of VOX was stunning. The summary caught my attention immediately; it definitely reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, and similar stories of government corruption. Unfortunately I never felt a connection to Jean. It wasn't a big deal that her views are so different from mine. After all, I could understand her animosity toward religious groups after the Pure movement! However, she had such a superior attitude toward almost everyone -- her husband, her eldest son, coworkers, and even toward her friends -- that she was just an unlikable character. The book was entirely too long, and I found myself wanting to skim the final 150 pages.

This was so good that it was one of those books I just could not put down. Being thrown into a dystopian nightmare that doesn’t seem so far-fetched is thoroughly unnerving because it’s feels entirely too familiar. We’ve read and seen a lot of imagined dystopias lately where women are quite brutally subjugated, but reading ‘VOX’ felt more subtle and thus a little more frightening. ‘VOX’ centers around Dr. Jean McClellan, a former doctor and professor who studied aphasia (loss of speech), and her family, and we quickly see how the new Government ‘rules’, and the ‘Pure’ Movement have affected her family. ‘Bracelets’ have been placed on all females’ wrists, and they track words spoken each day; the word counter allows them only 100 words in 24 hours and beyond that, they’ll receive electric shocks. Jean’s daughter has got to the point to where she barely speaks at all. Women can’t work anymore, use birth control, read, write, spend their own money; men have the ultimate say in everything. There are also stiff punishments for extramarital and premarital sex, even exiling and humiliating teenagers on public TV. Jean is eventually called up by the very Government that has put all of this in place, for her help and expertise. The President’s brother suddenly has lost his ability to talk after an accident and they need her help, as one of the top experts in the country on aphasia. Her rather meek and quiet husband, who works for the Government, encourages her to do it, and she’s motivated by the deal of having her daughter’s word counter removed. Does this all seem too convenient? Maybe. There are a few plot points that work out a little too easily. But it’s compulsive reading. As well as being one of those books that doesn’t feel so far away from being our truth, it’s hard not feel like this could happen to your family. That makes it successful. And the fact that we are drawn in by all the hints of other great dystopian novels written by Margaret Atwood, Naomi Alderman (just recently), or even George Orwell, so be it. There are some great action scenes in here, grand questions about how we should be living our lives, a huge argument that is playing now with the ‘Pure Movement’ concept (getting back to basics, and the religious right), and that is really why feel like Dalcher has hit the nail on the head with this. Great read!

FIVE STUNNING STARS “It’s the little stuff I miss most: jars of pens and pencils tucked into the corners of every room, notepads wedged in between cookbooks, the dry-erase shopping list on the wall next to the spice cabinet.” One day, one by one, men went into the homes of every American, and silenced women. A simple device, synced with their voice and locked onto their voice, counts the words they speak. Any more than 100 and suffer the severe consequences. But limiting their voices isn’t enough. They are removed from the workforce. Passports are revoked. Pens, paper, books, cell phones. Anything and everything that can be used to communicate is destroyed, taken away, restricted. With their voice, women have lost their rights. Dr. Jean McClennon never thought it would happen. Not in America. There are too many safeguards against this sort of thing. Isn’t there? But she is silenced as effectively as everyone else. When men from the government come to her home and offer her a temporary relief, she wants to take it. She wants to reject it. Everything comes with a cost, and she has to decide what price she’ll pay. Not just for her freedom, but for her daughters. For women’s everywhere. “All my words ricochet in my head as I listen, emerge from my throat in a heavy, meaningless sigh. And all I can think about are Jackie’s last words to me. Think about what you need to do to stay free.” Vox is the shocking and enthralling debut novel for anyone who read The Handmaid’s Tale and thought, that just didn’t quite go far enough, wasn’t sinister enough, doesn’t feel horrific enough. Vox takes all of the disgust, horror, and unease from that iconic story and raises everything. But what makes Vox so much worse, is the unsettling feeling that something like this could happen. Dalcher doesn’t rely on plagues, or disease, or global warming to incite this horrific future. Instead she takes what we already see happening. We already see movements like the Purity movement gaining in popularity. We see political extremes and unlikely candidates making their way into the highest offices of our country. We see people who remind us of characters in this novel. Which makes this novel all the more terrifying. “Monsters aren’t born, ever. They’re made, piece by piece and limb by limb, artificial creatures of madmen who, like the misguided Frankenstein, always think they know better.” The chilling reality that Dalcher creates for us, is all the more sinister for the realness of it. She describes how her teenage son can become transfixed by the lies of propaganda. How her five year old daughter can fall so easily into the norm of not speaking. How her preteen boys can transition to a life where women don’t speak. How even her husband can adjust and lie to himself about how it isn’t that bad. These small steps, these minor adjustments and insidious changes show how easy it can be to wake in a world you don’t recognize. Jean looks back and realizes, not voting here, not protesting there. It doesn’t take much until the momentum has built, and your voice is swept away. As you read you want to brush it off, this couldn’t happen, not really. But Dalcher does an incredible job at not letting you disregard that doubt entirely. With every memory of how it began, how it unfolded, you’re reminded that perhaps it isn’t happening, but it could. “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. That’s what they say, right?!” Beyond Jean, all the character have such a satisfying journey. Dalcher does a fantastic job showing the various capabilities of people. Both in their capacity for good and for evil. People aren’t always who we assume they are, and I loved the surprising depth found in several characters. These details, the depth and complexity of the people on the pages, all work together to make Vox feel so incredibly realistic. From the very first pages I could not put Vox down. I read well into the early morning hours, captivated and horrified in equal measure. Dalcher has created a spectacular book that will enrage you as much as it terrifies you. The bones of our own reality show in the narration, making this horrific reality feel so much closer than is comfortable. It’s a book that doesn’t leave you once the cover is closed. After I finished, I couldn’t help but count the words I spoke, wonder at how often I type, or read, or write. Vox comes out August 21. If you loved The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the modern version you absolutely have to read. It’s shocking. It’s stunning. It will haunt you. As we see extremes creeping more into not just our country’s politics, but the world’s, understanding the potential consequences of even minor movements becomes vital. Vox reminds us to use our voices before they’re taken away. Thank you First To Read for the chance to read and review!

This was a great read. As others have said, the comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale are easy to make. It is creepy and scary in how real it seems, but takes an interesting and different approach to the patriarchal dystopian society -- a world in which women are only able to speak in limited amounts. I read it fairly quickly, and found myself wanting to pick it up and find out what was going to happen. I did feel the ending was a little abrupt, but all in all I really enjoyed Vox.

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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