Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Review: The Call by Peadar O' Guilin

Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Source: Purchased

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Blurb :

3 minutes and 4 seconds. The length of time every teenager is 'Called', from the moment they vanish to the moment they reappear. 9 out of 10 children return dead. Even the survivors are changed. The nation must survive. 

Nessa, Megan and Anto are at a training school - to give them some chance to fight back. Their enemy is brutal and unforgiving. But Nessa is determined to come back alive. Determined to prove that her polio-twisted legs won't get her killed. But her enemies don't just live in the Grey Land. There are people closer to home who will go to any length to see her, and the nation, fail...

 I first heard about this book at the Dept Con book convention and immediately rushed out to buy it! 

I kinda went into this book without knowing anything about it or hearing anyone else talk about the plot and honestly I think that could possibly be the best way to go into the novel. 

The novel centers around a future Ireland where fairy folk known as Sidhe were banished from Ireland to another realm. As revenge for being evicted from their homeland, the Sidhe take children out of Ireland to their world for 3 minutes and torture them before sending them back. Kids and teenagers are now sent to military style combat schools where they learn to train and prepare for their call one day so that they might survive the horrors that the Sidhe have planned for them. 

This novel is definitely not for the easily scared or faint-hearted. Peadar has created a world so terrifying, you may want to sleep with the light on for the night! The twisted nature of the Sidhe's and how they torture, hurt and brutally maim the kids / teenagers for pleasure is difficult to read- as are the descriptions of what they look like after this ordeal. The atmosphere of fear and dread in the wait up to your inevitable call is also so well written that you, as the reader also feel this horrid sense of anticipation of something terrible. Definitely a few scenes that just made me put down the book and try to think pleasant thoughts for a few moments before returning to it. 

The characters in the novel are really well written. I loved the "irishness" that they still had, in terms of slang, behaviors and phrases. It was really nice to read a book with that in it. 
The main character Nessa was so unbelievably tough and wonderful to read about. Nessa is strong willed, independent, kick ass in terms of combat and also fiercely loyal. Nessa had polio as a child and as a result has lack of ability in her legs but she doesn't let this gain her any pity or stop her from being top of her class in combat. She works three times as hard as her classmates because she knows that one day she will be called and the Sidhe will not pity her. I loved her determination and constant focus. She was a brilliant character. 

I also loved Megan, Ms Breen and Anto. I loved the friendship between Nessa and Megan also between Nessa and Anto. Brilliantly written. 

I really enjoyed that the novel showed many perspectives and POV's without it being confusing or over done. The novel showed quick clips and insights into other characters stories and moments that then fed into the overall general plot which I thought was a clever and interesting way to tell the story. 

I felt there was a little something lacking with the novel. Although I really enjoyed reading it and loved the extremely visual and striking imagery with which it was told, I did have a few faults. I didn't really feel gripped or fully invested in the novel until a good 80 pages in, which is a lot longer than it would usually be for me. I felt that the novel was a semi slow burner at the beginning, as it started off at a slightly slower pace but then got more and more action packed as the novel went on. I also felt the writing was a not as captivating at times during the novel and you were almost skim reading to quickly get to an exciting part. 

Overall The Call is an action packed novel that will have you sleeping with the light on with its extreme and hauntingly gruesome descriptions. A wonderful Irish YA novel. Perfect novel to read around winter and Halloween. 

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