The Hunger Games meets horror in this unforgettable thriller where only one thing is certain...you will be Called.
Thousands of years ago, humans banished the Sidhe fairy race to another dimension. The beautiful, terrible Sidhe have stewed in a land of horrors ever since, plotting their revenge...and now their day has come.
Fourteen-year-old Nessa lives in a world where every teen will be "Called". It could come in the middle of the day, it could come deep in the night. But one instant she will be here, and the next she will wake up naked and alone in the Sidhe land. She will be spotted, hunted down, and brutally murdered. And she will be sent back in pieces by the Sidhe to the human world...unless she joins the rare few who survive for 24 hours and escape unscathed.
Nessa trains with her friends at an academy designed to maximize her chances at survival. But as the days tick by and her classmates go one by one, the threat of her Call lurks ever closer...and with it the threat of an even more insidious danger closer to home.
©2016 Peadar O'Guilin (P)2016 Scholastic Inc.
Say something about yourself!
If you're within the sound of my voice -- or, more appropriately, the sight of my written words -- please take this as a given: I want to sit you down, shove this book into your hands (or the audiobook into your ears), and insist that you enjoy it. Now.
It may be easy to overlook what a stunning achievement this novel represents, but that's because Peadar Ó Guilín makes it seem so effortless as he draws the reader on from one page-turning moment to the next. It is a stunning achievement nonetheless, with its meditation on how a people's history returns to them for rectification; its all-too-relevant consideration of mass culture during its descent ("I don't care if I don't make it... I mean it. The country is done for, and we all know that's the truth. Aiofe is right. Even the survivors have nothing to look forward to except decline..."); its seamless world-building, folding real and mythic Irish history, language, and poetry into its storytelling ("Never has a generation of Irish children been so aware of its own folklore"); its related and stunning sense of place; and its utterly compelling depiction of a three-dimensional, dynamic, and partially (and permanently) disabled heroine.
I don't sell young adult dystopias short, but I also feel confident in saying that The Call transcends the labels others would place on it. Both adult and YA readers of science fiction, fantasy will find much to appreciate here.
The premise is this: Ireland is a nation cut off from the rest of the world, plagued by terrible retribution. Thousands of years after the Sidhe, the people of the mounds, the followers of the Goddess Danu, were displaced by the Irish and banished to a colorless netherworld, they have returned with a vengeance to destroy those who removed them. Every Irish child will face the three minutes of the Call during his or her adolescence. Few return alive, and most of those are twisted beyond recognition. Nessa, whose polio-twisted legs all but promise she will not outrun the Sidhe when her time comes, stubbornly prepares to meet the Call and win her survival.
What I appreciate most -- and that's saying a lot, considering how much I love about this novel -- is the nuanced, insightful way The Call handles the question of, and challenges readers about, conquest and conflict. What are the causes and costs of war? How we determine who is responsible? What does it mean to be guilty/innocent or winning/losing?
Take for instance this passage:
"'Listen,' he says, 'we don't need the Sidhe to teach us evil. We were the ones who put them in the Grey Land, remember? And not just for a day or however long it is the Call lasts. We Irish... we trapped an entire race of people in hell for all eternity just so we could take their homes for ourselves. You can read it in The Book of Conquests. I mean, look at it from their point of view.... There they were, a few thousand years ago, living in a place they loved so much that they called it the Many-Colored Land. Then this other group arrives, pretty much the same as them, speaking the same language even, except this new lot -- our ancestors -- were the first in the world to have iron weapons. They thought it gave them the right to take everything! Everything!'"
And this one:
"'How long must I wait?' she asks the mirror in Sidhe.
"As a survivor, she doesn't need to speak the language anymore. But many like her are more comfortable in it than English, and since they have no choice but to marry each other, the primary schools of the country are filling with tiny tots whose innocent mouths spout the long-dead language of their distant ancestors, which also happen to be the living, never-changing tongue of the enemy. Some day, she thinks, we will be them, a greater victory for the Sidhe than if they kill us all."
Like all great speculative fiction, The Call provides us metaphors by which we can question our condition and examine current issues in our world today. It also provides a window into history, art, and our common humanity. And it does so while providing a chilling and fascinating ride.
Amy Shiels' beautiful narration helps ground the text in its Irish context and bring the characters to life.
The Call is an interesting concept and I would not mind listening to it again. It has it's own twists and turns and builds its own world to be like none other that I have read about before.
It is hard to pick a favorite character because you get to know so many of them that you even fall in love with the side characters. Each person has their own story and background and I could not help but love a bunch of the characters in this book.
I do not have a favorite scene that would not give away the whole book but I do love the concept of how the characters in the book get Called and what they do in the Sidhe's world.
This book does have funny, violent, and terrifying moments that I found myself wanting to stay up to listen to it. It did keep me awake thinking about some of the scarier images that came to my mind with this book. I will still recommend it but it is part of a suspenseful and horror genre. I usually sway away from horror but the suspense and intrigue of the characters made me finish it and I have been in somewhat of a reading slump lately so this book got me back into reading, finally!
All in all, it is a great book that I will be recommending to my friends.
the northern pen
When I considered purchasing this book I saw that someone had reviewed it and claimed it was, "Ireland meets the hunger games!" This book is nothing of the sort! Although its description seems to promise action, or an interesting setting, it only makes you realize with every passing minute that there is no content. One dimentional characters that are summarized by cliches, a school that might as well be a prison or somewhere equally grey and boring, and a writing style that makes every detail spill into the next one so that everything happening blurs! This book advertised an interesting fairy land, and an apocalyptic world, but instead the book focuses on a girl who only cares about surviving her call, which won't happen until a great length in. The whole book is configured around the main character being called, and so it all collapses trying to build to that event. I would only recommend this book to a young adult junky who was a fan of the genre and could over look all of these aforementioned flaws.
I love dystopian stories and this definitely fits that genre. Most things in this were pretty dark and creepy. But I couldn't stop listening! I really enjoyed it and think that it's worth the listen!
I wasn't so sure I would like this book but I thought I would give it a try. Once I got started I listened nonstop all the way through!
Do not be discouraged if you really are more into "all things fae" and not so much into to "Divergent" or "The Hunger Games".
This is dark scary wild Sidhe stuff and leaves you wondering what this poor author dreams of at night (but I love it!)
There is more to come I think and I just can't wait.
I have never elder a review before but feel it is my duty as an avid reader and listener to share. This book.... wow. This book. It was horrifying, funny, disgusting, sad, surprising..... there are just no words to describe the experience it gave.
The audiobook was amazing! first actual experience listening to an audiobook all tye way through and it was amazing!!! I recommend completely!! its a must read, a must listen!
Normally, I don't care much for narrators with distinct accents but I have to say, I really loved it. The book is set in Ireland and it really helped bring the story to life. I'm not one for long reviews so I'll end with this: its worth the credit and very well written. If you like hunger games, Harry Potter etc.. then you'll love this. It's a great blend of fantasy and dystopian fiction.
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