Wednesday 29 April 2020

Q - Christina Dalcher


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 perfection.

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…

What did I think?

I enjoyed Christina Dalcher's debut, Vox, but WOW she has completely outdone herself with her second dystopian thriller, QQ is so addictive that I found it impossible to put down and only ended up reading it in two sittings because I had to sleep in between.  If I'd timed it right, I definitely would have read it in one sitting.

I started reading Q and thought it was going to be a story about motherhood and Elena's fight to keep her daughters safe, which it is to a degree but oh my word it is so much more than that.  Everyone in this dystopian future is continually tested and given a Q rating; the pressure to perform has never been more intense, especially when under-performance has such drastic consequences.  

Elena has two daughters: Anne who seems to glide through school effortlessly and wears her Q number with pride and Freddie who struggles with the pressure of tests and sees her Q number dropping like a stone.  Elena loves both her daughters but her husband Malcolm doesn't have any time for Freddie and is only interested in his perfect daughter Anne.  Malcolm is an absolutely vile character; it's like he's a robot with no feelings for his family unless they are performing to the perfect standards that he was instrumental in implementing.  Elena deserves extra points just for putting up with him!

Q completely floored me; it's shocking, horrifying, disturbing and completely believable, especially as the novel is inspired by real historical events.  Events that we don't learn in history class as they are far too horrific and disturbing.  Although I'd never heard of the American Eugenics Movement, I was aware of the Nazi eugenics program where Hitler planned to produce a pure Aryan race.  Never has a book been more thought-provoking and actively demanding of further research; you simply can't read Q and be unaffected by the subject matter.  I just hope I haven't set off an alarm in MI5 with all of my googling of eugenics.

Q is absolutely brilliant; it's a novel that has remained in my thoughts long after I finished reading.  It's a shocking, stunning and compelling book that I want to read again and I can't recommend it highly enough.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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