{Review/Giveaway} THE CALL by Peadar O'Guilin

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

The Call
   ON HER TENTH BIRTHDAY Nessa overhears  an argument in her parent's bedroom. She knows nothing about the Three Minutes yet. How could she? The whole of society is working to keep its children innocent. She plays with dolls. She believes the lies about her brother, and when her parents tuck her into bed at night—her grinning dad, her fussy mam—they show her only love.

But now, with ten candles on a cake in the kitchen behind her, that's all supposed to change.

Dad can't know his daughter is right outside the door, and  yet he whispers. "We don't need to tell her," he says. "She . . . she isn't able to run anyway. She's a special case. We could give her a few more years to be our baby."

(Page 1, US Hardcover Edition)

                   “And Antoinette thinks, as a million have before her, We banished them here. No wonder they hate us.” 

~Antoinette, THE CALL

I tore through THE CALL by Peadar O'Guilin like I was starving. It's one of those books that makes itself terribly hard to put down, your mind whispering "Just one more chapter." The consequences of war with a magical species are . . . engagingly gruesome, to say the least. The setting of THE CALL is in a dystopian sort of Ireland. The history is talked about in short bursts and the reader never get the full storyline, but the gist is this : Sometime during the Iron Age, the Irish banished the Sidhe (fae)to a sickly grey dimension devoid of color. There are hints from the human side that this was a mutual treaty of sorts, but in any case 25 years before the book starts, the Sidhe manage to curse Ireland. The area is essentially cut off from the rest of the world, the occupants trapped, with nothing to do but try to prepare their youth for what is coming. Somewhere in their range of teen years, every child living in Ireland is called to the Sidhe's grey prison. That creates a gruesome enough cloud to begin with, the certainty of it. There are no names in bowls to be chosen, every child at the age of ten comes to know that they will be called, and only one out of a hundred youth survive.

Nessa, our main character, is not viewed as someone who has a chance of being that one out of one hundred. Most diseases have died out in this version of Ireland, but Nessa lives with the crippling effects of Polio, which solidifies her chances of a terrible death in the eyes of her peers. But she has always insisted that she is going to live, a character with a strong wall around her, hardening her insides to make up for the weaknesses on her outsides. Nessa doesn't want pity or special treatment, she's smart and adaptive and save for her connections to her best friend Megan and Anot, the love interest she tries to suffocate her feelings for, she is far removed from the world around her. I found her to be an incredibly depthy and vibrant character, though in this sad way it's like she hasn't really allowed herself to live yet. That mental image grows to encapsulate the whole population of students at the survival college. Children with spears, children learning to hide. Time is different between the Sidhe world and Ireland. A call only lasts Three Minutes in the latter, but in the grey lands a student has to survive for a full day before they are returned. If they survive they are not always guaranteed to return without scaring and gruesome parting gifts, as the Sidhe have gruesome ideas of how to play with their prey.

I tend to have a love hate relationship with narrations that switch from one character to another, but I feel like THE CALL does it right. When the shifts happen they are important moments, whatever character we have switched to has an important piece of the story only their perspective can slide into place for us. Of course there's one or two short chapters where the description of a student's experience during a call is purely intended for gruesome imagery, but I found myself just as engaged in those moments as I was during the times where the plot was deep and complex. And the narrative style is done in this way that really makes the action feel present . . . so that when the action or horror aspects are building you feel them as the character does.

I'm a sucker for endings that leave question marks in the air, and I'll say that my first thought upon turning the final page was PLEASE GOD LET THEIR BE AN EVENTUAL SEQUEL. I want to know more about the history behind the Sidhe's banishment, and it is clear that their movements against Ireland were not wrapped up in this story. The war has not concluded and it feels like their should be more. Aside from being a really great read if you're in the mood for horror and gruesome imagery that will make you cringe, THE CALL is one of those books that stays with you afterwards. It makes you stop and compare the society within the book to ours, to the wars we fight and how messy they can be, how blurred the sides can get. And that's what I love the most out of any book that takes me somewhere imaginary, for it to give me something I can still tie back to my own world.

THE CALL is a book I'd recommend to older teens, fifteen and up, O'Guilin does not skimp on the horror aspects; both physical and psychological. It's a great read though, I liked it so much more than I anticipated and if you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner, this will probably scratch an itch for you too.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: 15+ (Most bouts of romance are brief amid the action of the plot, but mature looks at sex and sexuality do happen. )
Language: 15+ ( A lot of cursing. )
Violence: 15+ ( Very graphic viiolence)
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover is simple but hints at everything you need to know. The skull in the A tells you that death is going to be a rampant theme, the words are trapped in a crimson circle. I'm fond of simple covers when they're done right, and I feel that this one definitely does it's job.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Peadar O'Guilin
Release Date:August 30th 2016 
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Received: Purchased

Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun. 

Could you survive the Call?

During The Books Under Your Bed Week,
We're giving away a book of YOUR CHOICE
from the event!

It could be THE CALL!

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