The Call

The Call

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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For the last twenty-five years every teenager in Ireland has been subject to "the call" which takes them away to the land of the Sídhe, where they are hunted for twenty four hours (though only three minutes pass in this world)--handicapped by her twisted legs, Nessa Doherty knows that very few return alive, but she is determined to be one of them.
Publisher: New York : David Fickling Books/Scholastic Inc., 2016
Edition: First American edition
Copyright Date: ♭2016
ISBN: 9781338045611
133804561X
Branch Call Number: YA OGUILIN
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 22 cm

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naguiar
Aug 24, 2017

I suppose my relatively low rating mostly derives from expecting more from this book than what I received. I found the premise fascinating, between the Irish Mythology and the Hunger Games-like plot (as I thought the original Hunger Games could have done a lot more with the premise it had), but The Call rarely delivered on any of it. We don't receive a whole lot of insight into Irish Mythology or History, and our main character barely spends any time in The Grey World.
Throughout the novel, I was never entirely sure what the story was building towards. At the beginning, I hoped that once Nessa entered the realm of the Sidhe, she would learn something about their species and maybe understand something deeper about why they were kidnapping children and torturing them. Early on, this appeared to not be the case. They seemed instead to be building up to a larger battle between the humans and the Sidhe, which I was mostly fine with as a plot point. But then the battle is mixed up with out One Dimensional Bully Character's obsession with Nessa, and her own Call. Her Call is then cut short because of the ODBC's obsession and so she never has to endure the full call, so everything she has been training for the entire book suddenly doesn't matter. Then, the final battle doesn't really result in anything changing on the large scale. The epilogue makes it seem like what we were building towards was Nessa's Call, but she barely gets Called at all! She hasn't accomplished anything or changed as a character. We as the reader haven't learned anything new about their world that wasn't apparent at the beginning. Nessa doesn't have new values or appreciation for life or anything of the sort.
Overall, I felt this was an intriguing premise largely wasted on boring boarding school drama and shallow characterization. It was helped by the brief time we spend in the Grey World through supporting character POV. Nonetheless, I expected a much stronger story than what I read.

s
Shadow_of_Burakku
Jul 02, 2017

Adding on to what others said about this being nothing like what I expected. Didn't think I would like it, but it quickly became one of my favorite reads in years within a few chapters! Really like Ó'Guilín using Irish mythology as a launching point to a dystopian horror story where kids 10-17 are sent to survival schools hoping to up the "1 in 10" survival rate. Quick-paced, creepy, and downright brutal, I strongly recommend anyone into fantasy horror to pick this book up! Can't wait for the sequel novel!

AL_BRIDGET Mar 09, 2017

Clever and unsettling with a fascinating lead. If you're a Hunger Games fan, but you want more magic and less government interference, this would be perfect. Plus, the multiple perspectives make for deeply creepy and extra fascinating world-building.

Beatricksy Feb 13, 2017

Somehow disappointing. The concept isn't new: elves, fairies, fair folk, whatever you wish to call them, being evil is an ancient idea steeped in myth. That's where we get our Lankins, our Men with Thistle Down Hair, and all the elves on Discworld. The ones in here are no different. And that's disappointing. There isn't anything unique from the villains except their Gray World. The human cast is forgettable and interchangeable. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate them. I like the vegetarian boy being stronger than others credit him, I enjoy our lead female requiring crutches. PTSD is fairly addressed. It's just missing some spark of life. For a book that is about humanity overcoming darkness that haunts their footsteps, it doesn't seem to achieve much. Almost like it gets too lost in its blood bath. Would rather read Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.

AL_LAURA Feb 07, 2017

Hella captivating, hella creepy, hella not what I usually read. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would!

I felt like the ending wasn't entirely resolved, but I believe this will be a duology. Well, that's what Peadar's Goodreads page says anyways!

PinesandPrejudice Dec 16, 2016

This book blew my mind. It crept me out to my core and I didn't want to stop reading but I did. It was tragic and unsympathetic and brave and horrific. A great thriller of mythology mixed with Hunger Games mixed with boarding school books. It was terrifically terrifying.

JCLTomE Nov 09, 2016

A fresh take on the age old Faeries and Humans relationship. A lot of magic and action in a creative dystopian environment make this a quick read.

b
BWilsoned
Sep 12, 2016

Three and half minutes in our world lasts a whole day in the Grey World, and all the while you are being hunted by a innumerable horde of vengeful beings armed with magic. This story is AWESOME--full of adolescents growing up skewed by circumstance and with the weight of national survival on their shoulders.
Ireland is stranded; isolated from the rest of the world by the Sídhe (fair folk in English) as part of their revenge for being driven "under the mounds" thousands of years ago. No one comes in and no one goes out--neither does any traffic, vehicular or commercial.
It took them a good number of centuries, but the Sídhe figured out how to cut off the island, killing thousands of people in transit, and Call the adolescents, one or more at a time, into their Grey World, where only 1 in 10 will survive to return. Even the survivors are severely damaged by the experience, physically and mentally, because the fairies like to 'play' with them. All children of Ireland between the ages of 10 and 17 attend Survival Colleges in the hopes of increasing the number of survivors.
Our heroine, Nessa, is in Year 5 (she's 15) and she's been disabled by polio early in life. Almost everyone dismisses her chances when Called, but Nessa is strong in body and mind--she's determined to survive. With horrifying descriptive clarity, Ó'Guilín describes each Year 5 student's experience in the Grey World; something like we might imagine Hell to be like. She and her best friend, Megan, are as easy to like as Conor and his 'Knights' are to dislike.
The author's explanation for why the fairies are so small in our world made me chuckle because it was quite inventive and believable. The ending worked for me, but I wouldn't be averse to another book in this timeline. There's some unanswered questions: What happened to Rebecca Madigan that makes her turn on the other humans? Did Melanie get her reward for helping the Sídhe? Does anyone find out about the traitors among them and is anything done about them? In essence: What happens next?
Isn't that what a great story does for you?

djoyce Jul 12, 2016

This book wasn't what I thought it was going to be at all. I was expecting more horror scifi and instead got action fantasy. I'm not normally a fantasy reader but this was a decent, quick read. The writing was a bit choppy but the plot was very interesting and moved forward quickly.

Basically, the people of Ireland are trapped and are fighting an ancient war with the fairies who their ancestors exiled to a dark and scary land (the Grey Lands). The fairies have found a way to kidnap the teens from Ireland for three minutes and four seconds (or an entire day in the Grey Lands). The kids have to fight the fairies or escape being hunted and if they are caught, they suffer a horrible death or horrific disfigurations.

This book is definitely not a cosy read, and due to graphic violence and a lot of strong language, probably isn't suitable for pre-teens. This is firmly a teen/young adult book.

I started the book thinking I wouldn't like it but ended up reading it in a day and a half, and am awaiting the sequel. Although this is a series, the book has a satisfying ending with the plot being tied up nicely--no obnoxious "to be continued" here!

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djoyce Jul 12, 2016

djoyce thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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