I thought it would be fun to share some of my 5-star reads, some of the books that have made it onto my favourite lists in Goodreads. Some will be recent and some will be from years ago, but 5-star reads need to be shared.
To start this new feature, which will hopefully become a weekly post or at the very least a monthly post I thought I would pick a more recent read. A book I read and loved back in April of this year, but one I never quite got around to reviewing.
Vox by Christina Dalcher
Coming from a journalistic background the title Vox immediately caught my attention because during my training I collected a whole range of Vox Pops, which is a term derived from the Latin phrase – vox populi, meaning voice of the people.
Vox = voice.
Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.
Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.
Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.
For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…
[100 WORD LIMIT REACHED]
I loved it and I’m pretty sure Vox by Christina Dalcher will be making it into my top 10 reads for the whole year. Before I even finished Vox, I realised that it was going to make my re-read shelf. I knew this was a book for me very early on. I liked it. I needed something a bit different after reading too many drama/crime novels and Vox delivered that.
If you have read any of my previous book reviews you might notice that I hardly ever use star ratings, I find them useful in some cases but misleading in others. It’s a personal thing. If you use them then great. For me, Vox is a prime example of why I don’t let a star rating decide whether I pick up a book or not. Goodreads has Vox sitting at just below a 3.6-star rating. I would say that is a very average rating, but I thought this book was well above average.
I thought the writing was great, the characters were smart and I felt for them. I also loved the science parts and found the whole lab based research into the Wernicke’s area (the brain region that underpins our linguistic abilities) and the devastating complications that can occur to our verbal communication skills if the Wernicke’s area is not fully functioning or damaged, fascinating.
The whole futuristic world where women are limited and allowed to only speak 100 words a day is a horrifying thought.
100 words a day to me is hardly any. Nothing. Not telling my daughter I love her whenever I want. Not talking to my husband about mine/his day. Not talking to my dog, which I do more than I should probably admit. Not talking to my best friend, not hearing her voice. 100 words. 100.
No writing. No reading. No hand signals. No communication. Only 100 words. Torture. I easily waste that amount of words talking to myself in the shower.
I did feel that the author was heavily influenced by The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood. But since I am very much enjoying The Handmaid’s TV series it was something I didn’t mind. Vox has a lot of points for discussion and messages wrapped in it. I love a book that can get people talking.
Now it wasn’t perfect – but it still gets the full 5 stars from me. I don’t need perfect, I need a book that leaves me thinking about it long after I finish the last page. A book that has me picking it every spare moment I have. I want memorable. And with Vox I got something that has the potential for discussion and I feel like I learned something. I want to recommend Vox.
As for the negatives, I did think there was a lot of background information that wasn’t sufficiently explained and the world building was maybe a bit weak. I wanted to know how the world ended up as it did. How did it get to the point that women only got 100 words a day? How was it allowed to happen?
I also didn’t love the ending. If I am honest I thought it was a tad disappointing. It finished all a bit too neatly, to conclusive. I think a slightly more gritty ending would have possibly suited the story more.
I would love a sequel or a prequel.
Have you read it? If not, then let me strongly recommend it.
I purchased my own copy of Vox by Christina Dalcher.