Master Class
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.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.

Master Class Details

TitleMaster Class
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherBerkley
ISBN-139780440000853
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Dystopia, Fiction

Master Class Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I NEED A DRINK RIGHT NOW! Im suffocating!!! Wooww! What kind of crazy roller coaster I climbed into!!! I confess! I love horror movies! I can handle zombies, serial killers, vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, bloody teen slashers, anything dark, vomiting kind of disgusting, irritating, nerve bending, even I can tolerate to watch Fox news for five minutes or predatory animals adventures on National Geographic Wild! I have high pain tolerance. But this book FROZE MY BLOOD, BLEW MY MIND AND I NEED A DRINK RIGHT NOW! I’m suffocating!!! Wooww! What kind of crazy roller coaster I climbed into!!! I confess! I love horror movies! I can handle zombies, serial killers, vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, bloody teen slashers, anything dark, vomiting kind of disgusting, irritating, nerve bending, even I can tolerate to watch Fox news for five minutes or predatory animals’ adventures on National Geographic Wild! I have high pain tolerance. But this book FROZE MY BLOOD, BLEW MY MIND AND TERRIFIED THE HELL OUT OF ME because it’s so dark, depressing, mind-f*cking, horrifying and REALISTIC! I keep reading the news and see the winnings of right-wing populists at all over the world starting from European countries to Brazil, including some of the Eastern, Middle Eastern countries and of course in the US. Think about yourself in a world that you’re not fleshy human being with full of emotions, beliefs, opinions, decisions. Your full value could be integrated in an unique number. The number consisted of your smartness, your financial capabilities, your pure genetic perfectness (you need to be white, healthy, fertile, without any psychical or mental disability)They call your number “Q” which identifies who you are, what you are capable of, which school you may attend, where you could live, what the ideal occupation you could focus on. As a summary your Q is your path finder. It never tolerates with immigrants, LGBTQ community, mediocre or low IQ-ed population, disability. See welcome to the new world is created by incarnated Hitler youth! ( I know at those pages I used several “F” words and spent all of my coins for cursing jar!)So this quiet brilliant, provoking story is not only about the criticizing the political system and scaring us about probable balance changes, it is also about Elena Fairchild who is brilliant teacher, exampled citizen of the system with her high Q point. But few years ago she made two terrible mistake. For getting approval of her mean girls’ club she harassed a loner girl in her high school who ended her life and the other mistake was she chose to marry with a wrong guy who became a predator to serve the system for creating True Aryan Genesis. Malcolm Fairchild , has a respectable position in the government and works on genocide project to form an unique populated society consisted of white, rich, intelligent, chosen American people. ( Oh Malcolm, I haven’t read about a pure evil since I read true crime books about Manson family so you over exceeded my expectations! I don’t know how many times I screamed “Burn in hell” when I’m reading your parts! By the way, why do you carry similar name with Morgan Fairchild- a.k.a Chandler Bing’s mother- I love the author’s quirky and dark sense of humor!) So Elena has a big dilemna. She has two girls: Anna and Freddy. Anna is the successful, father’s smart girl but Freddy is on the spectrum of Asperger. ( The monster husband wanted her aborted but Elena changed the Q score of baby to prevent this! It was a necessary precaution at that time but how long she can protect her daughter!) Now Freddy fails her test and she needs to get transferred to the public school located in Kansas. And Elena could not bring her home by turning into Dorothy and clicking her heels. Because they are not gonna be in Kansas anymore. The place her daughter is sent for her education is some kind of refugee camp of expendable outsiders. They’re forced to work at the corn fields. Thankfully they are not chained and guarded by gunned white trash guardians. Elena needs to make Sophie’s choice and go for her girl by leaving behind the other one with her monstrous husband. But could she fight against the corrupted system? Could she bring her girl to the home? How far she could sacrifice to do the right thing with dangerous methods?Read, weep, sigh, read, scream, drink few glasses to cool down, read, scream more: That was my survival formula for this book!I didn’t read Vox because of mixed reviews but when it comes to this dark, sick, terrifyingly dangerous, borderline, stunning, riveting, mind blowing story, I couldn’t stop myself and finished it faster than I expected. So my 3.75 stars rounded up to 4! Ending was so cruel for me but I know it was necessary and right conclusion for this kind of bloody story!This book is not for everyone. But if you want it darker, surely the author gives you the flame. Well done! Salute!Thanks to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing for sharing this provoking, mind bending, amazing ARC COPY with me in exchange my pure honest review and thanks to the over imaginative, pure dark and realistic mind of Christina Dalcher for creating one of the most controversial books of 2020. I cannot wait to read more works of her.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to #GoodreadGiveaways, Berkley Publishing Group and Christina Dalcher for the ARC!4 StarsPrepare to be terrified! Can you imagine a time when the future of every child is categorized based on a persons Q (Quotient) Score? Score high and the world is your oyster, score low and boom your descent happens instantaneously like youre on the Tower of Terror! Growing up, Elena never imagined that the plans she and Malcolm Fairchild outlined would become the framework for our government. If Thank you to #GoodreadGiveaways, Berkley Publishing Group and Christina Dalcher for the ARC!4 StarsPrepare to be terrified! Can you imagine a time when the future of every child is categorized based on a person’s Q (Quotient) Score? Score high and the world is your oyster, score low and boom… your descent happens instantaneously like you’re on the Tower of Terror! Growing up, Elena never imagined that the plans she and Malcolm Fairchild outlined would become the framework for our government. If only Elena could turn back time..Now married, with two children, Elena and Malcolm are on different sides of this extremely difficult agenda. Anna is an outstanding student with the best Q score, while Freddie has an extremely low Q. Freddie just failed her most recent exam and has received a yellow card and will be shipped off to a boarding school in Kansas on the next bus. As a Government Official, Malcolm is supportive of this outcome, while Elena, a Teacher at an Elite Green School, is not, yet doing something to help Freddie would take extremely drastic measures. You know what they say about drastic times.. To say that Christina Dalcher’s writing astounds me is not enough. The fact is, I cannot do this novel justice. I simply adore her writing. A follow up to “Vox” - I had no idea what I was in for reading “Master Class” all I can say is that it was worth the wait.In “Master Class” by Christina Dalcher, all is not as it seems. Admittedly, this book gave me pause for a myriad of reasons. The themes in this novel include: Family, love, liberty and equality, empowerment, women’s rights and the need to speak up when we are made and/or told not to, I could go on and on. This novel is utterly terrifying, brilliant, and shocking to boot. While I didn’t quite love it as much as “Vox,” - it has so many themes that vex and trouble and it will sit with me for quite a while. I commend Ms. Dalcher for consistently writing novels that niggle at the reader and make them think and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.This was a fabulous buddy read with Kaceey that really got us talking!Published on Goodreads on 1.12.20.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    3.75*An insightful, thought-provoking dystopian thriller.Christina Dalcher became a household name with her release of the highly controversial book Vox! It lit the world of dystopian book readers on fire. Now shes back with her newest offering that will once again have everyone buzzing! Sohow would you feel about living in a world where everyone is perfect? And I do mean everyone! You will be defined and judged purely by your Q score. Everyone fortunate enough to have a Q over nine will enjoy 3.75*An insightful, thought-provoking dystopian thriller.Christina Dalcher became a household name with her release of the highly controversial book Vox! It lit the world of dystopian book readers on fire. Now she’s back with her newest offering that will once again have everyone buzzing! So…how would you feel about living in a world where everyone is perfect? And I do mean everyone! You will be defined and judged purely by your Q score. Everyone fortunate enough to have a Q over nine will enjoy the finer things in life. Best jobs, neighborhoods, no long lines for anything. BUT…If you should dip below a 9? Well, let’s just say your life becomes rather difficult. As for the children, their fate is even worse. Should you drop too far below that desirable Q of nine, you’ll be issued a dreaded yellow card and whisked off to a state-run school. And trust me, NO ONE wants that card! I treasure my heart-thumping dystopian thrillers, with unpredictable future scenarios to scare me half to death! That’s exactly what was delivered in the first half of this book. Then it seemed to drift off somewhat...There’s a strong message infused throughout this book! One that needs to be told. But on the fine line between sharing that message and writing a purely dystopian thriller...the thriller side took a backseat.Did this latest thriller have the impact that Vox provided? For me...no. But Christina Dalcher is a brilliant novelist and I'm still looking forward to her next release.A buddy read with Susanne.Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing (and Susanne) for an ARC to read and review.
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  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    A huge thank you to Berkley and the author for sending a free copy in exchange for an honest reviewYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!
  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I dont often read science fiction. But I can really appreciate a well done dystopian book that has a premise taken from the current state of affairs. Master Class proposes a world where a childs future is totally based on a standardized measurement, their Quotient. This score acts as a caste system, determining education and job possibilities. It doesnt take into account other strengths, such as artistic ability. Or even the concept that a person might be a genius in one area but not all. Or God I don’t often read science fiction. But I can really appreciate a well done dystopian book that has a premise taken from the current state of affairs. Master Class proposes a world where a child’s future is totally based on a standardized measurement, their Quotient. This score acts as a caste system, determining education and job possibilities. It doesn’t take into account other strengths, such as artistic ability. Or even the concept that a person might be a genius in one area but not all. Or God forbid, somewhere on the autism scale. It’s the exact opposite of The No Child Left Behind premise. This is Eugenics 2.0.I did wonder if I was the only one that saw a similarity between the head of the Dept of Education in the book and Betsy DeVos. In the book, Elena’s husband works for this Betsy DeVos takeoff and fully supports the party line. So much so, that when his younger daughter’s Q number slips, he’s willing to just let her go. But Elena is not. But then she’s faced with a Sophie’s choice type of dilemma. This book is scary and depressing. It was one of those books I had to keep putting down because it was freaking me out. Malcolm, the husband, made me cringe. How he could turn against his younger daughter is just appalling. The book also points out how often we, as people, are willing to turn a blind eye to something until it affects us personally. I didn’t read Vox, but having finished Master Class I definitely want to go back and read it. Dalcher has that unique ability to take a premise and draw it out to its scary future possibility. This book raises some truly meaningful questions. My thanks to netgalley and Berkley for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    In society we are already being judged by our race, religion, class and colour, but imagine a world where you are also judged on youre IQ. The high achievers have the best jobs and even get a special checkout at the supermarket!!Elena is a teacher at an elite school, pupils are tested monthly and depending on their results can be moved to different schools. Elena believes in the system until her daughter Freddie fails her tests. For Freddie and for all the others who fail, there are boarding In society we are already being judged by our race, religion, class and colour, but imagine a world where you are also judged on you’re IQ. The high achievers have the best jobs and even get a special checkout at the supermarket!!Elena is a teacher at an elite school, pupils are tested monthly and depending on their results can be moved to different schools. Elena believes in the system until her daughter Freddie fails her tests. For Freddie and for all the others who fail, there are boarding schools out of state where they are sent and parents can only visit for 30 minutes once a month. Elena decides to fail her test so she can find her daughter and bring her home. The story explores motherhood and what you would do to protect you’re family. An unusual twist is that her husband helped set up the system that she is now going against!!This book had me hooked from start to finish. I read it believing this could actually happen and made me wonder how different my life would be. I loved the use of the iconic yellow bus which to me symbolises happy school children, but in this book the yellow bus comes once a month to pick up the children, but they never return.A thought provoking book with an ending that I wasn’t expecting. A must read, shocking but very addictive.Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    This is story is set in a dystopian future where a persons IQ determines every aspect of their life. Students are regularly tested and depending on their results moved into different schools. If someone continues to fail the tests they are sent to a state school away from their family.A chilling look at a world where a persons contribution to society is the ultimate goal.Thank you to NetGalley and HQ for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    I was not a fan of Vox but I am super excited to give this author another try!
  • Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 rounded upChristina Dalcher has a way of writing that makes the implausible seem plausible.While I enjoyed her first book Vox more, I still thought Master Class was really good... and that ending!
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. I really liked the concept. Although mainly fictional it is partly based on true life, which is very scary.However, I just don't think it was executed that well I really struggled with the writing style. It wasn't easy to read or that engaging.It took a long time for anything to happen. The first 150 pages were quite a chore to get through. It's been marketed as a thriller. Personally I wouldn't say it's a thriller, it's more I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. I really liked the concept. Although mainly fictional it is partly based on true life, which is very scary.However, I just don't think it was executed that well I really struggled with the writing style. It wasn't easy to read or that engaging.It took a long time for anything to happen. The first 150 pages were quite a chore to get through. It's been marketed as a thriller. Personally I wouldn't say it's a thriller, it's more of a dystopian book. I just found it quite boring. There wasn't much really happening, until the end and then I felt like it was wrapped up too quickly.I didn't like how it went back and forth in time and I also did not like how the chapters weren't labelled with the characters name. It kind of confusing in places, with whose perspective I was following. Overall, I was disappointed by this one. It had a strong concept but the writing and pace didn't do much for me unfortunately
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  • Karen’s Library
    January 1, 1970
    As a fan of Christina Dalcher's Vox, I knew I had to read her newest book, Master Class. These books are both the kind of dystopian tales that scare the bejeebies out of me, but that I love.Master Class did not disappoint in that area. In fact, because it's based on real historical events, it's much too plausible. The story is scary, heartwrenching, and the ending was bittersweet.Elena and Malcolm and their daughters are the perfect family living perfect lives because their Q (intelligence) As a fan of Christina Dalcher's Vox, I knew I had to read her newest book, Master Class. These books are both the kind of dystopian tales that scare the bejeebies out of me, but that I love.Master Class did not disappoint in that area. In fact, because it's based on real historical events, it's much too plausible. The story is scary, heartwrenching, and the ending was bittersweet.Elena and Malcolm and their daughters are the perfect family living perfect lives because their Q (intelligence) ratings are high. They get to live in the more elite part of town, attend the best schools, have short or no lines at the grocery stores, have the best jobs, etc...That is...Until their youngest daughter's Q drops to the yellow status. 9 year old Freddie is taken away on the dreaded yellow bus to a state run school in Kansas where her family will be unable to visit except for a few hours every 3 months.Elena can't handle the thought of her daughter being alone in a strange place so does whatever she can to get Freddie out, and finds herself in a nightmare situation.This book was so thought-provoking and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough through the last half. *Thank you to NetGalley and to Berkley Publishing Group for the advance copy!*
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  • Sambora
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected proof copy of Q, in exchange for an honest review.And honest I shall be...Q is the second book written by Christina Dalcher. I read her first book, VOX, last year and unfortunately I really didn't enjoy it. My spoiler-filled review for that can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...I was initially going to pass on reading this because of my bad experience with VOX, but I was interested to see how (and if) Dalcher's writing and storytelling had I received an uncorrected proof copy of Q, in exchange for an honest review.And honest I shall be...Q is the second book written by Christina Dalcher. I read her first book, VOX, last year and unfortunately I really didn't enjoy it. My spoiler-filled review for that can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...I was initially going to pass on reading this because of my bad experience with VOX, but I was interested to see how (and if) Dalcher's writing and storytelling had developed.This review will reference VOX fairly often, but I hope to make my points clearly enough so as not to have made it necessary to have read it to understand my criticisms.In addition I shall add that you may even prefer this book if you haven't read VOX, because at their core they are ostensibly the same book. I shall break it down.Spoiler-free Story Overview:Q is the story of Elena Fairchild - a teacher at an elite school, and her family. A recent mandate has swept the country that is all about striving for "perfection". Everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any child who doesn't measure up is transferred to new government schools, so that teachers may focus on the gifted and the perfect.When one of Elena's daughter's Q scores takes a dive she is taken away and Elena does what she can to get her back.I shall start by saying that the writing itself, whilst I still think it a far cry from "great", has improved somewhat since the last book. There aren't half as many confusing tangents or ill-fitting scenes pasted throughout the book. I found it easy to read quickly, which I appreciated. Take that as you will.VOX was a short story that was padded out and sold as a full length novel at the perfect time. It had some themes and not-so-subtle complaints and criticisms about the then current state of affairs in the US, and it found it's market amongst people who were looking for more 'Handmaid's Tale' type stories.Q, however, is just a lazy re-skinning of the same plot, characters, messages and themes of VOX with the names swapped out and the central idea being based around the education system, rather than women's rights and linguistics.There are far too many similarities to write about them all, but I shall compile a key few of them into concise bullet points:• The 'Pure Movement' is now the 'Fitter Family Campaign'. Badges, figurehead, iconography and all.• Instead of the Italian sub-plot we saw in VOX, we have the German one here in Q.• It features the same bland, first person POV, from a mother of a nuclear family. Highly educated and very middle class. No deviation at all, to the point that they could have been the same character.• A husband who works for the government, who is almost directly credited for the new system being implemented and enforced. Half of a very unhappy marriage. Patrick or Malcolm, you ask? Same difference. They both have offices that both hide crucial information on locked computers that both of our protagonists end up stealing at one point in the story.• Our protagonists also both have a child who is indoctrinated by the new system(s), who both end up realising that oppression is bad! Aren't they smart? Steven and Anne play exactly the same roles as far as I could see.BONUS SIMILARITY:• Dalcher also seems to be somewhat fixated on the usage of the word "it". Her distain for the word appears in both books in exactly the same fashion, although thankfully less so here.I have a two other key complaints:1) It is mentioned that the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities and those that suffer with mental health issues are specifically targeted groups of society under this new and oppressive mandate. But, not giving them any voice or representation past a single token lesbian character, who has no role within the context of the story, I found to be shameful.Instead we again see what a hard time the straight, middle-class, highly educated, white woman (who somehow caused these systems to be rolled out in the first place) had when dealing with the repercussions.If an author "cares" enough to acknowledge the struggle these groups face, why not do something to accommodate for them in their own story? It comes across as "fake-woke" to mention it and then to leave it alone. Instead they'd sooner write from inside their own little bubble of understanding. Only giving voice to those they can relate to personally. Anyway.2) Less importantly, but still frustratingly, the insertion and active acknowledgment of one-sentence coincidences that have absolutely no relevance to anything at any point... Why? Why?! An example being a character called Dr. Mender, who's job it is to do what amounts to the opposite of "mending" his patients... What's the point in pointing out that "coincidence"?! Or even writing it in in the first place?!There were elements that I thought were OK. The parallel timelines and flashbacks were well done, although I DID find it to be a little heavy handed to start each flashback with...THEN:Give us some credit. We can immediately see that this is the past.But the story these flashbacks told were one of the more interesting arcs: Elena and her days in school, when she was the reject and the nerd that everyone pushed around and how, under these newly emerging rules and structures, she became a bully and a snob. Bitter and shallow. Now I know what you're thinking, and admittedly, this is not normally what you look for in a main character, but I'd honestly take it over the bland, boring and two-dimensional version of herself that she becomes as she gets older.I shall end this critique here. I have pages and pages of notes, but I really don't wish to spend any more time thinking about this book than I already have.However "troubling" or "scary" the premise, the execution was far from it. I wasn't invested, hooked or emotionally moved at any point, and the blatant usage of the same storytelling framework as the previous novel comes across as extremely lazy.Thank you again to the publisher, Harper Collins, for sending me a free copy of Q and giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts on it, particularly after my 1 star review of VOX. I am sad to be giving this one the same. I honestly hope that others end up enjoying this more than I did.Personally, I shan't be so optimistic about the next derivative excuse of a book from this author, and I am sure that I won't be reading it._________________________Thank you for taking the time to read my review.If nothing else this book has succeeded in making me very excited to read ANY other book. But luckily for me I am finally going to start Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson next! Onward and upward!Happy reading, folks!
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  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    It is truly crushing when a book you have anticipated ends up being a disappointment. I really enjoyed Vox, the previous release from this author and I liked her brand of contemporary dystopia; close to current society.Q started off well, with a family situation, two successful parents and two high-achieving children. However, the mask fell off and a hideous under layer was revealed. This was a story about IQ above every other facet of a person and it drilled down to emotive and polarising It is truly crushing when a book you have anticipated ends up being a disappointment. I really enjoyed Vox, the previous release from this author and I liked her brand of contemporary dystopia; close to current society.Q started off well, with a family situation, two successful parents and two high-achieving children. However, the mask fell off and a hideous under layer was revealed. This was a story about IQ above every other facet of a person and it drilled down to emotive and polarising topics of elitism, abortion and someone’s personal worth.The protagonist, Elena, mother of two and wife was an interesting character and I liked her...until I didn't. She taught in an elite school, her children were intelligent and passing their monthly tests until one didn’t. The husband was 100% a b*****d. The first half of the book was strong and I liked where it was going but then it went downhill for me, I’m afraid. I felt like I was pushing through with the narrative. The plot was intangible at times, even considering that it was dystopian. I hated the final direction and found the culmination so unsatisfying.I’m hugely disappointed but I am grateful to have had an early review copy. Considering how much I liked Vox, I will definitely read Christina Dalcher again.Thank you to Headline for the review copy.This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Blog.
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  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsDisappointed-had high expectations for this after seeing all the high ratings.There was a lot of potential here, just read that marketing blurb! The concept of this dystopian world was really intriguing to me.Where it fell flat unfortunately was the lack of intensity throughout. I'm not sure if that is due to the lackluster characters, or from the predictability of how things unfolded.I am definitely in the minority with this one, so hopefully you will have a better experience!ARC 2.5 starsDisappointed-had high expectations for this after seeing all the high ratings.There was a lot of potential here, just read that marketing blurb! The concept of this dystopian world was really intriguing to me.Where it fell flat unfortunately was the lack of intensity throughout. I'm not sure if that is due to the lackluster characters, or from the predictability of how things unfolded.I am definitely in the minority with this one, so hopefully you will have a better experience!ARC provided by NetGalley
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Kibby RobinsonNothing can really prepare you for the experience of reading Master Class by Christina Dalcher. Much like slowly boiling a frog alive, as the saying goes, Christina Dalcher slowly turns up the tension and dread, degree by degree, until you are left gasping for breath and burning with emotions. Though emotionally difficult to read at times, Master Class is a phenomenal story of what a mother will do for her child and the ability of Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Kibby RobinsonNothing can really prepare you for the experience of reading Master Class by Christina Dalcher. Much like slowly boiling a frog alive, as the saying goes, Christina Dalcher slowly turns up the tension and dread, degree by degree, until you are left gasping for breath and burning with emotions. Though emotionally difficult to read at times, Master Class is a phenomenal story of what a mother will do for her child and the ability of humanity to forget and repeat its horrific mistakes.In a future that could very well become our own, constant standardised testing of children and adults determines their quotient (Q). Those with high Q scores get better education, jobs, and resources, while those with substandard scores get federal boarding schools, menial jobs, and bottom of the barrel resources. Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the elite schools, wife to the man who brought the Q system to the nation, and mother to two daughters. When her youngest daughter fails the monthly test and is sent away to one of the federal schools, Elena fights to find a way to bring her daughter back home. At any cost.What stands out most about Master Class is the slowly dawning horror as you read, that this could one day be our reality. Eugenics is nothing new, but to many, it is something that happened elsewhere. However, as Dalcher points out in the Author’s Notes, the historical events mentioned throughout the story are real and they include the American eugenics movement that we as a nation have seemed to have forgotten. Dalcher masterfully weaves this buried history with the state of society today and gives the reader a frightening glimpse into what happens when we forget our own history.Elena Fairchild is a complex main character that is slowly built throughout the course of the story. The reader is given new insight and knowledge of Elena up until, quite literally, the last page. While stories that go back and forth in time can sometimes be choppy, Dalcher transitions smoothly between times and every look into the past has a purpose. Seeing Elena’s past and how it slowly morphed into her current horror is a timely and intriguing look into how we can let prejudice and the fear of not being good enough mould our world.This story has a lot to say, but its main focus is always on Elena. This leaves us with very two dimensional secondary characters. Their two dimensions are well written, but they lack the depth needed to really care about them. Freddie Fairchild, Elena’s youngest daughter that is sent away, is a nine-year-old who suffers from acute anxiety. That should pull on all the heartstrings…but it doesn’t. Malcolm Fairchild, Elena’s husband, is a despicable human who I wanted to punch through the whole story…but I never knew why he was the way he was. Having a bit more depth into other characters would have benefited the story, but it didn’t detract from the overall suspense of the novel.Speaking of suspense, Master Class has it in spades. But it’s a quiet, haunting kind of suspense. The kind where you just feel something is wrong the whole time, but you don’t know just how bad it is until it is too late. Then everything is awful and enthralling and you just can’t stop reading. The whole time I was reading this novel, one word kept coming to mind: insidious. The slow, subtle changes that creep into our society that have beyond harmful effects. The way the storytelling of Master Class mirrors those kinds of changes is nothing short of perfection.Master Class is dark, provoking, and an absolute must read. Dalcher has proven herself a master author of insidious suspense that feels oh so real and will stick with you long after you’ve closed the book. And for those who scoff, and proclaim this story is just fiction and could never happen to them, I leave you with this quote from the novel: “It started with fear, and it ended with laws.”
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  • Laura Rash
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely riveting from the first page to the last! A thriller that borders on a horror story bc it could be so close to reality! Dalcher has a knack for writing a story that makes you squirm in your seat uncomfortably as you turn pages as quickly as you can.
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  • Cassie
    January 1, 1970
    This book is set in the USA, in the not too distant future, perfection is everything.  Not only are people being judged on their looks, class and colour but also for their IQ rating.  You can have tests on your unborn child to tell you what it's IQ will be . . giving you the option of continuing with the pregnancy.  Elena Fairchild is a teacher at an elite school and mother to two daughters who are perfect.  Children are constantly tested and if their score comes back lower than expected, they This book is set in the USA, in the not too distant future, perfection is everything.  Not only are people being judged on their looks, class and colour but also for their IQ rating.  You can have tests on your unborn child to tell you what it's IQ will be . . giving you the option of continuing with the pregnancy.  Elena Fairchild is a teacher at an elite school and mother to two daughters who are perfect.  Children are constantly tested and if their score comes back lower than expected, they will change school.  Elena believes in this system.  Why have a child in a class or school in which they will struggle. What's wrong with having all the gifted children in one school and the less gifted in a more "vocational" boarding school?   Except, one of Elena's girls scores much lower than expected and is taken away to one of the vocational boarding schools.  Elena is not ready for this and she deliberately fails her teacher tests and manages to be sent to the same school. This is a story which explores what being a mother means to some women and how far you would go to protect your child. Even if it means going against your husband and another child. This book caught my attention from the off and with all that is going on in the world at the moment, with countries being in lock down and people seriously being scared of what the future will hold,  it's not too difficult to believe that this could really happen.  And not too far in the future either. The ending, I felt, was rather rushed.  There were quite a few ends that were tidied up far too quickly for me.  Despite that, this was a thought provoking enjoyable read that is also terrifying. 
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 40% - I really tried to keep going with this book but I was just not enjoying it. The characters are all terrible; Elena is such a hypocrite and was gung-ho for this world until it actually affects her. Malcolm is just a dick 🤷♀ it just wasnt interesting to me at all! There is a real problem with the formatting of this ebook as well; I was gifted a copy via NetGalley but the formatting makes it virtually unreadable - words are cut off half way through, and theres numbers at the end of DNF @ 40% - I really tried to keep going with this book but I was just not enjoying it. The characters are all terrible; Elena is such a hypocrite and was gung-ho for this world until it actually affects her. Malcolm is just a dick 🤷🏻‍♀️ it just wasn’t interesting to me at all! There is a real problem with the formatting of this ebook as well; I was gifted a copy via NetGalley but the formatting makes it virtually unreadable - words are cut off half way through, and there’s numbers at the end of every line. I almost stopped reading it straight away solely due to this.
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  • Barbara Senteney
    January 1, 1970
    Rarely do I get the pleasure of reading a book that is thought provoking, and an emotional roller coaster at the same time. Although as of dat this is classified as a syfy fantasy, to me it is straight up horror. The main subject is eugenics. And although this is a work of fiction, the historical events mentioned are true. It is about population control and the need to cut out the undesirables in society. The idea that eliminating those who are sub standard is an old one, and a horrific idea to Rarely do I get the pleasure of reading a book that is thought provoking, and an emotional roller coaster at the same time. Although as of dat this is classified as a syfy fantasy, to me it is straight up horror. The main subject is eugenics. And although this is a work of fiction, the historical events mentioned are true. It is about population control and the need to cut out the undesirables in society. The idea that eliminating those who are sub standard is an old one, and a horrific idea to say the least. In this story of Elena, her husband Malcolm, and their 2 daughters Anne, and Freddie live in a world where everyone has a Q. Your Q decides what school you go to, where you are allowed to work, or even what neighborhood you can reside in. Elena has one perfect child with a 9.7 Q rating, and one sub standard child with a much lower rate. Anne goes to a Silver school where the elite learn in comfort, and have all the amenities you would expect in the private school sect. Freddie her younger sister goes to a green school, and both have to keep up a certain GPA to stay where they are or be sent to a yellow school, and no one wants to go to a yellow school. Malcolm is at the top of his field, he helps to make the decisions of what Q requirements are. To say I hate someone is not a thing I easily do, but Malcolm is my acception to the rule. He's the kind of guy you want some good ole boys to take in a back alley and give him a royal ass whoopin. With all his good looks and charm, he is a snake ready to bite. He hates everyone who isn't a white genius. In a recent development all yellow school kids are now being shipped off to a secluded school; in Kansas, many states away. One day Freddie comes home and by the way she acts, Elena realizes she has flunked the monthly test and will be sent away, and Malcolm has no issue with that, in fact he is delighted to be rid of his less than perfect daughter with a light case of aspergers. He has no attachment to this child. Elena is finally seeing him for the low life he truly is. Elena begs, and pleads for him to do something, but it falls on deaf ears, and a closed mind. So as a mother Elena tricks her way into a job at Freddie's new school, leaving behind her husband, and other child. Her grandmother Oma has warned her of history repeating itself, but she has no idea until she reaches Kansas just how true Oma's words are. In American history there was a time when people with low IQ's and diseases like epilepsy, or physical deformities were sent to Asylum's. Out of sight, out of mind. A member of the Kennedy family, and also a member of the royal family of England were in such a place. Patients were given shock treatments, drugged, and sterilized, sometimes even euthanised. The school in Kansas of this story is very close to an asylum. They are test subjects, an advance group, basically to see if they can weed out the offensive undesirables. Nazi Germany was such a place under the Rule of Adolf Hitler. This tale will give you food for thought. History does indeed repeat itself, we can see that today in some of our ruling classes attitude towards immigrants, foreigners, and gays, whose human rights are tread upon daily. Racism and bigotry urk me, and this story is full of it, but not to hurt, but to hopefully see that this kind of thing never happens again. We must speak up and stand up for human rights, or none of us are safe or free. I was angry, and tearful during much of this tale, great art has a tendency to invoke great emotion. This book is a masterpiece. This is my first time reading this author but I admire her and what she is trying to show with this story. I was given this book in exchange for a fair honest review, somehow I feel I owe the author greatly for the privilege of reading it. All opinions are solely my own and have no ill intent towards the author, publisher, or promoters of this book. If I could I would give the author a standing ovation for her outstanding work of art. Everyone needs to read this, Everyone.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    The potential of your child is no longer based solely on how they are able to perform in school. A new standardized measure, referred to as the Q score, has become the ruling standard across schools and society. Children are regularly tested and rated, not only based on their performance, but also their parents successes. The higher the score, the brighter the future. These scores determine which tier of school the children will attend and ultimately their future careers. In a world where The potential of your child is no longer based solely on how they are able to perform in school. A new standardized measure, referred to as the Q score, has become the ruling standard across schools and society. Children are regularly tested and rated, not only based on their performance, but also their parent’s successes. The higher the score, the brighter the future. These scores determine which tier of school the children will attend and ultimately their future careers. In a world where education costs are exorbitant, these measures are the way to cut costs and have teachers focus on those with higher potential. Elena Fairchild teaches at one of the highest tiered silver schools where her two daughters attend. Her youngest daughter has just bombed her monthly Q test and she is being forced to leave her top school to attend a bottom tier federal institution located several hundred miles away. Elena has been teaching for years and thought she understood the tiered system, but now that her own family is impacted, she has started to recognize the flaws and has changed her perspective. She wants her daughter back and is willing to do the unthinkable to make that happen.MASTER CLASS is a dystopian story focusing around the important topic of education. Dalcher has created a society in which families and children are rated and their scores are linked with each other. In order for children to succeed in life they need successful parents in addition to having bright minds. Children who may have any type of difficulty learning are immediately shunned from the top tier schools because their Q scores are too low. Those in the top tier schools, however, are not safe. They are constantly evaluated and rated. Their position in life and school is never guaranteed.Elena Fairchild is the main character for MASTER CLASS and it is through her eyes that the reader learns the ins and outs of this dystopian world. Elena is lucky enough to be a teacher at a top tier school, have a husband highly ranked in the Department of Education, and be the mother to two highly rated daughters. Her youngest doesn’t always fit the role of high scorer the way her other daughter does and it is Freddie who ultimately scores so low that she is deemed no longer qualified for anything but a federal institution. Through Elena’s eyes we see the turmoil associated with being a parent in this situation, as well as the impact across the family. I loved the honesty and the emotions the reader was able to feel through the character of Elena. Dalcher wisely chose to give the reader a direct experience to this system of life over being an outside observer, which I think is one of the things that made me love this story so much.The element of this book that really sold the story as a favorite for this month was the fact that Dalcher based all of this in historical events that actually happened. It’s easy to think when reading a dystopian book that the contents of the story would never happen to us, but Dalcher proves that society can easily fall to the extremes with the basis of MASTER CLASS. I genuinely appreciate Dalcher exposing me to a part of history I wasn’t completely familiar with and sending me straight down a Google rabbit hole once I had finished her book! I’ve already bought a copy of VOX and can’t wait to read more from Christina Dalcher in the future!A huge thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book!
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  • Clare Chedester
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway and Berkeley Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I have to say, a review would have come either way because this book has me feeling all sorts of things. Dalchers writing style is very enjoyable and the topic of this novel is one of my favorites: eugenics. Master Class took me just a short two sittings to power through because I couldnt put it down!Dalcher has created an educational system in Master Class that is terribly I was given an ARC of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway and Berkeley Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I have to say, a review would have come either way because this book has me feeling all sorts of things. Dalcher’s writing style is very enjoyable and the topic of this novel is one of my favorites: eugenics. Master Class took me just a short two sittings to power through because I couldn’t put it down!Dalcher has created an educational system in Master Class that is terribly frightening, utterly intriguing and totally believable. As the final generation of men and women who were directly affected by Hitler’s horrific actions (inspired by a eugenics program created by the United States) pass away, they take with them their stories and the truths of what happened. History has a way of repeating itself, and Dalcher has written a story that raises the question: will we choose to remember? Or will we ignore, forget, and be doomed to repeat a terrible piece of history? This is my first read by Dalcher and I already have Vox, her previous novel, in hand!
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh, but, I found this to be a riveting, disturbing, thought provoking read.It's horrifying in parts, heart wrenching in others and with a fabulous ending.Outwordly, Elena Fairchild has the 'perfect' family life, married to a prominent government official (Malcolm) and with a daughter (Anne) who is top of the class and one (Freddie) who appears to be on the autism spectrum. Normally, that wouldn't matter, but, in the world of measures, assessments and horrifying colour coded schools, it means Gosh, but, I found this to be a riveting, disturbing, thought provoking read.It's horrifying in parts, heart wrenching in others and with a fabulous ending.Outwordly, Elena Fairchild has the 'perfect' family life, married to a prominent government official (Malcolm) and with a daughter (Anne) who is top of the class and one (Freddie) who appears to be on the autism spectrum. Normally, that wouldn't matter, but, in the world of measures, assessments and horrifying colour coded schools, it means everything.The book takes you on a journey with Elena, both to the past, where she explores her family roots and upbringing as well as her own prejudices and loves and in the present, where she works to challenge the status quo.Pertinent in content, certainly not as farfetched as one would wish it to be, this is a well written corker of a read and I'm very grateful to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to preview in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Barbara Waloven
    January 1, 1970
    Masterfully written story that had me wondering, questioning, mad, very upset, shocked, and finally in tears. The thought of history repeating itself and what was not taught to us in school, that is such an intricate part of this story, left my jaw dropped and had my fingers flying across Google. A deeply disturbing and fantastic must-read story.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.4.25 starsChristina Dalcher's Master Class is an altogether too eerie tale set in a society that feels uncomfortably realistic and contemporary. In this version of society in which anyone whose IQ or academic testing scores aren't up to snuff are relegated to progressively lower "schools" and roles in society, an educator must choose between members of her own family. This was too short- I tore through it and felt Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.4.25 starsChristina Dalcher's Master Class is an altogether too eerie tale set in a society that feels uncomfortably realistic and contemporary. In this version of society in which anyone whose IQ or academic testing scores aren't up to snuff are relegated to progressively lower "schools" and roles in society, an educator must choose between members of her own family. This was too short- I tore through it and felt the mother's heartbreak, and was breathlessly reading towards the shocking end.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Vox and loving it! I was on the look-out for more titles by this amazing author. As soon as I heard Christina Dalcher had another book coming soon I was trying to find out more about it. To be honest the first thing I learnt about Q was that it was being released by Berkley Publishing (not in the UK!) under the title Master Class. I read the blurb and knew immediately I had to read it. Then I discovered information about the UK version which is called Q, and to be totally honest I After reading Vox and loving it! I was on the look-out for more titles by this amazing author. As soon as I heard Christina Dalcher had another book coming soon I was trying to find out more about it. To be honest the first thing I learnt about Q was that it was being released by Berkley Publishing (not in the UK!) under the title Master Class. I read the blurb and knew immediately I had to read it. Then I discovered information about the UK version which is called Q, and to be totally honest I think the UK title Q fits the book better without giving any clues away to what it may contain. After having read the book I would say the title Master Class is a more revealing clue as to what is in the book. Having said that I love both covers that I have seen for this book and think they both fit perfectly. Though if I had to choose a favourite it would have to be the UK one even though I guess some would say it is less revealing. The by-line on the UK version “Only The Perfect Will Survive” is a fantastic clue as to what is to come in the latter part of the book. Another difference I have noticed is that Master Class has Sci-Fi & Fantasy genres listed and Q (the UK) which also has Sci-Fi & Fantasy genres listed but also Mystery and Thrillers which I totally agree with and would also add “Futuristic” to list. Now to the book…. Wow I want to say sooooo much about this book, but at the same time I am very determined not to give away too much and spoil it for other readers. How can I express to you how much I loved this book without giving away spoilers? I honestly think that sometimes its harder to review a book you loved than one you weren’t as keen on.The society in this book is made up of “those that have” and “those that have not” though your place in society is decided by your very own Q score. Every single person has their own Q score. A Q score can be tested for and given to an unborn baby. This Q score is constantly checked and updated whether it may go up or down. The Q score is the deciding factor on what school you go to, which has a knock-on effect of what social circles you move in, where you live, as well as what job you do. The main family this book focuses on is the Fairchild family which consists of Malcolm Fairchild, a high ranking, government official, his wife is Elena Fairchild who is a teacher at a high-class school. They have two children, the naturally bright, studious, and confident 16 year old, Anne, and their younger, more anxious, 9 year old Frederica, though everyone but her father calls her Freddie. Elena’s parents and grandmother do not agree with the current system and Malcolm knows this which is why they don’t get along and it is a rarity for him to visit when Elena takes their daughters Anne and Freddie.The school system is on three colour, silver, green and yellow coded levels. The highest ranking being Silver schools, the middle ranging Green schools and the Yellow state schools. Elena is a teacher who has a great Q score so works at a Silver school. Anne Fairchild is the “perfect” student who seems to thrive on the continual tests to reassess her Q score. Anne is in what you would call the popular crowd (not like her parents when they were her age) and all the popular crowd go on about are of course the newest Q scores, and who has lost so many points they have lost their place at the Davenport Silver School and will be going to the nearby by Sanger Green School. Q scores can go up as well as down and Elena lives in hope that Freddie’s anxiety of tests etc will improve and she will move up from Sanger Green School and join sister Anne at Davenport Silver School. It is normal to be moved one school down but it soon becomes apparent things are changing for the worse, it seems the tests are also becoming harder too.Elena actually ponders within the book how people can get used to all sorts of systems when they are forced upon them. One example of this is Elena’s neighbour being 100% in favour of the Q scores and the colour coded schools the whole time her daughter is getting on the silver bus to the high Q score silver school. However, the shock of her daughter being sent off to a state boarding school, her silver status rapidly downgraded to yellow infuriates her mother and the once staunch supporter of the Q system now has increasing doubts and becomes instantly more verbal about the bad points of the system.When her husband Malcolm refuses to do anything about the fact their very own youngest daughter who suffers from anxiety is to be sent to one of these state schools it is up to Elena to try and hatch a plan to reunite with her daughter. Elena thinks if she can get demoted to a state school, and by forging Malcolm’s signature makes sure it is to the same school their daughter has been sent to it will be of comfort to Freddie and somehow force Malcolm into actually doing something about the situation. It really is a difficult decision for Elena to make as she loves both her daughters. To help Freddie, it means abandoning Anne. Malcolm has always favoured Anne and even prior to Freddie being downgraded to yellow card/state school status he blatantly ignored her. He bestows attention on Anne whilst brushing off Freddie like she is just some irritant to be put up with.When Elena arrives at her new job at a state school that doesn’t even have a name just a number, #46 she is in for an even bigger shock than the one she had on the journey there, though at least she has made a friend in Ruby Jo, and the quieter older woman also on the bus with them destined for school #46. It’s not long until Elena realises there is more to her new teacher friends than she at first thought, luckily for her as she is drawn deeper and deeper into to the darkness and evilness her husband and his colleagues are creating and think of as being totally acceptable.In an attempt to save her own daughter, and get the word out about what is really happening in the state schools Elena has to agree to be a test subject for another measure those in charge are wanting to introduce. She soon learns that those in charge including her husband are willing to go to extreme lengths to protect the future they envision no matter who gets hurt in the process. This is a 'dystopian' tale that could quite well happen in the near future. I had drawn comparisons with the Nazis system and Hitler’s plans before they were referenced by Elena’s parents and grandmother, though I do read quite a lot of both fiction and non-fiction about that era of history. I thought the way Oma Maria reveals the old uniform of her days in the Hitler’s Youth Girls group. Oma Maria encourages Elena to question the very Q system that Elena had helped Malcolm to create. Elena can see that the system is going to far, becoming too harsh and when her grandmother Oma Maria compares the state schools to Nazis concentration camps, she really doesn’t want to believe things have really gotten so bad. I adored the story about the frog and how it was recited in front of Malcolm when he insists on accompanying his wife and children on a visit to Elena’s parents and grandmother (last visit for Freddie). Oma Maria asks if they know the story of the frog…If you put the frog in a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out.” She silences Malcolm with a hand and smiles. “If, on the other hand, you put the frog in a pot of cold water and turn up the heat one degree at a time, well, before long you’ll have a boiled frog. And he’ll never know what’s coming.” Then, taking my father’s hand in her own, she says, “Our parents saw the frog boil in Germany. One degree at a time.” The way Oma Maria recites it as the wise woman who has seen and borne witness to the system that Malcolm is deeply involved with creating. I found it sad to read her family almost not believing Oma Maria when she tells her stories. They think she is making them up, or changing them as she goes along because of her age but this elderly woman is wise and has a lot that needs to be heard and acted upon as we discover as the book progresses. In fact, it turns out that some of Oma Maria’s family were actually involved in some of the nasty experiments that the Nazis inflicted in the concentration camps. My favourite character, if I had to choose only one was Oma Maria, her love for her family and shame about the past are really well conveyed throughout the book. She is determined the horrid experiments she had heard about in the past would not happen to her great granddaughter Freddie, or anyone else if she had anything to do with it. The character I enjoyed hating was of course Malcolm, though there were others I could add to this category too, such as Madeleine Sinclair and Petra Peller. Malcolm is a despicable, ignorant, hateful, selfish idiot who cannot see his wife Elena and youngest daughter Freddie. I wonder does he really see his eldest daughter Anne, or does he just see her Q score?I have to mention the byline from the book cover again as it really is a case of “Only The Perfect Will Survive” in this book. It’s not “survival of the fittest” as it is in some sci-fi books more of only those with great Q scores in their ancestry, their current family and siblings and those who can maintain that Q score will survive and have a “life” as opposed to those with lower scores in their ancestry, siblings and themselves being unable to keep up with the ever higher expectations who will just “exist”. This author really has done her research and this book is so much more than a fictional story, especially when you look around at the way the leaders of the world are leading, sometimes dragging us along. The society and its system has been really well thought out and explained in detail as the story unfolds. My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were Amazing! I can't express how much this book has made me feel and think! Like Vox, it is a book that will stay with me for a long time after finishing reading it! Probably due to the kind of books I read I had picked up on the subtleties of what the Q numbers were based on and where this book was going long before it was at first clearly hinted at and then revealed. I readily admit to being in tears throughout the last chapters but it was the ending that had to be, though I think a sad one. I will most certainly be on the lookout for any other books by Christina Dalcher she has the ability to tie history, current probabilities and future possibilities all into one fantastic story. I have already purchased and added another couple of books to my "must read" list as Christina recommends them. To sum up I thought this book was an amazing read and I highly recommend reading it. Honestly the way the world is progressing at the moment it may not be as far fetched as you may at first think. Definitely thought provoking and made me eager to know what is coming next from this brilliant author.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    A tiered school system based on each student's potential to succeed was all well and good until high-performing Elena's own 9 year old daughter, Freddie, failed her monthly exam and was sent to the lowest funded state school. Will this finally be the wake up call Elena needs to realize that this system isn't as perfect as she once thought? If so, will she be able to change it when her husband, Malcom, is one of the enforcers?I absolutely loved the author's debut, Vox (5 stars), and was so A tiered school system based on each student's potential to succeed was all well and good until high-performing Elena's own 9 year old daughter, Freddie, failed her monthly exam and was sent to the lowest funded state school. Will this finally be the wake up call Elena needs to realize that this system isn't as perfect as she once thought? If so, will she be able to change it when her husband, Malcom, is one of the enforcers?I absolutely loved the author's debut, Vox (5 stars), and was so looking forward to this one. The premise was intriguing and promising, but unfortunately, I felt like there weren't enough details about how the system was implemented, how it currently works, etc. Lastly, even though the ending was satisfying, it also felt way too rushed and "easy" for such a complex subject.Location: Silver Springs, MD and Emporia, KSI received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Maddy
    January 1, 1970
    Please note: I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway.I was not expecting to finish this book in one sitting but couldn't find a good stopping point. I felt compelled to read it all the way through.Master Class shares a lot of storytelling/setting commonalities with Dalcher's bestselling book, Vox. The setting is the very near future it could perhaps even a year from now. And just as with Vox, the government is dictating how citizens live their lives in ways that split families Please note: I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway.I was not expecting to finish this book in one sitting but couldn't find a good stopping point. I felt compelled to read it all the way through.Master Class shares a lot of storytelling/setting commonalities with Dalcher's bestselling book, Vox. The setting is the very near future — it could perhaps even a year from now. And just as with Vox, the government is dictating how citizens live their lives in ways that split families apart and strip people of their inalienable rights.At first, I sympathized with the main character dealing with a bad marriage and a husband who not only works for this authoritarian government but helps to dictate the rules of the society they live in — which ends up being to the detriment to their youngest daughter. But then, we get snapshots of how he turned out this way, which includes separatist ideas that originate from his wife. This husband and wife pair both felt like misfits when they were schoolchildren and devised systems to create power and make those not like them feel powerless.I'm guessing that one of the takeaways I'm supposed to get from this book is that even people who do bad things and hurt others can redeem themselves if their viewpoints eventually change and they feel bad about what they did in the past. It draws parallels to the current political climate, where everyone is pointing fingers at the opposite side, focusing on highlighting differences. As humans, fundamentally, we should all be on the same side — and sometimes that's hard to see if we're so focused on labelling people as the "other".However, the biggest lesson of this book — one reinforced by the first and last pages of author commentary — is that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The author implores readers to give themselves a history lesson about an ugly era in America, when we were considering (and executing on in some ways) a eugenics movement eerily similar to the one we condemned during the Nazi era. I would say I wonder why we don't teach this particular history lesson in school but I think we all know the answer — American government does not like to admit to or own up to mistakes. Afghanistan Papers, anyone?At any rate, Dalcher does an amazing job of painting the picture of a dystopian future that's vivid enough to make me want to invest in property overseas... just in case sh*t hits the fan here sometime soon. In the meantime, if we want to avoid the terrifying futures she so effortlessly imagines — we need to stop being so apathetic and start changing the status quo.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read much dystopian fiction but I enjoyed VOX by this author and wanted to give this one a try and am sure glad that I did. This novel is frightening because I could see it happening in our world the way things are headed. There is so much prejudice in the world over people who are different than 'us' - immigrants, physically and mentally disabled, LGBTQ and the elderly to name a few. In Master Class, everyone has a 'Q' score based on their mental ability, their income and their race. I don't read much dystopian fiction but I enjoyed VOX by this author and wanted to give this one a try and am sure glad that I did. This novel is frightening because I could see it happening in our world the way things are headed. There is so much prejudice in the world over people who are different than 'us' - immigrants, physically and mentally disabled, LGBTQ and the elderly to name a few. In Master Class, everyone has a 'Q' score based on their mental ability, their income and their race. The 'Q' rating changes constantly but if you have a high score, you can shop at the better stores and buy nicer things, get treated better by everyone and, most importantly, for students, they can attend the better schools because it was felt that there was no reason to use education money for students who were less than perfect. If a student had a high score, they would go to a top tier school with their future bright. If their score dropped a little, they went to a school that had worse teachers and little support. However, the students with the lowest scores were sent to boarding schools in other states and away from their parents and families. The purpose? Education costs are cut, teachers focus on the best students, and parents are happy.This novel is about the Fairchild family. The husband is Malcolm and he is a government worker who leads the new changes in education, the wife is Elena who teaches at a top tier school and there are two daughters:Anna, who has a high score and goes to a top tier school and is fawned over by her father and Freddie who appears to be on the autism spectrum (Asbergers?) and is in danger of losing her score and being sent to a state school. When the worst happens and she is sent to Kansas, her mother's goal is to be with her and rescue her from the school and her new life and she is prepared to do the unthinkable and risk her marriage and her 'Q' score and maybe even her life to be with her daughter.This is a wonderful, thought provoking look at a world that is only concerned with the rich and intelligent people and has no concern for other people. I find that I am still thinking about it, weeks after I finished reading it.Thanks to goodreads for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Caity
    January 1, 1970
    This is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing books I have ever read in my life. It pulls directly from history and makes the valid point of just how easy it is for history to repeat itself when we allow ourselves to forget. When we allow the terrible things in history to be hidden and buried and kept out of the history books. I don't normally cry when I read a book; despite having a strong ability to visualize the events, for whatever reason I need actual visuals like in a movie or TV This is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing books I have ever read in my life. It pulls directly from history and makes the valid point of just how easy it is for history to repeat itself when we allow ourselves to forget. When we allow the terrible things in history to be hidden and buried and kept out of the history books. I don't normally cry when I read a book; despite having a strong ability to visualize the events, for whatever reason I need actual visuals like in a movie or TV show to cause the waterworks. I sat on my couch feeling destroyed emotionally with tears running down my cheeks at the end of this one.That says a lot about the power of Christina Dalcher's words and message. It says a lot about Elena's sacrifices, and they are BIG, during the course of the novel. And it says a lot about the characterization of the people, who were painfully real and possible to me well before page 100, just as the plot does not seem far-fetched (it isn't, it's happened before and still happens).(view spoiler)[A few things I found refreshing throughout: Elena, our fearful main character, was someone who had to come to terms with her own biases and knew at which points she had gone wrong throughout her life, though it took time to see it. She was anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, aka she had come to realize that an all straight, white, able-bodied society was NOT the ideal it was made out to be. This, in my mind, made her an ideal narrator for the story.Educate yourself on Eugenics. Find books on the Eugenics movements in the US, Canada, Nazi Germany, France, England - everywhere. Read about the horrors and atrocities of this idea that somehow makes people think they are superior to others. Nazi Germany wasn't the first to perpetuate this idea, nor were they the last and THAT more than anything is what Master Class is driving home. (hide spoiler)]FYI, this book was an ARC I received in a Goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own, the tears very real, and the horror I will feel for a while as a result of devouring this novel will be carried with me as I continue to do my own reading on the topic.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Gut-wrenching, intense, and viscerally painful to read. There were times I had to put the book down. To force my mind away from the awful reality of what the near-future dystopian genre shows when do not pay attention to the signs. The slow boil of a frog as they say; where little changes here and there, can lead to consequences no one saw coming.From the outside, Elena and Malcolm Fairchild are the epitomes of success. The right look, the right education, but most importantly the right 9-plus Q Gut-wrenching, intense, and viscerally painful to read. There were times I had to put the book down. To force my mind away from the awful reality of what the near-future dystopian genre shows when do not pay attention to the signs. The slow boil of a frog as they say; where little changes here and there, can lead to consequences no one saw coming.From the outside, Elena and Malcolm Fairchild are the epitomes of success. The right look, the right education, but most importantly the right 9-plus Q score. The number which says you have the right stuff, that you are of a certain ‘tier’ in society. Now, let’s flip that. What if Elena and Malcolm have two daughters. One is easily in the 9-plus range and attends a ‘silver’ school, the school full of children with the inherent gifts from cohesive nuclear families. But the second, not diagnosed on any spectrum, only qualifies for the ‘green’ school, a step lower, but not the worst. Yet has anxiety and is beginning to fall in the below 9 range on her monthly tests. This Monday will be different, Freddie will be sent off on the ‘yellow’ bus to a state-run school where education and resources are not wasted. The intensity of this book is overwhelming. History is repeating itself with one question, “Should generation after generation continue to reproduce substandard intellect?”, opens a door that was closed generations ago with the first discussion of eugenics. So, the next time someone questions one more test or a small evaluation change, think about where it could lead.
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