Ever since I read VOX, I’ve been waiting in anticipation for the next Christina Dalcher novel, Q. With a debut so strong, could the follow up live up to its former. Well the wait is over, I managed to get hold of a copy through Netgallery and leapt into it with gusto and a little trepidation.
The new novel is another dystopia set in the near future. This time it centres on education. Everyone has their ‘Q’ measured. They get ID cards assigned to the value they attain. Gold is the top level and means that they get preferential treatment in every area of life. Score down in yellow and you’ll have to queue everywhere. It’s the same in schools where tests get you into the gold, silver, green or worse yellow state schools.
Elena is one of the elite, able to jump queues and gain better service by showing her gold card. Her husband is one of the ruling party, pushing always new policies that enforce these levels. Their two daughters, Alice and Freddie, are different. Alice is sixteen, secure and bright. Freddie is anxious and worries about tests all the time. When Freddie fails a test, their world is turned upsides down.
At first I had the nagging feeling that the book would follow the actions of the first and was a little disappointed. Reading on though the feeling left me, and I was sucked into the new world. The book never drops pace and the story keeps giving more.
I have to say whilst it may not be as earth shattering as VOX, it still had me thinking about if this was possible. Looking at the current leadership in the USA, then I could readily believe the ideas that bring the horror in both her books are very real and plausible. This books looks at the shady world of eugenics and the way they could be used today to split society.
Books like Christina Dalcher writes are so important as they show consequences of our actions or the actions of others. I look forward to the next book.