Vox

Vox

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...

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Title:Vox
Author:Christina Dalcher
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Vox Reviews

  • Miranda Reads

    My heart and soul are just dangling by a thread. Honestly, I have not been this angered (and wonderfully angered) in a long, long time.

    three response stages to any impending disaster. Rush through the first two and act as soon

    My heart and soul are just dangling by a thread. Honestly, I have not been this angered (and wonderfully angered) in a long, long time.

    three response stages to any impending disaster. Rush through the first two and act as soon as you can. That's how you hold out.

    Dr. Jean McClellan, an American linguistic scientist and mother of four,

    - women representation decreasing in the government, the resurgence of the "pure" religion, the slow chipping away at female freedoms -

    .

    No matter how much her friends warned and pleaded with her, she always found a way to

    - surely not

    surely the government wouldn't go

    far,

    will definitely do something before it's too late...right?

    Courtesy of the "Pure" religious movement - all women were fitted with a little "bracelet" which functioned as a word counter. Every day they received 100 words and

    Jean, as linguistic specialist, knows better than anyone what will happen if a child is denied language or an adult is forced to stifle all forms of communication.

    If you thought the

    was great - you

    to check out this modern upheaval.

    This is the kind of book where you

    - my heart was pounding, my eyes blurred, I turned the pages so fast that I felt a slight breeze.

    |

    |

  • Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    I’m often running to Google for one thing or another when I’m reading a thought-provoking book. But this time, I was Googling things before I even had the novel in hand. The first thing I had to know was how many words the average person speaks in a day. Google told me:

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    I’m often running to Google for one thing or another when I’m reading a thought-provoking book. But this time, I was Googling things before I even had the novel in hand. The first thing I had to know was how many words the average person speaks in a day. Google told me:

    !

    Imagine that you are only allowed to speak 100 words in a day...

    In VOX people in the United States are given a 100 word per day limit. But NOT everyone is given this limit....just the

    population. They wear a counter on their wrist to keep track of how many words they speak. If they go over the 100 word limit…they pay a painful price. What happens if people try to communicate in other ways such as writing things down or using sign language? Well, let’s just say it’s not something they want to find out.

    They are kept a prisoner in their own country. Some people fled to places like Canada, Mexico in the beginning, but now there's no escaping.

    Dr. Jean McClellan is/was a cognitive linguist but now…

    Jean's husband, Patrick reminds her with a tap on her counter that she only has a few words left for the day. The counter will reset at midnight. Her husband and sons have to remember to ask close-ended questions to Jean and her daughter, six-year-old, Sonia. Her sons are eleven and they have seen what happens if more words are spoken. There are times where she’s irrationally angry at her husband and sons.

    When Jean attended university her friend, Jackie tried to warn them. She told them to think about words like

    But now THEY need Jean's help, her expertise. At first, she tells them she won’t help them, but then they make her another offer….one she doesn’t know if she can refuse.

    I FLEW through this novel. Although it made me incredibly angry at times, I was hooked. Some things I would find over the top one minute and terrifyingly possible the next.

    A fascinating storyline with well-developed characters and an ending that I didn’t see coming.

    I'd like to thank Berkley Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Tammy

    These days my country consists of states united in hate. At its helm is a man-child. A bully consumed by power, lacking intellect, as well as being morally and ethically deficient. So while the premise of Vox is extreme it doesn’t seem far-fetched. The severe subjugation of women by the angry, white patriarchy is portrayed at its most monstrous. A counter worn by women allows them to speak when spoken to and then only minimally. Once the allotted one hundred words per day are spent, negative rei

    These days my country consists of states united in hate. At its helm is a man-child. A bully consumed by power, lacking intellect, as well as being morally and ethically deficient. So while the premise of Vox is extreme it doesn’t seem far-fetched. The severe subjugation of women by the angry, white patriarchy is portrayed at its most monstrous. A counter worn by women allows them to speak when spoken to and then only minimally. Once the allotted one hundred words per day are spent, negative reinforcement is administered to the offending female in the form of a painful shock. Other than these few words, women are not allowed any other form of communication: no email, snail mail, books, pens, or internet access. And, nonverbal communication is not permitted which is monitored by surveillance cameras. The gay community is relegated to working farms (concentration camps), a teenage son is indoctrinated into the tenets of male supremacy and a six year old daughter’s words vanish. This dystopian novel deftly handles politics of all stripes; gender, sexual, domestic and, to a lesser degree, racial and international. Gone are the days of inclusion, tolerance and attempts at harmony. Oh wait! We’re sort of there, aren’t we?

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I don’t usually read dystopian books, and to be honest, I’m not that familiar with the genre. Upon reading the premise of Vox, I knew it would have a place on my reading list because of its timeliness and the bravery of the author in taking on this fictional topic.

    If you have not heard already, Vox is set in the United States at a time when a new president has been elected, and a mandate has been declared by the government: females may only speak 100 w

    I don’t usually read dystopian books, and to be honest, I’m not that familiar with the genre. Upon reading the premise of Vox, I knew it would have a place on my reading list because of its timeliness and the bravery of the author in taking on this fictional topic.

    If you have not heard already, Vox is set in the United States at a time when a new president has been elected, and a mandate has been declared by the government: females may only speak 100 words a day. If they go over their allotment, they will receive an electric shock from a band installed on the arm. In a place founded on freedom, women and girls no longer have theirs.

    Since women can no longer talk, they can no longer work. Girls are only taught math in school, and reading and writing is for boys only. The ramifications of this are overarching, and the author does an impeccable job delineating it all.

    The main character, Dr. Jean McClellan, is a married mother of four children; however, only one of her children is a girl. How far will Jean go to demand a voice for her and her daughter?

    Vox has a strong start. The writing is flawless, and the set-up of the premise feels completely authentic. I was anxious at times wondering if something like could actually happen. The pacing was stronger in the first two-thirds, but I was invested in what was happening, terrifying as it was, so that did not keep me from reading on. The ending was completely satisfying. I could see this as a movie, and I think it is a wonderful choice for book club discussions. Now that I know more about what comprises a dystopian novel, Vox checks all the boxes.

    Thank you to Berkley for the physical ARC. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog with my book pics!

  • Will Byrnes

    Words matter.

    If your ideal of womanhood tends toward the

    ,

    will present an image of paradise. For th

    Words matter.

    If your ideal of womanhood tends toward the

    ,

    will present an image of paradise. For the rest of us, it offers a dark vision of a possible future in which the lines between religion of the extremist, fundamentalist sort, and government are not just blurred, but erased. (See Taliban, ISIS, or any of many Christian sects that insist that civil law should be based on the Bible) God knows there are plenty of places in the USA where a large number of folks would be just fine with that, as long as it is the

    religion. Well, probably not the majority of the women. Instead of the saying “Children should be seen but not heard,” substitute

    for

    , and you have the core of this dystopian novel.

    - image is from her site

    Woody Allen’s 1971 film,

    , satirized Central American (and American) politics. A deranged leader had let power go to his head and decided to shake things up.

    There are different lunatics in charge in

    , but the restrictions are just as insane, if much less amusing. Females are allowed only one hundred words per day. (The official language of American women is silence?) And they will have to wear wrist-band counters that keep track. Exceeding the daily quota results in a painful electrical shock. Run off at the mouth and the punishment becomes deadly. Girls at school are given rewards for speaking the fewest words in a day.

    Image from HuffPo

    Jean McLellan is a cognitive linguist. She is as shocked as most are by the imposition of outrageous strictures on her, and on all females. Makes it tough not only to do the work for which she was trained, (or, maybe not, as women have been relegated to homemaking, so don’t worry your pretty little head about that whole job thing) but makes it a challenge even to carry on normal human conversations within her family. Her husband, Patrick, is the science advisor to the president, surely a jokey position in a country where science is silenced and faith of a certain sort is given all the bullhorns. But then Jean is approached by representatives of El Presidente. Her professional services are required. It seems the dear leader’s brother had an oopsy while skiing and now has a particularly nasty brain injury, one that impacts his abillty to use language. Jean negotiates a deal, and goes to work. Complications ensue, not least is the presence on the research team of the incompetent rectum who stepped up to leadership when the women were kicked out, and someone from her past. Will they be able to use their scientific super powers for the forces of good, or be bested by the forces of evil?

    Image from MissMuslim.com

    Yes, it is not a realistic projection of things to come. If millions of women marched in response to the election of Swamp Thing, I seriously doubt that a program like the one presented here would have been instituted as quickly as this one was, or at all. (well, in most states, anyway) The response would, I expect, have been less

    and more

    , with maybe a dose of

    tossed in. Despite the excesses of our current administration, there

    limits beyond which people actually would respond, and actively resist. But the point of the novel is not, clearly, to present a

    potential future, but to highlight the importance of speech, of language in personal and political freedom, particularly for women.

    Image from Betanews.com

    These are notions that merit consideration. Schools in

    are made to offer AP Religious Studies classes that not only crowd out class time for Biology and History, but omit the comparative element of the study of religions in favor of promoting the religious track favored by those in charge. So, propaganda. This is hardly a huge leap from school systems that insist on teaching that lovely oxymoron, creation science, alongside actual, reality-based, testable science, and pretending equivalence. Similar to the approach of some news providers who seem to think that balance consists of offering equal time to truth-tellers and liars. Linguistics. Language. Call bullshit a rose often enough and weak-minded people will begin to enjoy the scent. (Fake news?) We live in a

    world, so looking at the power of language, or words and how they are used and controlled offers considerable insight into the non-science-fiction reality we currently inhabit. It is also of note how those words and notions are so often internalized. (

    ) It seems the norm, sadly, for those in power to want to silence those who object, whatever their gender. Colin Kaepernick knows, and I remember well the cries of Vietnam war supporters who regarded opposition as treason.

    Image from Yomyomf.com

    Dalcher offers examples of how language denigrates women in common parlance, without getting all, you know,

    about it. Jean’s husband refers to her outings with friends as “hen parties.” Her son, Steven, sees an activist on television protesting the demise of freedom and suggests “She needs to pop a chill pill.” Familiar, no? The religious nuts running this show incorporate anti-gay bias into their new world order as well, making what

    aberrant behavior a criminal act. (stifling half the population would not be considered aberrant here) Back in the real world, as of 2014 there were still 17 states in which laws against certain sorts of sex by consenting adults were still on the books, so this is not even a small stretch. The chastity movement in the book is based on real-world insanity as well. There was

    is very much in line with the current boom in feminist dystopia novels and with those of the past as well. What pops to mind are

    by Margaret Atwood, wonderfully realized in the Hulu series, Louise Erdrich’s

    , Hillary Jordan’s

    , and, of course, Ira Levin’s

    . There are plenty more, but these are the ones I have read.

    image from Wikimedia

    Dalcher brings to her novel a background in science. She is a theoretical linguist, with a strong concern with how language affects development. What would women become after a few generations of bearing the yoke of silence? Is it ok to train your daughters to become, essentially, pets that double as sexual vessels? Dalcher’s love of things Italian is given a voice here, as Jean’s parents are living in Italy, where Jean has spent considerable time, and a major character is Italian.

    The story moves along at a nice pace, making this a pretty fast read. It is engaging and stress-inducing, in a good way. But I found the resolution even more unlikely than the underlying notion. If tight plotting is your thing, you will probably be disappointed. But then this is not, IMHO, about the action-adventure element, as entertaining as that is. It is a warning about the cost of silence, and how not speaking up now can shut you up later, to the detriment, not only of yourself, but of generations to come.

    Image from HappyGeek.com

    Before the craziness becomes implemented policy, Jean is warned by her erstwhile bff, a prescient activist, about the coming madness, particularly the massive importance of voting, and participating in political action like calling one’s representatives, or showing up for marches.

    she says. It’s good advice.

    Use your words.

    Review posted – June 1 ,2018

    Publication – August 21, 2018

    Berkley provided an advance review copy, but shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

    =============================

    to the author’s

    ,

    ,

    , and

    pages

    -----

    -----

    There are scads more on her site

    -----May 11, 2018 -

    -----from

    magazine

    -----Language Log – on the truth about the difference between how many words men and women speak per day -

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    as a thought-piece, i would give this a high four stars, but as a novel, it’s got some structural flaws. it would be a very good book club choice, however - plenty of food for thought and discussion. it just needs some conceptual tightening; it’s missing that extra spark that would bring it all up in

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    as a thought-piece, i would give this a high four stars, but as a novel, it’s got some structural flaws. it would be a very good book club choice, however - plenty of food for thought and discussion. it just needs some conceptual tightening; it’s missing that extra spark that would bring it all up into “amazing debut” territory.

    the basic premise is straightforward: it’s a near-future dystopia in which white christian conservative male fundies have come to power and figured out how to keep all of us hysterical, mouthy women down - a metal “word counter” shackled around the female wrist that delivers an electric shock, of increasing intensity, for every word spoken that exceeds a woman’s daily allotment of 100. along with that, all typical dysto-rules apply: homosexuals are imprisoned until they come around and choose heterosexuality, premarital and extramarital sex has heavy consequences (for women), women aren’t allowed to read or write or work or use birth control or even collect the mail from their own mailboxes, and cameras are everywhere making sure these rules are followed.

    this book is two things - it’s a cautionary tale about noninvolvement/nonparticipation, about ignoring the signs and the trends until it’s too late, and it’s also an author with a doctorate in theoretical linguistics having herself a “what if” party about excising language from 1/2 of the population.

    it’s telling the story it wants to tell, and that’s not the story of “how this happens.” that’s touched upon, sure, it’s not altogether

    , but it’s not a priority. this takes place about a year after the laws go into effect, and things have happened quickly. there are lots of questions left unanswered because again - the hows and the details are not the concern here. i’m not sure what rules apply to deaf women, but i know that hearing women are

    allowed to use any sign language to supplement their daily word-allotment. i’m also not sure what is determining or tabulating these word counts - at one point, the main character has one word left in her quota, and she speaks it to her daughter, “Goodnight,” which i would have counted as two words. and what about hyphenates? acronyms? there must be workarounds. but those are my concerns and what i would address if i were writing this book, but i am too lazy so i don’t get to bitch about an author not answering every question i have as a reader.

    what i found most interesting was the effect upon the children. (former) cognitive linguist/wife/mother/first person narrator jean mclellan has four children: eleven-year-old twin boys, a son about to graduate from high school, and a six-year-old daughter. the twins are barely present, but the youngest and oldest are better-developed, in how they respond to these regulations, how they are changed. it’s very effective and horrifying to see a little girl adjust and apply herself enthusiastically to the rules, as though it were a game, and to see a young man embrace his role of privileged enforcer.

    the weaknesses are mostly in the conflict resolutions. many of them are overcome too easily, too neatly. personal ones, like what i will call ‘patrick’s acquiescence’ and scientific ones like what i will call, ummm ‘look at the science i did just now.’ oh, and ‘final face-off,’ too. the blocking on that is still a bit muddled to me.

    it’s a solid debut definitely worth reading, it’s just not a big shiny five-star MUST READ!

    an interesting aside - although this was written before the second season of

    aired, there are more than a few details that pop up in both. neither of them make the future look super-rosy. for anyone.

  • jessica

    a quick google search will show that women speak an average of 20,000 words per day. so imagine if you were limited to only 100.

    pretty unfathomable thought, right? that is exactly why i love dystopian novels. they are the most effective at taking me outside of my bubble, placing me in an unfamiliar situation and making me really think,

    this book raises so many important and relevant questions in regards to female rights and equality, the role of religion in gove

    a quick google search will show that women speak an average of 20,000 words per day. so imagine if you were limited to only 100.

    pretty unfathomable thought, right? that is exactly why i love dystopian novels. they are the most effective at taking me outside of my bubble, placing me in an unfamiliar situation and making me really think,

    this book raises so many important and relevant questions in regards to female rights and equality, the role of religion in government, and the right to speech/language development. the premise and core themes of this book are extremely thought-provoking. as a thought piece, this book deserves all the stars.

    but as a novel, i cant give this more than three. the writing in this is very clinical and straightforward. dalcher doesnt write like an author, she writes like a scientist. which isnt surprising considering her profession as a linguistics researcher. that sure came in handy as the majority of the plot focuses on the main characters job as a linguistics researcher (write what you know, eh?). but i couldnt find any sort of flow, character development, fleshing out of plot ideas, no sort of voice or depth. everything felt very two-dimensional, very surface level. i mean, the ideas were there (and they were fantastic ideas) but the execution left much to be desired.

    i would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a dystopian book that will plant a little seed of thought into their brain, but just dont expect too much from this in regards to storytelling.

  • Matthew

    I have decided to add a disclaimer to my review. The review in it's entirely is below in the spoiler tag. Here are my reasons for the disclaimer:

    - I knew that this would be controversial as it touches on a hot button topic. But, responses have become uncomfortable to the point I cringe when I open Goodreads. I know, I know, what did I expect sharing a controversial opinion on social media!? Yeah, I admit I guess I should have seen that coming. But, this review simply shares my opinion on a topic

    I have decided to add a disclaimer to my review. The review in it's entirely is below in the spoiler tag. Here are my reasons for the disclaimer:

    - I knew that this would be controversial as it touches on a hot button topic. But, responses have become uncomfortable to the point I cringe when I open Goodreads. I know, I know, what did I expect sharing a controversial opinion on social media!? Yeah, I admit I guess I should have seen that coming. But, this review simply shares my opinion on a topic I felt was key to the story. Many people agree, many people don't. That is fine! All opinions welcome! I just don't want to fight about it because I have no desire to change anyone's opinion.

    - I have received negative feedback from both sides of my argument! That's right, I picked a hot button topic and managed to annoy people on both sides (that is pretty impressive). I have been told that I missed the point, I am dense, I have lost respect from people, I think I am better than others, etc. I have been unfriended and unfollowed by many. That was 100% not my intention and I want it to stop. In fact, the point of my opinion is that discussions on this topic drives people apart and causes people to hate each other. So, the fact that my review is only promoting negative behavior (in some cases) is sad to me. 🙁

    - I am okay with all the 5 star reviews of this book. I am glad many people had a better experience with it than I did. I do not go to the 5 star reviews and try to prove them wrong. Goodreads is all about differing opinions and I embrace that.

    -You may notice that this review has lots of comments. If you have a criticism of my review, it most likely been discussed ad nauseum so I encourage you to look through the comments first. "That I missed the point", "The book did not say 'All' people of a certain group", "Don't you understand what the political climate is in America right now?", etc. - all have been covered.

    - At one point in my review I make a bold statement using the number 99%, after the response I have received from both sides, that number is probably more like 75%

    So, feel free to read the review. I am not trying to change anyone's mind. I am just trying to express my opinion as thoroughly as possible, and if you don't agree that is fine. The point of my review is to help stop hate, hurt, and bias, so I do not want my review to contribute to that in any way.

  • Kayla Dawn

    Okay sorry but this was just bad.

    The premise is really intriguing and I would love to read about it in a BETTER book.

    I expected a good dystopian set up that deals with sexism.. What I got is a weird thriller that KIND OF addressed that topic. I don't even really know how to explain it.

    First of all, the "showdown" was way too fast and there was little to no build up at all. It was unrealistic and everything was solved way too easily. I didn't even really understand what was going on because it

    Okay sorry but this was just bad.

    The premise is really intriguing and I would love to read about it in a BETTER book.

    I expected a good dystopian set up that deals with sexism.. What I got is a weird thriller that KIND OF addressed that topic. I don't even really know how to explain it.

    First of all, the "showdown" was way too fast and there was little to no build up at all. It was unrealistic and everything was solved way too easily. I didn't even really understand what was going on because it was so quick and all over the place?

    The characters were boring and completely flat. This definitely should be a book that goes into depth with the feelings and thoughts of its characters, but it failed big time.

    But what annoyed me the most was the more or less subtle sexism towards men. Hey, I totally understand that one would start to despise the other gender if it was the reason why you're being oppressed and not allowed to talk or work.

    But that wasn't really the case here. It were more things like "he's not a real man because he wouldn't beat up someone for spitting on his car" or "All boys like to blow things up" Wtf? Imagine a man would say "Oh you're not a real woman because you don't wear makeup" or "All girls like to play with dolls" EVERYONE WOULD LOSE THEIR SHIT. Which is something they should do, because it's bullshit but don't do the exact same thing to the opposite gender then! Double standards are really stupid. Seriously. Please stop.

    *spoiler ahead*

    PS: Someone pointed out to me that in the end A MAN comes and saves the day. How weird is that in a book that's about feminism and empowerment of women?

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