After receiving a copy of Vox in her March/April Book Fairy Box, book fairy Verity has kindly reviewed it for the blog! This review includes spoilers.
A book fairy review of Vox, by Christina Dalcher
After seeing lots of book fairy drops of Vox I was pleased to receive it in my first Book Fairy Box and looked forward to reading it. Fast forward a couple of months and one rainy Saturday (with a husband with a bad back and an 8 yr old binge watching YouTube) I fancied a book to escape with. Earlier in the week I’d found myself in a rapidly freezing bath unable to get out until I’d finished Half A World Away (by Mike Gayle, recommended if you fancy a good cry), so I fancied something easy to read and Vox caught my eye on the shelf.
I read Vox in one sitting…
An hour later (and another rapidly freezing bath) and I was engrossed. I read it in one sitting. Easy reading it wasn’t, there was an uncomfortable element of possible reality in it. Spoiler alert – don’t read any further if you don’t want to know what happens!
Reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale
As a much younger adult I read The Handmaid’s Tale and it stayed with me for a long time. I bought it many years later for my now husband, who has now read nearly all of Margaret Atwood’s books. Vox reminded me of it. It could be set in the the time between now and then. I know people who believe that women should stay home be housewives, and in today’s sometimes regressive political atmosphere it’s not impossible to believe that this could be enforced as law.
The characters were all well written and rounded, I’d like to read spin-off novels from some of the others viewpoints. How did Steven feel about his beliefs being turned on their heads? Was Patrick really as stoic as he appeared about his wife’s affair and his mission? We only touched on the fact there are twin boys growing up in a male dominated world also – the laws not only took away choices for women, men were also expected to comply. It could have actually been a much longer novel, towards the end I felt things were happening very fast and I’d have liked to have found out more about the other characters.
Maybe one to read again?
I haven’t put a Book Fairy sticker on the front yet (in our house that’s a sign that a book is ready for it’s next home) as I may re-read it and I also think my sister would enjoy it (she’ll Book Fairy it after that). In summary it’s a book that touches on alternative futures – and also reminds us how far equality has come, and why it’s so important to make a stand to keep it.
Upon reflection, I have some more thoughts
It’s now the day after I wrote the review above and the day after I finished Vox. And I’m still mulling it over. After reading mixed and at times strongly opinionated reviews on Goodreads, I felt I needed to look again at what I was thinking. I won’t get embroiled in the debates about whether or not it was right to use Christianity as the main religion of the controlling powers – my main thought is that in reality most of the current government are white Christians so it’s reflecting that.
My main thoughts were around it being classed as a feminist novel. I’ve rechecked the front and back cover, I can’t see it the word feminist anywhere though it does say “a novel ripe for the era of #metoo”. It may have been better promoted as a dystopian thriller. The main character is flawed and does not appear to be a strong feminist – she mainly makes her choices to protect herself and family. She is no Jane Eyre. Also the novel has a range of women including the stereotyped protester and a Stepford wife. I actually don’t have an issue with the mix of women as I find it realistic, I know many women who have these opposing views. Jean herself felt that a real man would fight for her and she implies that the gentleness of her husband is a weakness.
As before, if it wasn’t classed as a feminist novel then it may have received more balanced reviews. In the same vein the men were also a mixed bunch. There are “baddies” and heroes. I felt neither gender were better overall than the other.
Many reviews echoced my earlier thoughts that some of the characters weren’t explored enough and the ending was rushed and I still agree with that.
I’d love to know what other readers think. Even with the above areas needing more depth I feel that it made me think. And then think some more.
Thank you Verity for your insightful review of Vox! Readers of Vox are free to comment on this blog entry to discuss 🙂
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