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The Call Paperback – July 25, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Set in Ireland, this fantasy horror novel introduces readers to a freaky reality: at any given time, on any given day, a teen's world will go black, and when her senses return, she realizes she is naked and alone. She has been Called to the Grey Land. Nessa, a 14-year-old girl living with the aftereffects of polio, and her best friend Megan attend Boyle Survival College to prepare themselves for their Call. At this boarding school, they learn about the fairy enemies (the Sidhe, based on traditional Irish folklore) and practice survival and defensive techniques. The students who have lived through the Call return disfigured and emotionally broken, but it is through their accounts that others can prepare for the torture they face. Nessa works her hardest so that her limited mobility does not become a deterrent to her survival. Amid a colorful cast of supporting characters—including Anto, her pacifist love interest, and Connor, the egotistical bully—the dangers facing Nessa aren't limited to just those that await her in the Grey Land. The third-person narrative allows readers to identify with each of the characters. The Irish vernacular and vivid descriptions place teens in the heart of the island. Horror fans will love the grotesque world of Sidhe, where monsters and animals are made from twisted human bodies and body parts. Nessa is a resourceful character, often inventing creative ways to survive the same obstacles as her peers in order to prepare herself for the Call. The novel's strengths are its strong imagery and diverse cast of characters, who represent different ethnicities and sexual identities. However, the denouement is too quick and underdeveloped. The language, sex, violence, and world of the Grey Land are more appropriate for mature fantasy fans. VERDICT For those craving a new Hunger Games-esque thriller.—Stephanie DeVincentis, Downers Grove North High School, IL --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
An NYPL Best Book for Teens
An iBooks 25 Best Books of August pick
"The creepy and absorbing hybrid mixes fantasy, horror, and folklore (aka it's PERFECT for Game of Thrones fans)." --Buzzfeed
"A must-read for anyone who's been sleeping too well at night." --Danielle Vega, author of The Merciless
"A story as sensitive and tender as it is horrific and bloodthirsty . . . . It is a ghastly beauty, this book." --Virginia Bergin, author of H2O
* "Intense, riveting . . . Blisteringly fast-paced." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Recalls such predecessors as The Hunger Games or Divergent . . . the book excels [ ] in its worldbuilding." --Kirkus Reviews
"This enthralling and inventive thriller is full of horror, mystery, action and stars an empowering, inspiring female protagonist." --RT Book Reviews
"For those craving a new Hunger Games-esque thriller." --School Library Journal
"This is brilliantly compelling adventure . . . Don't miss it." --The Bookseller (UK)
"Fresh and interesting and powerful. It's beautifully paced, remorseless and is peopled with characters you can believe in. I couldn't put it down." --The Bookbag (UK)
"I found this book starting to infect my dreams, so vividly and relentlessly rendered are its many nightmares." --Irish Independent
"Wildly imaginative . . . will appeal to Hunger Games fans, who'll eagerly await an undoubted sequel to this impressive debut." --Daily Mail (UK)
"O'Guilin has created a world worth a short, head-shattering visit." --Culture Hub Magazine (UK)
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Top customer reviews
The dystopian setting is one in which the Sidhe, in revenge for their banishment to the Grey Land, a horrific plane of existence, by the ancient Irish, have returned and invaded Ireland. All Irish teenagers are trained in "survival schools" for their Call - the day that the Sidhe call them to the Grey Land and hunt them before they are tortured, mutilated, and killed. Only one in ten survive. Nessa, the protagonist, suffers from a physical disability, but has resolved to survive nonetheless.
The novel's take on the psychological effects incurred by such a society are in my mind what truly sets it apart. A sense of desperation and fatalism underlies most of the characters and the world they live in, and some people will go to extreme measures to increase their odds of survival. The story isn't all dark, though; it features a sweet romance and strong female friendships.
This book features a great deal of body horror presented in graphic detail - beware! Also, I found the ending to be a bit abrupt, hence the four stars. (But I think the author was trying to set up for a sequel.)
I recommend it for MATURE fans of horror/dystopian novels, especially YA.
I gave this book five out of five stars on Goodreads. There were so many things that I enjoyed with this book. Of course there were those few things that I did not enjoy, but in the end, the book did stick with me for a few days, and I really did enjoy the book overall.
Let me start off with our pros. I really enjoyed that it was a dark, suspenseful, and an intense read. The book was not easy to put down, and there were moments where I was debating on whether or not I should be responsible or not, because I wanted to read the book and not go to work or do things that I knew that I had to get done. Another thing that I enjoyed and loved was how the characters were relatable, even the characters that I hate. It made the events believable and real. It also helped you sympathize with the characters and what they have experience in the Gray Lands. O’Guilin wrote his characters in such a way that you would understand their thinking and reasoning behind such choices and experiences. I especially loved our main character. I enjoyed the fact that even though she is physically disabled, yet she is still strong and smart. In fact, I remember reading the first few pages and celebrating on such an amazing character. I am more in love with her on the fact that she hates it when people baby her because of her disability. I also enjoyed how O’Guilin used these characters to play with labels and teach us to not judge a book by its cover. He did not just pick on the whole weak being able to survive, but also played with other cliches such as the strong hero being the bad guy or the depressed sick teacher being the leader of darkness. Finally, I enjoyed the different themes within the book, such as friendships, love, kindness, growing up and what it means to be human, not just survival.
However, as much as I loved our book, there are two things that I did not like about the book. Sadly, this does take place at the end of the book and there will be spoilers (so if you want to skip this, you may). The first thing that I did not like was the amount of loose ends that happened at the end of the book. It just left so many unanswered questions that I felt as though we could have had an extra chapter to happily tie those up. Some of my questions are:
What happened to the traitors? Did they get their wish granted?
What was the crazy woman who wished to be in the Gray Lands? What was her exact wish? Did she make sure that she would not be hunted while she lived in the Gray Lands? Were there more wars between Ireland and the Fae? Was Ireland ever able to connect back to the real world?
The other thing that I did not like was how depressing the ending was. Here we are supposed to celebrate the human’s victory, but we end it with a sad reminder of death and loss friendships. Those were the main two problems that I had with the book.
In the end, I would love to recommend the book to everyone. However, I do fear that this book could trigger some people who have anxiety or suffer from PTSD. I can tell you that this book did cause some anxiety problems, and I was struggling with it, but the book was worth it. In the end, I can only speak for myself when it comes to my anxiety. But I do recommend this book to anyone who would like to read dark and intense books, especially if you like both the Hunger Games and the Game of Thrones. It is beautifully formulated and a lot of fun to read and experience.
I would consider it a must-have. Do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP!
When I first heard of The Call I was intrigued by the premise. A sort of Hunger Games in Fairyland, with the vengeful Fae intent on culling Ireland's youth as retribution for their own banishment centuries past. So I snapped it up as soon as it came out, and I'm happy to say it exceeded all my expectations.
This is the story of Nessa, who like every other teenager in this bleak future vision of Ireland is training to survive the Call: the three minutes where a teenager is randomly snatched from their place in our world and transported to the land of the Fae to be hunted like a beast. When the three minutes are up, they reappear. Most are dead, many with horrific injuries. A lucky few survive, though often transformed and damaged beyond belief. Nessa knows her time is approaching. Can she survive the Call?
The Call is part school story, set at the training academy Nessa frequents, and part survival tale. It verges on horror, with the terrors inflicted by the Fae on their human prey, but is never too overtly awful. It shifts back and forth between our world and the Fae world in a masterful way, ramping up the tension until it reaches the explosive conclusion. My only recommendation? Clear your schedule, because you won't be able to put it down.
Most recent customer reviews
The Call, by Peadar Ó Guilín , is set in a unique future of Ireland—or what once was Ireland.Read more
Original concepts and good writing.Read more