♡ This is a spoiler free review.
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 a delightfully dark, disturbing and twisted read – part Irish Folklore and part horror – it’s definitely not a story for the faint of heart. The Call follows a group of interesting teens residing at Boyle College where they are receiving extensive and harsh training to survive the horrors they’ll inevitably experience when they get Called. Every teen between the age of ten and seventeen will eventually get called to the Grey Land without warning, once there, they awake naked without any weapons and they have to run, hide and fight to survive the wrath of the Sídhe.
The only thing the Sídhe cares about is killing as many teens as they can from Ireland as the Irish took their land many moons ago and banished them to this hellish land of grey. They only live to seek vengeance for all the wrongs they have suffered. When a teen gets Called they have to survive 24 hours (3 minutes and 4 second in Irish time) in the company of the Sídhe, but very few survive and if they do they’re forever scared both mentally and physically.
Our main character Nessa was an interesting and extremely strong heroine, Nessa had polio as a child which made her legs weak and automatically made her more of a target at Boyle and it seriously limited her chances of surviving if she was to be Called. Nessa was really an inspiring female character as she just didn’t give up and she could do anything and everything that the other teens could do. I really loved the setting of The Call, the main story was set in Ireland (just darker) and the rest of the story takes places in the Grey Land which was really intriguing as most of the land is made of human remains and bones which was delightfully creepy.
Although I thought that Nessa was brilliant I had a hard time connecting with her or any of the other characters which made it hard for me to form any kind of bond with any of the characters, this ultimately led to me not really caring about who lived or who died. The third person narrative also threw me off sometimes and made it harder to get invested in the story and it took me a few chapters to really get a grasp on O’ Guilin’s unique writing style.
Overall I think The Call is an exceptionally great and creepy read that will really resonate with fans of The Hunger Games and Stranger Things. It certainly had me glued to its pages and has me eagerly awaiting the sequel!
♡ Content Warning — Mutilation, Violence and Death.
♡ I kindly received a copy from Jonathan Ball Publishers for review, this has in no way affected my opinion.