The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín
“We don’t need the Sidhe to teach us evil. We were the ones who put them in the Grey Land, remember”
The Call is an intriguing dystopian story based in Ireland, which included brutal details, beautiful fairyfolk and young teens that will do anything to survive. However, this book did fall short for me.
Since this is a review, below is spoiler central, if you haven’t read the book, don’t read any further. You have been warned.
The Call is set in Ireland where the people are shut off from the rest of the world. To atone for the countries sins against the Sidhe, every year Irelands children are stolen for ‘The Call’. They are forced to fight to survive, three minutes in our world, which is 24 hours within the Grey Lands. From ten years old, the children are trained to survive, and to become weapons in hope of surviving their three minutes. With a survival rate of only one in ten, and Sidhe planning a new assault, anything can happen.
Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed with what I received with The Call. The book did enough to keep me wanting to know what happened to the characters in the end, but the ride wasn’t as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. This book has been pinned as young adult meets horror, which I was excited about. I wouldn’t call it horror though, I wasn’t scared while reading this book. I do think it was gruesome, but not to a level where I would get nightmares.
I want to start with the writing, because this is were I had most of the problems. Starting with a positive, Peadar really thrives in the details. The details were extensive and I could really visualize the brutal and grotesque details which probably will be etched in my mind for a long time. I appreciated this because it is a lot different to anything I have read before. It’s a breath of fresh air in the YA genre. Literally the details are disgusting, I was cringing as I read it, however in my opinion this was not a fault, this made the book intriguing enough that I continued reading when other parts faltered.
Now I have to say the writing style was really painful to read. I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest, and I had to really force myself to look past the writing and try to attach to the characters and plot more so than I would normally have to. I couldn’t keep up whether it was in first person or third person, and it was unpleasant because the negatives kept adding up within the writing style. I am not going to rattle on about all the things I didn’t like, but I will just leave you with: it didn’t flow seamlessly.
Now I need to shake out the bad energy and continue on with this review!
When it comes to plot, I enjoyed the different take on a dystopian world. This is a whole other species fighting back from what humans did to them, which was such a great concept and it was executed nicely. The plot was entertaining, it didn’t WOW me, however it kept me interested enough that I did want to know what happened in the end.
My favourite character in this book was our main protagonist Nessa. Nessa is a young girl with polio, and after refusing to be put to sleep by the Doctors, she is in her 6th year of training for The Call. Her odds of being called are becoming increasingly more likely, and she’s all about adapting to her disability. What I like about Nessa is she has a lot of fight in her, she had a significant disability but that didn’t dull her strength and spirit which was wonderful to read. She was also intelligent and found ways out of the situations she found herself in. I enjoyed her friendships with other characters, and the way she outsmarted the Sidhe. Ultimately, a really great main character to follow, and I hope we get to see more from her in the second book.
Really quickly I want to mention the romance, I am someone who always clings on to a good romance. However, the romance in The Call was completely unnecessary. Nessa and Anto’s relationship was barely touched on, but then it was a big deal in the end… I just didn’t see the point in it, and would of preferred if there was no romance at all. The romance didn’t add anything to the story, it just left me a little confused.
Overall, I was left disappointed, however I may give the second book a go when it comes out. I would like to see if the writing style is improved and where they take the story from here. The premise of the story is amazing, unfortunately the execution did lack in my opinion, but I am always hopeful that I will enjoy the next book.
Favourite Moment: The experience Nessa had when called was very interesting. I didn’t know how she would go against the Sidhe, but this was definitely one of the best parts of the story for me.