author: Peadar O’Guilin
published: David Fickling Books, 2016
my rating: 4/5
The horn is sounding and her enemies, who have tumbled bravely after her, are no more than a hundred paces behind.
In the not so distant future, Ireland is completely cut off from the outside world because of the Sídhe. Horrific yet beautiful fairy creatures who seek to get revenge for being exiled into the Grey Land, an awful place with no colour or light, by Calling teens to hunt, kill and torture them. Only 1 in 10 return home, usually not in the best shape. Nessa is of age and has to train harder and be smarter if she is ever going to survive, especially with her disabled leg. The Call is only 3 minutes and 4 seconds, who will be able to survive?
I devoured this book, I read half of it before bed and the other half when I woke up the next day. The concept of the Call itself very creative, nothing like I have ever heard before. Children and teenagers who are anticipating the Call attend a Survival collage in order to learn skills that might save them in the Grey Land because once they’re Called, they show up with nothing- no clothes on their backs, or items in their hands. I like how the students have to work with what they’ve been handed there is no magic or shortcut to become stronger so they have to work hard and persevere. The variety of characters is great too and I absolutely loved Nessa.
The author did an amazing job building the magical and horrible world of the Grey Land as well as building the Ireland that has to deal with this reality- it all felt very real and I never questioned.. would this really happen? I want more! I’m hoping for a sequel.
The plot moved very quickly and the chapters were nice and short. The stories of the Calls were compelling to read, the run from the Sídhes, the push to survive against all odds- definitely action packed. But it wasn’t just filler material between Calls which is what I was worried about when I first started reading, there is an engaging overlying plot line.
The only thing that I found to be a bit of a difficulty was the writing didn’t always flow and I found myself rereading a few sentences a couple times over. That being said it never really got in the way of the story line and I liked the style of the writing, I just got caught up here and there.
Overall I recommend this book if you’re interested in a well built dystopian adventure that is creepy and suspenseful, the story of the will to survive with strong main characters.
If you are interested in reading this book, I found a short video by O’Guilin explaining the pronunciation for some of the words- you can check it out here.
Until next time, Emily