I discovered this book, like many others on my shelf, on booktube. I’m a massive follower of the community and I always make it a point to put the books that are popular in the community on my tbr because they’re my kind of reads more often than not. The booktube community introduced us to our now favorite author of all
The booktube community introduced us to our now favorite author of all time: Sarah J Maas; and other writers that we have thoroughly enjoyed reading. Needless to say, I soon went ahead and joined the Goodreads reading clubs and saw that “The Call – Peadar O’ Guilin” was the October book of the month. That looked like kind of a big deal and when I read what the Goodreads description had to say, I got thoroughly intrigued. Everyone in the review section had nothing but amazing things to say about it. I had to read it. And I had to recommend it to Riya.
We went in with high expectations and boy did a book ever meet them. If you like YA – dystopian – horror – fantasy novels then you need this one on your shelves and in your life.
If you’ve already read the book, this next section is for you and if you haven’t read the book, I would suggest that you bookmark this page and come back to it after you have.
We find out, a few pages into the book, that Nessa has Polio. Something she suspects she has because of the combination of neglect and the fact that her father was too old and weak when he became a parent. This sucks but Nessa’s determination is something that I can never applaud enough. She decides that she is not going to let this disability stand in the way of her survival and she works on strengthening her upper body in an attempt to make up for her lower body.
Up until the time that she gets called (and a good paragraph or two into it), I did not believe that Nessa could survive it. No matter how strong her arms were and how quickly she could make those crutches, there was a very slim chance that she could outrun the initial pursuit of the Sidhé. So when she is lying on the floor in the Grey land with a burning building to go back to, I supported her decision. What’s the point, I thought?
But I did cry. I cried for Anto who would, after losing Nessa, never be himself again. Anto, the sweet boy who wouldn’t hurt anything that was not trying to hurt him. Who would rather be called weak and a pacifist than eat animals or bully other students. Easily my favorite character in the book.
I find it so cute when at the beginning of the book, Nessa is so much in denial that she thinks of the first time they kissed for ten full minutes, an accident. Yet, Nessa risks her life to do ‘that stupid Romeo thing’ for Anto on multiple occasions and even after Anto finds out, he doesn’t ask Nessa to stop this madness. They’re a couple of fourteen years old kids in love, after all.
Connor, on the other hand, has very different idea about this entire infatuation business. In a different world, he would have been a regular bully. Sticking gum in your hair, blocking your way to class, spilling your drinks, etc. The kind of things fourteen-year-old bullies like to do. But in this new world of survival and sorrow, this young bully has been trained to survive a very harsh environment and also, to kill. Being good at all this, he believes he is above all the rest and likes to think of himself as a King. And a king needs to be seen with a queen.
He fools around with other girls he thinks are worthy of his attention but the person he really wants is Nessa. I never realized how this is the one thing that the plot would keep coming back to. Many people would like to argue that this is just like numerous other novels which give too much importance to love and infatuation. So much so that it takes a portion of its charm away from the plot.
But love/infatuation is not the motivation for Connor’s actions.
Sure, at one point in the hallway he acts on his ‘animistic instincts’ and tries to force himself on Nessa but everything he does next, like everything he did before, is driven by his twisted sense of pride/authority and the delusion of being a King. Even though his fight with the fair folks was amazing, it left me wondering what kind of a sick person would think that they were meant for a world like this. Who would marvel at a garment made of human flesh? Who would sell his entire nation out in order to rule over a dying race?
I’m so glad Nessa killed that little punk in the way she did.
One thing that I really enjoyed about the book is the way it was written. The author drops hints about what is going to happen (sentences that would start with: little did he/she/they know) without revealing anything which would only add to the tension building inside of me.
He really made me care for the characters. I cared about Nessa and her hopeless determination. When she couldn’t hug her best friend, even though she thought about it because her habit was pinning her to the chair. I cared about Anto and his kind heart. How he would risk his life for one of his bullies. I cared about Meghan and her smart mouth. How she made a dozen Sidhé cry and made sure that her school got a very important message before she died. And I cared about Connor and how I would like to spill his insides on the floor.
I could strangely relate with Nessa. In a way that if I were in her shoes, I would make the exact same choices she did at every single turn. She’s a very smart and sensible protagonist, which is not very common in YA. She’s a fourteen-year-old who acts like an eighteen-year-old (except when it comes to love) which is completely understandable considering the world they live in.
All Peadar O’Guilin had to do to make me loathe Connor was to give me access to his thoughts. I can’t even. No.
I keep trying to imagine how the Gray world would look like. It’s supposed to lack any color and yet I am to imagine human skulls over a field: bleeding and crying for help, Giants in the water, little people and their poison, and most confusing of all… I’m to imagine how Dagda’s garment changes color from brown to green. In a world that lacks color. Maybe it does have a very short spectrum of color? It’s all very confusing.
Another matter that is fairly insignificant but I can’t seem to shake is when the first boy is called on the bus, Meghan points out that Nessa was banging her head against the window. Again. Yet it is never mentioned in the book again. What is mentioned, though, is how sensible Nessa is and how she keeps her emotions in check. How Nessa never loses her cool and is a master at controlling her panic.
All very contradictory to the first statement.
What I liked the most about this book is how the author would introduce a new concept before implementing it. Like, we learn with Chahal that some people meet others that are also called in the Grey lands and sometimes a noble sacrifice from one saves the life of another. Then it is later shown being implemented with Anto and Chuckwu.
Another example is when we learn of the human traitors and the oath they Sidhé have been making them take with Melanie but is shown being implemented with Connor.
The author did introduce the Sidhé villain in hiding as well when Frankenstein said “Your Darwin” but I didn’t pay much attention to it because I thought he was one of those people who didn’t believe in evolution and also happened to be interested in both sides of the coin when it comes to the war with the Sidhé. He was talking about forgiveness on both sides, after all. But then his flesh kind of exploded, revealing a Sidhé, I must say that I did not see that coming. I also find the entire concept of the Fairy Fort confusing but also very interesting. I would like to learn more about that.
Overall, I enjoyed the ending. I found it very satisfying. There were some loose ends when it comes to actually defeating the Sidhé. I need to know how we’re going to do that. Maybe it’ll be by the involvement of the traitors that the Fae have in their world (like the one Meghan allied with) following the introduce and implement a pattern of the author. I checked the author’s Goodreads profile and there is a sequel set to release in 2017. Very excited about that.
Overall I would give this book an A (on a scale of C- to A+).
A very horrifying, quick and engaging read. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys the young adult horror and fantasy genre.
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