The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín is so dark and more than a little twisted. I loved it.
In a dystopian-future styled setting, the teenagers in The Call are in danger. A long time ago, the Sidhé, Irish fairies, were banished from the world to a barren waste land. Over the last 25 years, teenagers have been getting Called; the Sidhé are snatching them and bringing the teenagers to their world. 9 out of 10 are sent back dead after 3 minutes (but it is much longer than 3 minutes in the Sidhé world).
Nessa is 14 and she has trouble walking because she had gotten sick. She knows she might die when she’s called but she plans to fight any how. The challenge is that some of the kids she goes to school with are vicious and make life even harder. A few others have made deals with the Sidhé. And the Sidhé are even closer to being able to return to the human world.
The Call is super dark but I loved it. I couldn’t put it down and read the whole book in only 3 days, I might have finished sooner if I didn’t have a job to go to. It kid of reminded me of the Hunger Games in the dystopian future, things not being safe, and kids possibly being randomly grabbed and having to fight for their lives.
From what I can tell, the Sidhé are based on Irish mythology. The characters mention things like how the Sidhé used to take babies from their cradles and swap the baby with one of their own babies. In The Call, the characters were unsure about why the Sidhé had switched to taking teenagers instead, but in any case, they had and they killed them. I remember a similar tale involving fairies taking babies from Outlander, which is set in Scotland, but it might be a coincidence. If you want to learn more about the Sidhé, here is a link. Peadar Ó Guilín wove Irish mythology into the dystopian future setting of The Call.
Mostly, I am just super stoked about what an intriguing read The Call was and I would love to read more of Peadar Ó Guilín’s books. He wrote from the POV of one particularly psychotic character and I thinking “ooooh, he went there” – it would be like if George R.R. Martin wrote from the POV of Jeoffrey, although it’s possible that Joeffrey was worse but it’s the general idea. And I also like that the book didn’t end happy or, really, resolved. I mean, there weren’t really any loose ends but Nessa was clearly still working toward defeating the Sidhé. I kind of like it when authors don’t insist on wrapping up their novels with a nice happy ending. It’s fun, because sometimes you can have a conclusion to a story line but know work still has to be done the characters and it’s ok.
In any case, if you would like a grim / dark read, I would totally recommend The Call. It’s so good.
Title: The Call
Author: Peadar Ó Guilín
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Publication date: August 30, 2016
Page count: 320
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian future?