By: Peadar Ó Guilín
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
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 twenty-four 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.
Gruesome and horrific seems like the best way to start off October. The Call has plenty of that and in a rather original way. It is a combination of body horror, Irish mythology of evil faeries, and a disturbing coming of age rite. Every teenager, at some point in their adolescence, is pulled for three minutes our time, a whole day in the world of the Sidhe, and has to do their best to survive until they are delivered (alive or not or wishing they weren’t) back to the place they disappeared from.
We are introduced right off to Nessa, a rather feisty young girl who is determined to pass her Call despite having had her legs ravaged by polio at a young age. For the majority of the book, we follow Nessa and her set of friends as she faces off against bullies and her daily struggles in a society that demands physical perfection. She also has a hint of romance lingering in the background.
The alternate dimension of the Sidhe is as sadistic as they are, with blandly colored horrors that operate under a logic all their own. There is an obvious amount of twisted imaginations that went into this world building and it contrasts and parallels the horrors that Nessa goes through at the hands of some of her peers at school.
The main problem I had with the book was the writing style. The book travels back and forth between Nessa’s point of view and those who are pulled into the world of the Sidhe to answer their Call. While I understand that seeing the trials of each of those who are called is important and did some invaluable world building, the change felt jarring and pulled me out of Nessa’s story. The book turned out to be a great read in spite of this jumping between characters, and is highly recommended if you can stomach bizarre and gruesome tales.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.