Vox is a book reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, set in a dystopian future in which females are limited to speaking only 100 words per day. The punishment for exceeding your daily word limit? A thousand volts of electricity coursing through your body thanks to the wristband locked on to you.
But it wasn’t just their voices, soon women are also unable to hold jobs (or passports, or bank accounts), girls aren’t being taught to read and write in school, and boys are being brainwashed in school to think this is the ‘right’ way of the world. Our main character, Jean McLellan, is soon set with a task by the government that only she can get done as an eminent doctor in her life before the takeover. Thus, she can reclaim her voice and start trying to right the wrongs of the current people in power.
Though the premise was interesting, I felt like this book fell just short of the mark for me. Whether that’s because I’ve recently read The Testaments & to follow up with another narrative in the same vein is unfair to anyone who isn’t Margaret Atwood, I’m not sure. While the novel was spooky in that given today’s political climate you can kind of see this actually happening, I felt like more could have been done with the writing to give more than just one or two characters the chance to fight back in a ‘real’ way.
Then there were the characters…I didn’t hate them, but I also didn’t really connect to any of them. The men were either weak or caricatures, and the women didn’t get much airtime (I imagine given the premise of the book…they don’t get to say much). I might have preferred this read if I were able to see the perspectives of multiple characters like Jean’s husband, and one or two members of the resistance, maybe even Lin (a female doctor/researcher who works with Jean).
I don’t really have much more to say on this one…I liked the premise but the execution fell a bit flat for me, and I’d probably recommend sticking to The Handmaid’s Tale and/or The Testaments, unless you really love dystopian lit and will gobble it up in whatever form it takes. I also know many have enjoyed this book more than I did, so maybe you should read it and see!
Read if: You like dystopian literature with a side of deceit.
Page Length: 327
How do you feel about dystopian literature? Do you have any favourite reads in the genre?