The Call follows Nessa as she prepares for the day when 3 minutes in the Grey Land determine the rest of her life. Crippled from birth, Nessa must fight for everything she has in a world that forgives nothing.
She knows that one day she will be ripped for her reality, forced to fight for her life against the faeries trying to kill her, or worst send her back to the human world twisted and transformed into a monster doomed to be killed by the world she’s fighting so hard to stay in.
This book is set in an alternative modern day Ireland where after humans banished the Faeries to the Grey Land they retaliated by stealing human children and killing them, or ‘playing’ with them in the Grey Land and returning their mangled bodies. Children are sent to training schools to prepare for the moment they are ‘called’. But only 1 in 10 children survive and for our main character Nessa, with her twisted-polio legs, her odds are even slimmer.
What I Loved:
The world building in this book is spectacular. The Ireland described to the reader has the feeling of modern day Ireland and all the places and things we associate with Ireland but has completely been taken over by fear and controlled by the Sidhe (faeries), blocking all forms of transport in or out of the country.
Every place described felt real in a book that is more fantasy than contemporary. I loved how the Grey Land realm was explained, there was enough depiction for me to piece my own image together but not so much that I felt overwhelmed or bored through passages of description.
I also loved how we dipped in and out of that world through multiple characters, like even though the story had one main protagonist, we didn’t just follow her journey but rather the journey of everyone around her. I loved world building written like this because first person narratives or the single person omniscient narration feels so closed off, like we only see one perspective or side of that world. While that can serve a purpose for some forms of story telling, opening it up and showing other people’s thoughts, emotions and views of the world builds upon the world we are getting to know until it feels fully formed. And that’s when you know you have a great story
I also really enjoyed that the premise was unlike anything I’ve hear of before. Sure they are loose threads back to books like, The Hunger Games, or the Maze Runner, but the faeries angle really took this book to another place.
I haven’t read enough bad faerie stories. And I say that because of this book. These faeries were both evil and malicious but also completely entertaining and I found myself looking forward to their chapters the most. I really enjoyed that we got a bit of history behind why the faeries were taking and killing the youths but it was vague enough that the plot wasn’t revealed early on.
What I didn’t like
This book really built towards a cataclysmic ending and it fell short for me. I don’t know if maybe it came too quickly or wrapped too fast but something about the ending felt off, like we spent all this time getting here and that’s what happened?
That was my immediate reaction reading it. I liked where the ending was going and how that all came together but the conclusion felt odd to me. I did like that it wasn’t a cookie-cutter happy ending because that type of ending with this type of book would’ve ruined a fantastically gripping story. There was some resolution and a small moment of happiness but overall not every problem was solved, nor did all the loose ends get tied up and I liked that slightly open-ended ending. It felt right for the book, but perhaps came a little too quickly.
Why you should read it
I can guarantee you haven’t read anything like this. I haven’t heard of or read about any book with this kind of end-of-the-world premise, it felt really new and different but it was playing with mythical creatures we all already know, or think we do.
The dark/horror/gory elements make for a compelling read. There’s no doubt about it, but they never feel like cheap throwaway plot devices, they are integrated into the story so fluidly that you don’t question it. It is the norm for that world and you accept it right from the get go.
If you’re buying this for someone as a present (for whatever holiday you celebrate), you’re guaranteed to give them a book they’ve never read because not enough people are talking about this book (and they should be!)
4 stars our of 5