Time for short reviews to let you know about some books I read and… didn’t have much to say about!
Author: Christina Dalcher
Date of publication: March 2019
How I got it: present from a friend
Number of pages: 388
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…
Unpopular opinion incoming!
The hype surrounding Vox kept me at bay for a while. I played the hype game a lot when I was a baby blogger and learned my lesson. However, when my dear friend Inge gifted me a copy of Christina Dalcher’s novel, I felt a chill. I was ready to see what the talk was about.
The premise really has a lot of potential and the first half of the book, while quite slow, builds the picture of a scary world. Women unauthorized to voice more than a hundred words a day? What is wrong with people??? Was it a punch at all those nasty tongues saying women talk too much? This, and women’s conditions really ignited outrage in me. I was fascinated and repulsed! I had much hope Jean would not let her daughter grow up in such a terrible terrible country. There were enough details for me to get a sense of how the world had slipped down that path, so I didn’t feel I was missing much information but… But there a but. Or several ones.
Vox has been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. I haven’t read the book but I am hooked on the TV show and no, I do not agree with this statement. Where other dystopian worlds see their main protagonist find a way and a motivation to rebel against a government, weapons, monsters, whatever, Vox failed when it comes to the battle. Jean became a mere bystander despite most of the book building its strength on her suffocating over her 100 words. When the time comes to act, she is relegated to a secondary character, used in a love triangle that doesn’t bring anything to the story, and ends up not being much in the resolve of the issues at hand.
What started as a promising and exciting read turned into a boring, by-the-rules science-fiction novel that didn’t shake my foundations. Vox didn’t leave me speechless.
Title: Dear Child
Author: Romy Hausmann
Date of publication: February 2020
Number of pages: 343
How I got it: proof kindly sent by the publisher
A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: Meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.
One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace 14 years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t quite seem to fit.
I first heard of Dear Child at Capital Crime last year when I teamed up with my partners in crime to release the teaser out of a cage!
I was intrigued by the little information I had. The teaser only managed to increase my curiosity.
“This thriller starts where others end”
Yes, there is tension. Yes, the different POVs all have secrets and it makes for a compelling read, although I did feel it dragged at times.
Once one of the big surprise is out, it’s about who is hiding what and where loyalty lies. If it makes for an okay beach read, I was not convinced, even by the ending twist. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, and struggled to keep going, hence my short review excluding almost any event of the book! I am aware many readers have loved the book, I stand on the unpopular side again!
Have you read those books? Did you enjoy them?