Q, Christina Dalcher: Book Review

From the author of best-seller and Bookmark That highly rated ‘Vox’, we have by Christina Dalcher, which is well worth the read.

The plot:

In this world, perfection is everything.

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfect.

Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.

Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.

But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…

I got a big buzz when I finished the story

It sounds like a great read from the synopsis, and it won’t let you down.

If you loved the political messages raised in Vox, you’ll love Q. It was less violent, but more “in your face, this is happening right now” vibe. I definitely found this more unsettling; the topics raised are much more relevant in comparison, and harsh/uncomfortable, but needs to be said.

Dalcher has not held back here – the imagery is much more apparent, and we follow a woman who is torn between right and wrong. It’s mind-blowing when you’re reading it, but as time has gone on, I think much more about Vox than I do about this.

It speeds up quite a lot in the last 80-odd pages. Elena doesn’t actually go to the school until quite late, and the lead-up is more on the moral dilemma between her going and risking losing a score for her other daughter. I think this structure was done well, and there’s lots of setting the scene which is highly appreciated when you’re imagining a different world, but I also would’ve liked some more in the latter part.

I would have liked a different point of view to break up the text – it would have been really interesting to see into the mind of Malcom, or even the politician who is making these decisions. It is focused on an upper middle-class woman, who is now shocked because she never thought it would happen to her – I do believe that there should have been others from different social backgrounds represented. It’s all well and good focusing on the woman who realises right from wrong when something has happened to her, but what about the others who face these issues daily? There is a slight graze on another family, but I need a whole viewpoint, especially when the message needs to be more hard-hitting for others.

Chapters are short, so it’s a quick read – the topic makes it not so. I found myself cringing from certain parts, and just the whole topic makes it scary.

The jury is still out on this one. I liked the message, and it needs to be said, but I’m a bit fed up with the middle-class women POV and it being ‘too late’. I got a big buzz when I finished the story, but looking back, there were a few issues to raise. 

Check out my review of Vox here.

Q, Christina Dalcher, RRP £12.99 (hardback); Book Depository 

Pages: 319

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Thriller / Dystopian

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