REVIEW – Master Class (aka Q) by Christina Dalcher

Master Class


Published April 21st 2020 by Berkley


It started with fear, and it ended with laws”

Elena Fairchild has a very busy morning. She has nine alarms set to make sure that her daughters don’t miss their school bus.

The first Friday of every month every person of school or working age is given a test that will calculate or recalculate their “Quotient” or “Q”.  Today is the second testing day of the school year. Elena’s daughter, Anne is very confident and has no worries about testing.  But Elena’s nine-year-old daughter, Freddie is extremely anxious about the test. A high Q means a secure future. A low Q means a student’s choices are very limited.

Elena’s husband, Malcolm works for the Department of Education and helps write the laws that enforce the rules.  He’s the man who invented the Tier System and the Q Rankings and pushed their importance. But he didn’t do it alone.

These changes were supposed to be good for everyone. Children, family, and society. At first, the new policies were pushed against. But eventually…

Elena had thought her Oma was exaggerating when she talked about the past. Now she thinks of Moira Campbell from down the street. She thinks of the grey women with clipboards who search the neighborhood for “unfit” families.

Now the worst has happened.

Elena talks to Malcolm but he can’t or won’t help. She doesn’t know what to do. She feels hopeless. Her grandmother warned her.

“Don’t let her go to that…place.”

But what could Elena do? It’s the law!

Elena knows she has to do something.  She thinks of the other things her grandmother said…

And she makes a plan.

Wow! This was a thought-provoking and powerful read!

Just like the author’s previous novel, “Vox” some of what happened in this novel is terrifyingly possible. Of course, it’s still a fiction book. Some parts may be unrealistic, but it is inspired by a dark and horrifying reality.

When the author was asked what this book was going to be about she said: “I’m writing a nonhistorical fiction about eugenics experiencing a renaissance here in the United States.” In her letter to readers at the beginning of the novel, Christina Dalcher gives some facts about the history of eugenics that are shocking but true. This had me Googling for hours searching eugenics, Better Baby contests, state schools, and more.

I read this in just a couple of sittings. I was gripped from the start but did find that it dragged a little in the middle. There was a lot of information (though it was good information). However, it wasn’t long before it picked up again and I was completely engrossed for the rest of the book.

Christina Dalcher has written another novel that fascinated, entertained, and terrified me.

I can’t wait for more!!!!


I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.


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