THE CALL BY PEADAR O'GUILIN
PUBLISHED BY SCHOLASTIC, INC.
REVIEW BY NAOMI GALLICHAN
The Call is the outcome of having the Hunger Games at Hogwarts in Ireland. The young adult horror is the imaginative creation of what life would be like if folk lore was real and humans weren't the dominant species. It starts off grimly with only 1 in 10 surviving The Call and the odds don't improve from there.
Ireland is cut off from the rest of the world and there is no escape. The Call itself is the summoning of human teenagers into the grey lands where the Fairy Folk, or Sidhe as they are known, were banished by the teen’s ancestors thousands of years before hand. In the grey lands time seems to proceed as per normal however a day and a half there is only three minutes and four seconds in Ireland.
The teens never know when they will be called but arrive naked and without a weapon for protection. The hunt is then on as the Sidhe sniff out the young one and torture him or her until they are returned to the human realm often dead and mutilated. Very few survive the chase, and those that do return are changed in many ways. They are then expected to breed to continue 'The Nation'.
The story itself follows young Nessa a 5th year and disabled Polio survivor at Boyle Survival College. With the odds against her she must learn to find strength where others have natural ability to survive The Call. Many of her classmates will be summoned and perish. As you hear their horrid trials, you will also feel their courage, fear and eventual loss.
The book is easy to read and I really struggled to put it down – finishing it within four days. While there are some small plot holes, it's easy to ignore them and let yourself get lost in Nessa's world and imagine the disfigured creatures of the grey lands. At times I even felt empathy towards the Sidhe, but the vulgar acts they commit and thoroughly enjoy, encourage hope for the human underdog’s survival. The ending was open enough that a 2nd book could be a possibility and I hope for it.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.