Q by Christina Dalcher

My thanks to the publisher HQ for inviting me to take part in this very special blogger takeover, ahead of the release of Q tomorrow (30th April). The decision to take part in this takeover was my own, and this review forms my honest opinion.


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…


I read VOX last year, and I loved it so much that it became the initial inspiration for my Masters dissertation, therefore, when offered the opportunity to read Q, I jumped at the chance.

Another dystopian world, Q focuses on an America in which a social hieracrchy is established by way of Q; a set of tests and algorithms which denote intelligence. It’s an intriguing concept, and quite easy to see how this world could have come into being. It feels somehow even closer to reality than VOX, particularly as I have often thought that a more child centred education system; that being a system which focuses on the aptitudes, talents and interests of the child, would be far more successful than a one for all approach. My thought process has always been based on seeing children who struggle in an academic setting, forced to sit through classes they have no interest in nor which will serve them in any capacity in the real world. So many children are made to useless because they struggle with academic subjects, when very often they excel elsewhere. Talents which aren’t tested and don’t contribute to statistics, but should be encouraged and allowed to flourish.

I digress…however, I found it incredibly easy to see how this world could exist, and how the path to where this particular novel ended up could be taken if the wrong people with the wrong intentions took power.

In Q, Elena Fairchild, a teacher at one of the most elite schools, and mother of two daughters, is devastated when her youngest daughter fails to achieve the required mark in her Q test and is sent away to a state school. Scared for her daughter, she then fails her own test in order to be closer to her, setting her on a path of discovery as to what lies behind the facade of perfection.

I found Q to be an enjoyable and immersive read, if not quite as impactful as VOX. The main character, Elena was a complex character, although not one I particularly liked. Her journey was an interesting one, particularly when coupled with the parallels of her heritage. I’d love to have read this as a book club read, as her character development is something I’d really appreciate discussion about within a group setting. I found her to be fascinating, a real product of her experiences and the world in which she lived.

If you enjoyed VOX, it is highly likely that you will also enjoy Q and stylistically, there are many similarities between the two books. For her third novel, I’d love for the author to dare to be a little more different. I really enjoy her style of writing and her ability to tell a compelling story – I find myself very easily drawn in – but the parallels between the two books ran a little too close so that a third novel in the same vein would dilute the expectation somewhat. However, Q is hugely enjoyable novel in its own right. Christina Dalcher is without doubt an author I would recommend.

4 thoughts on “Q by Christina Dalcher

    1. Ah, I’m blushing! It’d be interesting to see if a reader read Q first, then VOX, if they’d feel the same way. I think VOX put certain expectations in the mind that made Q feel less fresh x


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