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…
The Call was an interesting book to read, with an interesting premise. Ireland has been cut off from the rest of the world – no one can get in, and no one can leave, and adolescent children are ‘called’ at some point during their teenage years, vanishing for three minutes and four seconds, before returning. Most of them die, those that do return are changed, and not always for the best.
There is a lot of hype around this book, and I think I went into reading this book expecting it to be scarier and more confronting than it actually way. Which doesn’t detract from the plain fact that this is a unique story, with an enemy that is an interesting twist on a familiar creature. This book does have violence and death, so if those aren’t your things, I would suggest you steer clear, but it also wasn’t completely over the top.
The characters were all very interesting in their own right, Nessa most of all. In this world, children are raised and taught to survive ‘The Call’ and so they don’t have much of a childhood. They know they will, most likely, die, and I think it’s such an fascinating platform for building characters and character development. Nessa, who’s legs are twisted as a result of surviving polio, is determined not to be killed in the Grey Land. She’s surrounded by her friends, who each have their own motivations, and other students who may or may not have ill intent.
As a reader, we’re thrust straight into this world, with no lead-up. We discover facts and events as they play out. There are multiple character point of views in this book, and we’re not always given all the answers, which works in this book’s favour.
Overall, I enjoyed my reading experience. I rated The Call 3.5 out of 5 stars.
title // The Call
author // Peadar O Guilin
publisher // David Fickling Books
genre // Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopian
publication date // September 2016
format // Paperback