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Sunday, May 10, 2020

#ATBR2020 Review: Master Class by Christina Dalcher @jessmapreviews

Master Class 
by Christina Dalcher

Thank you NetGalley and Berkley for these advanced reads.

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: April 21, 2020
Kindle Edition
336 Pages
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction

It’s impossible to know what you will do…

Every child's potential is regularly determined by a standardized measurement: their quotient (Q). Score high enough, and attend a top tier school with a golden future. Score too low, and it's off to a federal boarding school with limited prospects afterwards. The purpose? An improved society where education costs drop, teachers focus on the more promising students, and parents are happy.

When your child is taken from you.

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state's elite schools. When her nine-year-old daughter bombs a monthly test and her Q score drops to a disastrously low level, she is immediately forced to leave her top school for a federal institution hundreds of miles away. As a teacher, Elena thought she understood the tiered educational system, but as a mother whose child is now gone, Elena's perspective is changed forever. She just wants her daughter back.

And she will do the unthinkable to make it happen.

My Review:

I want to crawl inside Dalcher's brain and live there for a bit.  The concept of Vox, which I read a couple years ago, and now Master Class are spectacular.  Dystopian science fiction and eerily plausible.  Please please do not let this actually happen to our already weird, doesn't seem real, world - we have it weird enough these days!

I definitely remember when I was younger wishing that the popular, sometimes not the sharpest crayon in the box, people would get away with murder and I wished people would just see how stupid they really were.  I couldn't imagine a society where now we are ranked based purely on our IQ and then treated accordingly.  Aren't ideas spectacular until somehow they bite you in the ass?

Uff, I had a hard time with these characters but admittedly love to hate on characters and weirdly happy with the ending because of this.... you'll have to read to get me at all here.  The couple of issues I did have was that the first half of this book seemed to drag.  Luckily it was easy and fast reading to get me to this point... I was intrigued just enough to see what was going on.  Then it started to finally get good.  But I still didn't feel like there was enough meat.... it was like just knowing enough of the ins and outs without feeling like you're actually there.  I would also have loved to get the POV of Freddie...  but admittedly, this wasn't entirely necessary, just something I would have liked to have seen. 

I'm so curious about Dalcher's mind and where she gets such eerie premises.  I certainly want to see what she brings us next.  


Jessica's Review:

I had read and enjoyed VOX by Christina Dalcher, so I was curious to see what kind of suspense meets science fiction read she would bring us next! We get another thought-provoking book set in a dystopian future that doesn’t seem entirely out of the realm of possibility. I think these are the best kind of books within this genre – I like when you don’t have to suspend too much belief and I think it adds an ominous tone.
Imagine living in a world where your life is dependent on one number – a number that could make or break the success of your future and your family’s future. Welcome to a world where children are regularly tested and given a Quotient, or Q score. This number determines their futures. The higher the rating means the kids can go to the top tier schools and are given better chances at brighter futures. Score too low and you’re sent to a federal boarding school away from your family and your future prospects aren’t too promising when you leave.
Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the best top tier schools where both of her children attend. Elena’s belief in the educational system and the Q scoring comes into question when her youngest daughter, Freddy, fails one of her exams and is sent to the federal institute where she has limited visiting with her family (a half hour every month). She is determined to get her daughter back, no matter the cost.
That ending. I was not expecting that! This had an addictive pacing to it and the added history that Dalcher included made this feel even more possible and real. I definitely learned quite a bit and it will more than likely lead you into a rabbit hole of Google searches afterwards (I know other reviewers have also mentioned this!). This raises so many questions about the educational system and I love a thought provoking read. I did enjoy this one more than VOX and I’m really curious to see what kind of dystopian world Dalcher will create for us next.
4 stars

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