The Call

The Call

Book - 2016
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For the last twenty-five years every teenager in Ireland has been subject to "the call" which takes them away to the land of the S©Ưdhe, where they are hunted for twenty four hours (though only three minutes pass in this world)--handicapped by her twisted legs, Nessa Doherty knows that very few return alive, but she is determined to be one of them.
Publisher: New York : David Fickling Books/Scholastic Inc., 2016.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2016
ISBN: 9781338045611
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 22 cm


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ReadingAdviser_Sally Mar 09, 2021

I really, really liked this dark Irish folk tale meets dystopian possible future fantasy. I wish there was a series but I was very satisfied by the story as it was. It really crept along and was deliciously dark and twisted while still maintaining hope. This was such an original idea, I was absolutely drawn in right from the description. I would say this book borders on the line between dark fantasy and horror, and that's a good thing in my books! Very likable characters.

sjpl_rebekah Jan 23, 2021

What a truly disturbing read. The twisted Grey Land that Ó Guilín has created is truly horrifying, but the capacity for human cruelty he puts on display is equally so. I have read several books recently with fairies as a theme, but none of them come even close to the darkness of this book. There were times when I felt my stomach turn while reading it, and yet I couldn’t put it down because I HAD to know what would happen to Nessa when she was called.

Nessa is a character to be reckoned with. She is intelligent, brave, and resourceful – with an indomitable will to survive. It is really refreshing to see a character with such a prominent disability reject the narrative that has been shoved down her throat by society. Everyone believes her disability is a death sentence, but she works harder and smarter to defy the odds by honing her strengths.

I was a little fuzzy about the history of the Sidhe and their banishment to the Grey Lands…I would have liked more information about that as context for their cruelty. Were they always so cruel? Was there ever a time they co-existed with humans? How was the Grey Land created? Maybe some of these questions are answered in the second book.

Amy Shiels was an excellent narrator for this tale (I listened to it in eAudiobook format). Her characterization of the Sidhe really upped the creep factor! I think the book got an additional 1/2 star from me for her performance alone.

Jun 25, 2018

Breath-taking, fascinating, and thrilling, this book will keep you up all night (out of fear as well as fascination). Touching on mythology, post-apocalypses, and survival, The Call is a memorable read, and totally worth reading.

PimaLib_SierraG Jun 12, 2018

Not your average fairy story. O'Guillan's story has more in common with an alien invasion story than your typical fairy-tale. The few children left in an Ireland isolated from the rest of the world face nightmarish challenges such as abductions into an alien fae landscape, bodily mutilations and the very, very, VERY real possibility that neither they nor their friends will live to graduate high-school. Great for fans of books like the Hunger Games, Tithe or Maze Runner.
Lots of death and dismemberment so know your tolerance and be ready to put the scary back in fairy.

Aug 24, 2017

I suppose my relatively low rating mostly derives from expecting more from this book than what I received. I found the premise fascinating, between the Irish Mythology and the Hunger Games-like plot (as I thought the original Hunger Games could have done a lot more with the premise it had), but The Call rarely delivered on any of it. We don't receive a whole lot of insight into Irish Mythology or History, and our main character barely spends any time in The Grey World.
Throughout the novel, I was never entirely sure what the story was building towards. At the beginning, I hoped that once Nessa entered the realm of the Sidhe, she would learn something about their species and maybe understand something deeper about why they were kidnapping children and torturing them. Early on, this appeared to not be the case. They seemed instead to be building up to a larger battle between the humans and the Sidhe, which I was mostly fine with as a plot point. But then the battle is mixed up with out One Dimensional Bully Character's obsession with Nessa, and her own Call. Her Call is then cut short because of the ODBC's obsession and so she never has to endure the full call, so everything she has been training for the entire book suddenly doesn't matter. Then, the final battle doesn't really result in anything changing on the large scale. The epilogue makes it seem like what we were building towards was Nessa's Call, but she barely gets Called at all! She hasn't accomplished anything or changed as a character. We as the reader haven't learned anything new about their world that wasn't apparent at the beginning. Nessa doesn't have new values or appreciation for life or anything of the sort.
Overall, I felt this was an intriguing premise largely wasted on boring boarding school drama and shallow characterization. It was helped by the brief time we spend in the Grey World through supporting character POV. Nonetheless, I expected a much stronger story than what I read.

ArapahoeBridget Mar 09, 2017

Clever and unsettling with a fascinating lead. If you're a Hunger Games fan, but you want more magic and less government interference, this would be perfect. Plus, the multiple perspectives make for deeply creepy and extra fascinating world-building.

Beatricksy Feb 13, 2017

Somehow disappointing. The concept isn't new: elves, fairies, fair folk, whatever you wish to call them, being evil is an ancient idea steeped in myth. That's where we get our Lankins, our Men with Thistle Down Hair, and all the elves on Discworld. The ones in here are no different. And that's disappointing. There isn't anything unique from the villains except their Gray World. The human cast is forgettable and interchangeable. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate them. I like the vegetarian boy being stronger than others credit him, I enjoy our lead female requiring crutches. PTSD is fairly addressed. It's just missing some spark of life. For a book that is about humanity overcoming darkness that haunts their footsteps, it doesn't seem to achieve much. Almost like it gets too lost in its blood bath. Would rather read Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.

Dec 16, 2016

This book blew my mind. It crept me out to my core and I didn't want to stop reading but I did. It was tragic and unsympathetic and brave and horrific. A great thriller of mythology mixed with Hunger Games mixed with boarding school books. It was terrifically terrifying.

JCLTomE Nov 09, 2016

A fresh take on the age old Faeries and Humans relationship. A lot of magic and action in a creative dystopian environment make this a quick read.

Sep 12, 2016

Three and half minutes in our world lasts a whole day in the Grey World, and all the while you are being hunted by a innumerable horde of vengeful beings armed with magic. This story is AWESOME--full of adolescents growing up skewed by circumstance and with the weight of national survival on their shoulders.
Ireland is stranded; isolated from the rest of the world by the Sídhe (fair folk in English) as part of their revenge for being driven "under the mounds" thousands of years ago. No one comes in and no one goes out--neither does any traffic, vehicular or commercial.
It took them a good number of centuries, but the Sídhe figured out how to cut off the island, killing thousands of people in transit, and Call the adolescents, one or more at a time, into their Grey World, where only 1 in 10 will survive to return. Even the survivors are severely damaged by the experience, physically and mentally, because the fairies like to 'play' with them. All children of Ireland between the ages of 10 and 17 attend Survival Colleges in the hopes of increasing the number of survivors.
Our heroine, Nessa, is in Year 5 (she's 15) and she's been disabled by polio early in life. Almost everyone dismisses her chances when Called, but Nessa is strong in body and mind--she's determined to survive. With horrifying descriptive clarity, Ó'Guilín describes each Year 5 student's experience in the Grey World; something like we might imagine Hell to be like. She and her best friend, Megan, are as easy to like as Conor and his 'Knights' are to dislike.
The author's explanation for why the fairies are so small in our world made me chuckle because it was quite inventive and believable. The ending worked for me, but I wouldn't be averse to another book in this timeline. There's some unanswered questions: What happened to Rebecca Madigan that makes her turn on the other humans? Did Melanie get her reward for helping the Sídhe? Does anyone find out about the traitors among them and is anything done about them? In essence: What happens next?
Isn't that what a great story does for you?

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Jun 25, 2018

vunavarrete thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

PimaLib_SierraG Jun 12, 2018

PimaLib_SierraG thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

djoyce Jul 12, 2016

djoyce thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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