Saturday 27 August 2016

REVIEW: The Call by Peadar O'Guilin

Pages: 334
Format: ARC Paeperback
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: September 1st
Buy The Book: Book Depository

What if you only had 3 minutes to save your own life and the clock is already counting down...

Three minutes.
Nessa, Megan and Anto know that any day now they wake up alone in a horrible land and realise they've been Called.

Two minutes.
Like all teenagers they know that they'll be hunted down and despite all their training only 1 in 10 will survive.

One minute.
And Nessa can't run, her polio twisted legs mean she'll never survive her Call will she?

Time's up.

My Thoughts:
Ireland has been left cut off from the rest of the world. No one gets in or out, there is no outside help, the citizens are trapped and their numbers are dwindling. That’s because all teenagers must face the Call. At random times, day or night, a teenager will be Called to the Grey Land, the place where the Sidhe were forced to remain by the Irish centuries ago. Now they are seeking revenge by hunting the teenagers that they bring to their land in the most brutal ways imaginable. The odds of survival are one in ten. 

I’ve read a lot of stories that have thrown teenagers in the face of death, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one quite as chilling as this. The Sidhe are absolutely terrifying. Their awful ways of hunting down and ‘playing’ with their victims left a shiver down my spine whilst reading. The descriptions of the faeries and their land were vivid and real, definitely one of the creepiest locations I’ve visited in a book for a long time. 

We meet Nessa and her fellow classmates at their survival school where they train as hard as possible in the hopes of being among the lucky few who are able to survive the Call. One by one we see them disappear as they get Called and even though we’re supposed to expect it (because, ya know, that’s what the book is about), it still comes as a shock, to them and the reader. To see these characters who you get to know and learn to adore, actually thrown into this situation they’ve been training for, this nightmarish land of the Sidhe, it’s a stomach-dropping moment. 

These characters are so rich and complex. Nessa, oh my goodness, I love her. Polio leaves her unable to walk properly on her legs, making her the underdog. But she doesn’t let that slow her down for one second. She works twice as hard, being even more determined to prove that she can survive. Her fierce spirit makes it easy to root for her throughout the book. Even though you know that most of these teens won’t come out of this alive, it’s doesn’t stop you from growing attached to them and wanting them to survive. It’s desperately sad to see them thrown into the unpleasant horrors of the Sidhe. Despite their limited time together, the bonds they formed were touching, and I loved the different relationships between them.  

The Sidhe themselves, as terrifying as they are, were fascinating to read about, as was the Grey Land. It was gory and twisted, definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it was hard to turn my eyes away. I was desperate to learn more about these faeries and their history. Since I’m pretty sure this book is the first in a series, I’m highly anticipating another trip into this world that O’Guilin has created, and I’m equally excited to see and dreading what nightmares await the characters next.  

You can read my recent interview with Peadar here!

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