Review: Vox

August 17, 2018 in Book Reviews, Dystopian

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Vox Vox by Christina Dalcher
Published by HQ on 23rd August 2018
Genres: Dystopian
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

A Wee Summary of Vox

Vox is set in a dystopian US where, post-election, a new President and his associates take control of the lives of US women – no working, no reading, no writing, no birth control and a limit of 100 spoken words a day. Every female is fitted with a counter around their wrist – exceed the 100 word limit in a 24 hour period and the counter shocks them. The further the 100 words is exceeded, the more intense the shock.

In line with the “Pure Movement”, the government are restricting the lives of women, effectively reverting the US to a previous time where the role of the female was to make the home, care for the family and be dominated and controlled by the men in their lives.

With schools introducing a new curriculum, boys studying such subjects as AP Religious Studies, and the girls focussed on home economics and crafts, the purpose of the Government and Pure Movement is clear – a patriarchal society.

Jean holds a doctorate. Before ‘it’ happened, she was working in neurolinguistics on an anti-aphasia serum, verging on a breakthrough that would make a high difference to many lives. Now, she and her 6-year-old daughter are restricted to 100 words a day, constantly under monitoring, while the males in the house are free. Her sole purpose is now to look after her family and home, all the while silently witnessing her oldest son’s conversion to the Pure Movement.

That is until there comes a time when the President needs her expertise, and she’s temporarily given back her voice, if not her freedom.

My Thoughts

I have tried many times to get my thoughts on Vox down in some kind of coherent manner. The majority of which ended up in a rant about the world today, so I’m going to try to rein that in!

To be honest, this book is pretty terrifying. It made me so angry, the thought of a world where our voices and freedom are stolen – but what’s more terrifying is that it has a very real feel to it! A few years ago a book like this would have seemed total science fiction to me; now though, it feels scarily possible.

I actually couldn’t put this book down – it’s the fastest I’ve read a book in a while. This is Christina Dalcher’s debut novel and what a debut it is! Dalcher herself is a doctor of theoretical linguistics, so her exploration of the consequences of removing language in Vox is all the more fascinating. Through Jean’s 6-year-old daughter, we see the impact of the 100 words on younger children and the potential damage to future generations.

This novel is cleverly written and incredibly memorable. The writing is engaging, and Jean’s character is an interesting one through which we explore the changing face of the US, the wider impact on the country, but also the effects on individual families. It’s a story that as well as providing food for thought, also has twists and turns, with moments where I actually held my breath while reading.

I will say though that I felt the ending of the book was a bit rushed. I could tell that I didn’t have many pages left for the conclusion to pan out, and personally, I would have liked a few more pages in that ending.

For me, I found the thought of losing my voice so deeply uncomfortable, and the way that the Pure Movement suddenly took control pretty terrifying. For me, this is a fascinating exploration of language, as well as an unsettling dystopian novel. It’s a book that is bound to generate a lot of discussion, and attract very different opinions.

Please read it so we can discuss it! I need someone to talk to about this book!

four-half-stars

Review: HUNTED

May 18, 2018 in Book Reviews, Dystopian

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HUNTED HUNTED by G.X. Todd
Series: The Voices #2
Published by Headline on 31st May 2018
Genres: Dystopian
Goodreads
five-stars

The birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds know where to find her.

One man is driven by a Voice that isn't his. It's killing his sanity and wrestling with it over and over like a jackal with a bone. He has one goal.

To find the girl with a Voice like his own. She has no one to defend her now. The hunt is on.

But in an Inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no Voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find Lacey ... before the Other does. And finish the work his sister, Ruby began.

 

I have been SO excited to read HUNTED, ever since I closed the final page of DEFENDER (see my review here).  If you follow me on Twitter you are no-doubt aware of my love for that book. So when I was kindly sent a HUNTED ARC by Headline, I started it ASAP and proceeded to eke it out for as long as possible, because I wasn’t ready to leave the world and Todd’s writing for another year.

As you’ve probably gleaned from this first paragraph, HUNTED did not disappoint!

Todd has taken the world and characters we became familiar with in book one and expanded in the best possible ways – new characters, new concepts, new relationships, new dangers. I could easily have swallowed this book whole, but, like I said, I needed to savour it – every last word!

As ever, Todd strikes the perfect balance between action and character-building, allowing us to get to know those characters that she inevitably puts through the mill. I swear she took my heart and stomped on it at one point.

What’s so delicious about this book is that, although we start to gain some information, some more understanding of this dystopian world, by the end we are hungrier than ever for more answers.

I know I’ve not mentioned much about the plot here but that’s intentional. This is an action-packed sequel that absolutely lives up to the very high standards of book one, and is a story that you need to uncover for yourself!

Limited Edition SIGNED Copies

Before I go, let me draw to your attention the exclusive limited edition, signed copies available from Goldsboro Books. There are only 250 copies available and each will be signed and number with sprayed edges. I can’t wait to see my copy!

five-stars

Review: Scythe

March 13, 2018 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Scythe Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Walker on 1st February 2018 (UK)
Genres: Dystopian, YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.

Scythe has been out in the US for a wee while and I kept hearing great reviews about it, so obviously when it was published here by Walker I snatched up a copy. (I actually ended up with two copies so be sure to enter my giveaway if you are based in the UK.)

The world has evolved to a place where there’s no more sickness, little crime and humans are now immortal. There are no more governments, no war and if you do become “deadish” you are whisked to a revival centre and return as good as new. There are nanites in the blood to stop pain and when you grow older you can ‘turn the corner’ and continue life at a younger age. Basically, it’s a perfect world, which is under the watchful and constant gaze of the Thunderhead – essentially a ‘cloud’ that developed AI and now keeps the world in check.

The only issue with this new world is overpopulation, and so the Thunderhead has developed the Scythedom – the only aspect over which it has no control. Scythes are the only people with permission to take a life – to glean. They are responsible for meeting their quotas and gleaning in a non-prejudiced way that reflects the mortality of the old world. They are simultaneously feared and revered, for as well as being able to take a life they can also grant immunity.

This is such a fascinating concept, one that captured my imagination and I found quite thought-provoking.

We follow two main characters, Cintra and Rowan, who both find themselves with an opportunity to become scythes and thus secure their family’s immunity from gleaning. Taken on as apprentices, they must prove themselves in order to attain the position of Junior Scythe. As they become involved in the Scythedom they realise that there’s more to being a Scythe than meets the eye, with unrest within the Scythedom itself.

I really loved this book – every aspect, from the world building and characters to the storytelling itself had me enraptured. I’m absolutely desperate to get my hands on book 2, Thunderhead, which will be released in the UK in August. In the meantime, I might have to make myself more acquainted with the rest of Shusterman’s work.

Go enter the giveaway now! (ends 15th March 23:59)

five-stars

Review: Spare and Found Parts

February 5, 2018 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Spare and Found Parts Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published by Titan on 6th February 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy, Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

I received a sampler of Spare and Found Parts a few months ago and must admit I was very intrigued, so I was delighted when Titan Books sent across a finished copy.

Spare and Found Parts is the story of Nell, a teenager living with her father in a post-apocalyptic version of Dublin. A century before, the ‘Turn’ happened, a great sickness that claimed many lives with computers being the source (somehow, I was never entirely clear how). The result is a world where many of the population are missing limbs, eyes – or in the case of Nell herself, a heart.

There are three rules in this post-Turn world

  1. The sick in the Pale, the healed in the Pasture.
  2. Contribute, at all cost.
  3. All code is blasphemy.

It’s a world where even to utter the word “computer” is rebellion.

Nell is approaching the age where she must make her contribution to society. It seems everyone around her has their ideas and talents honed. Her own father is one of the most revered men in the city having created artificial limbs. Her late mother’s contribution is forever in sight, a giant stonework woman. So needless to say, Nell feels the pressure to live up to her parents. In fact, she’d love to surpass them.

Nell is different from those around her. Her heart is clockwork – created and installed by her father. Her life is accompanied by a constant audible ticking, seemingly counting down the days to her contribution.

When Nell finds a mannequin hand washed up on the shore – one of the many relics from before the Turn – she starts to dream of a man more like her. So, she decides to build him.

The start of this book is fairly slow-paced. It’s quite a while before Nell decides to build her creation. However, we do glean a picture of Nell and her introverted personality – so at odds with her best friend Ruby. We’re also introduced to Oliver Kelly who wants nothing more than for Nell to love him.

Ordinarily, I might have found this beginning a bit too slow but actually I was just enjoying Griffin’s writing so much I didn’t mind!

I’m not going to lie; this is a bit of an odd book and consequently, it won’t be for everyone. However, it’s a book that had me intrigued from the very first page.

Nell is certainly an interesting character. I didn’t ever feel completely comfortable with her – but I guess that’s the point eh? Plus I did love Kodak, her stoat. I really liked her friendship with Ruby and her interactions with Oliver made me chuckle.

My favourite character by far though was Nell’s creation, Io. I enjoyed the chapters written from his perspective – the sole android in a world of computer-fearing humans.

I’m still left kind of baffled as to what actually happened at the Turn. I assume that this is on purpose and isn’t just me! I like answers though and I feel I’m lacking them. Also, the Pasture is very vague to me.

For all that the start was slow-paced, I did feel that the end was somewhat fast, abrupt even. I’d have liked more.

All in all, I enjoyed this novel, different as it was. Griffin writes beautifully and I can’t wait to see what she brings us next.

four-stars

Review: Gather The Daughters

July 22, 2017 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, General fiction

I received this book for free from NetGalley, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Gather The Daughters Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Published by Tinder Press on 13th July 2017
Genres: Dystopian
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Gather The Daughters tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It's a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge of the outside world is kept to a minimum. Girls are wives-in-training: at the first sign of puberty, they must marry and have children. But until that point, every summer, island tradition dictates that the children live wildly: running free, making camps, sleeping on the beach. And it is at the end of one such summer that one of the youngest girls sees something so horrifying that life on the island can never be the same again.

I can’t quite bring myself to use the word ‘enjoyed’ to describe how I felt about this book. I mean it’s deeply unsettling but it’s so compelling, I couldn’t put it down!

Melamed’s writing is in itself beautiful, but for me, it’s her telling of the story through multiple characters that really makes this book. You slowly develop an understanding of what’s going on, aided by the perspectives of the multiple daughters.

I’m truly hesitant to reveal too much as I feel it could impact upon Melamed’s storytelling. However, if you’re looking for a book to keep you reading and don’t mind battling that constant unsettled feeling, that deep unease that comes with reading about families, relationships and communities that lie out with the social norm then get reading!

**WIN A COPY**

If you are in the UK the publisher is currently giving away TEN copies over on Goodreads. Here’s the link. Good luck!

four-stars