**We were gifted a copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
Like many I couldn’t wait to read Christina Dalcher’s much hyped novel VOX as it seemed the book community couldn’t get enough of it. Unfortunately for me although I did enjoy it, I felt slightly let down by the execution of the story which I put solely down to my heightened expectations. Now I’m not one of those people that write off author’s work based on one book so when the folks over at HQ Stories asked me if I’d like to review Christina’s new book Q due for release tomorrow, I readily agreed. The synopsis really piqued my interest and I am sharing my thoughts in today’s blog as part of the Blogger Day celebrating it’s publication.
About The Book
Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.
Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.
Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.
But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…
Elena is mother to two girls, Anne a high flying achiever and Freddie an anxious student who struggles to keep her head above the academic tide. With monthly tests to help calculate their individual Q scores children across the country are just one wrong answer away from being demoted to a lower tier school and in the worst case scenario being banished to one of the state schools to live away from their family.
Their father Malcolm helps create the rules and wants to ensure his family take the responsibilities of maintaining their Q scores high seriously so he can save face. Anne is his golden child, always hanging on his every word, completely sucked into the unbalanced world he and his associates are determined to create. Freddie however comes firmly in second place in her Father’s affections, often on the receiving end of his cold, domineering and controlling ways, alongside his wife Elena.
After another panic attack ahead of her monthly test the Fairchild’s receive the call that every parent dreads; Freddie’s Q has dropped and she will be heading to a state school hundreds of miles away in Kansas. Knowing her child will struggle being away from home and unable to contact her in any way, Elena sacrifices her own career as well her relationship with Anne to manipulate the system and head to Kansas herself. But what she discovers there is chilling and beyond anything she can comprehend. Her only hope is to try and find a way to get her and her daughter out unharmed.
Although I have seen this story described as being set in a dystopian world the idea of a system based on IQ, finance and ability is one that seems awfully close to home when you look at the world today. The Q numbers that characters in this book attain are based on a huge number of criteria including the Q of your close family and with a bias towards straight, financially stable, intelligent, able-bodied people. With the government determined to create a world where the strongest rise up and the mediocre are left to rot, it’s clear their goal is to create a world where only the elitist survive.
I absolutely loved Elena and as a mother felt I really related to every struggle she faced; clearly able to imagine how I would feel if my children were put through the same experiences. She is an amazingly strong character who depicts the fierce love every mother feels for her children and the lengths they would go to in order to try and change the world and their fate.
This book had me gripped from start to finish thanks to Christina’s wonderfully suspenseful writing style. I found it to be such a thought provoking and insightful glimpse into how easily human’s can slip into such a terrifying hierarchy in which those on top will do anything to achieve their ultimate dream.
The authors note of this book explains that whilst her story Q is fictional that historical events mentioned are based on the real stories of the little known American Eugenics movement that saw many ‘feeble-minded’ citizens imprisoned in state institutions and forced to undergo numerous disturbing procedures. This piece of information simply added to the terrifying and disturbing nature of the story and reinforced my thoughts on how close to home the story line felt..
Despite not being a massive fan of VOX I can wholeheartedly say I loved Q. I read it in a day, having been unable to put it down and would highly recommend this book. It’s a frightening spotlight shone on the horrors of human nature that everyone should read.
About The Author
Christina Dalcher is a linguist, novelist, and flash fiction writer living in the American South. She has over 100 publishing credits in the UK, US, and Australia. Recognitions include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award (February 2019), second prize in the 2016 Bartleby Snopes Dialogue-Only Contest, and nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions.
Her flash fiction appears in The Molotov Cocktail Prize Winners’ anthology, Whiskey Paper, Split Lip Magazine, (b)OINK, Five2One Magazine, and several others.
Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Christina’s novels, including the international best seller VOX.
Christina lives with her husband and the ghosts of several dogs and cats.
Q is available to purchase now from Amazon*