Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Berkley, 2018
Hardcover. 336 pages.
"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."

The premise of Vox is a chilling one, make no mistake about that. This book reads like a dire warning of what could happen if things in our world moved in a continuously negative and limiting direction, and it is one that will certainly leave its mark. I found myself so engaged in this story and not wanting to put it down, which is something that really gave the book an edge despite the fact that the story itself sometimes felt slightly lacking.

I really enjoyed this book, but I do think it is one that is better at being a cautionary tale as its primary goal, and a good story as its second goal. There were certain themes or messages that just felt as if they were being hammered in and started to take away from the story at times.  I wish that there had been a bit more background as to how the present events of the world came about or something to give this book slightly more grounding at the beginning. There is some background provided, but it's still such a hard-to-believe idea that it would have helped to know more about exactly how it happened. Still, the events of this book do point to a lot of issues that sparked the one-hundred word limit and how women are treated, something that I think makes this book a fantastic discussion-starter or book club choice.

As far as characters go, there was a pretty good mix of horrible characters, decent characters, and majorly grey characters. I particularly liked seeing the different types of male characters that Dalcher included and the different variety of reactions they might have to the restrictions on women, with some men that just went along with everything whether they agreed or not, some that opposed it, and some that were actively all for it. There were some characters that also made me furious and made me want to throw the book (preferably at them), but this only added more of an emotional to the story that I appreciated. Jean, our protagonist, was an exceptionally compelling character and I was impressed to see how she handled the variety of pretty horrible situations she was put into. She always did the most she could to buck the system, but of course, there's only so much one can do in this sort of scenario.

I also particularly liked the way that Dalcher showcased the effects of these rules and limitations on children being raised during this time. Jean's own children, for example, had wildly different outcomes, and I found it so disheartening and somewhat disturbing to see how her youngest daughter seemed to take the word counting as a sort of game and content--something that even schools begin to do.

My biggest caveat with Vox was the ending. I won't get into any spoiler details, but in general I just felt it was a bit too... random and quickly wrapped up. I wanted more from it, more of a statement. The entire book seemed to be leading up to something really monumental, but it ended up just being a bit flat and not satisfying. It made it seem like this was a phase. Part of me likes that it wasn't an unrealistic huge ending, but I do wish there was more to it. Despite this, I still found the book to have an exceptionally compelling theme overall and I thought that so many of the issues presented were at least at some level incredibly relevant to today's world; there are also plenty of ideas and sentiments that many people will be able to identify with.

Overall, I've given Vox 3.75 stars! If you're looking for a compelling dystopia future to sink into, then this is a great book to pick up.


  1. That's too bad that the ending fizzled out! I like the premise of the book; I'm interested to know how society got to this point.

    1. Yeah, that was the part I was most looking forward to finding out.

  2. Great review! I read and enjoyed Vox too, although I do agree that the ending felt like it wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly.

    1. Well I'm glad that it wasn't just me that thought that about it!

  3. If I had more time I'd definitely read this, although I do get tired of books about women being oppressed by men.

    1. Yeah, I definitely agree there. I usually read one like this every couple months or so to space them out, too many can just be a bit much.

  4. i agree so much about the kids! im glad you enjoy this, it was a tough read but i still loved it