Vox by Christina Dalcher

January 12, 2019  • 

I’d heard good things about Vox online, so when Amazon had it available for 99p I downloaded it to the Kindle app on my iPad. It got a lot of praise for being an exciting new dystopia.

But it was basically The Handmaid’s Tale.

A iPad displaying the cover of Vox.

Luckily, I love The Handmaid’s Tale. One of the benefits of being Canadian and having to read Canadian authors in high school is early exposure to Margaret Atwood. So The Handmaid’s Tale has been a fundamental piece of my feminist upbringing for a long time.

For the most part, I enjoyed Vox. It had those Handmaid vibes. I wanted to know what had happened in the world to lead to the story, and what would happen. I finished the book fairly quickly with only a few breaks. But it had some pretty big problems.

As a quick summary, Vox takes place in the USA after your typical fundamentalist uprising. The change in government is fairly recent, with the women of the country being sentenced to a life of domestic servitude and traditional family values for just over a year. The differentiator between Vox and Handmaid is that all women are made to wear a counter on their wrist that shocks them if they speak over 100 words per day.

Other than that, the protagonist is able to drive herself wherever she wants, wear jeans, etc. So there are restrictions but it’s not completely restricted. This aspect confused me a bit because it all seemed a bit arbitrary.

I enjoyed the world-building, but there seemed to be a few too many holes in it. I also enjoyed the actual action of the book. There was a nice build up to what the characters were trying to accomplish. But the actual climax of everything was FAR too rushed. It was fast, messy and confusing.

Worst of all, in a story supposedly about women, giving women a voice, and empowerment, this very quick and confusing resolution is all about the men. Men save the day once again. And they do it FAST. By the end of the novel, the country is already well on its way to fixing all the systematic problems that probably took years and years to put into place.

It feels a bit as if whomever comes after Donald Trump was actually a really nice guy and he just waved his arms and said “SEXISM IS OVER” and then sexism was actually over. It’s not really going to be that simple, is it?

So, yes, it was an interesting read, with a disappointing ending.

A iPad displaying the cover of Vox.

Thank you for reading!

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  • This sounds a lot like The Handmaid’s Tale, and I only have a rough understanding of what happens in the book (I haven’t read it yet, I’m sad to admit). These days there are a lot of books being recycled with slightly different plots, and I suppose you could say Vox is one of those. I can’t say I’m a fan of the men-focused resolution, either. Seems pointless considering the book is supposed to be about women… Ah, well.

    Good review! I doubt I’ll pick this one up on my own, but for 99p that isn’t so bad.