Paedar O’Guilin – The Call

Nessa and her friends attend Boyle College to train for the most dangerous time of their lives – THE CALL.

Without warning, each one of them will wake in a terrifying land, alone and hunted, with a one-in-ten chance of returning alive.

No one believes Nessa can make it, but she’s determined to prove them all wrong. And she will need every ounce of spirit and courage in order to survive…

The back cover of Paedar O’Guilin’s The Call also has a quote mentioning The Hunger Games and that comparison is apt. I was equally, but differently, bugged out by the dour material that both books deal with. I may not be the intended audience, at 38, but putting teens in a post-apocalyptic world where they have to fight for their lives makes for heavy reading, any way you slice it. 

Paedar O’Guilin sets his story in a modern Ireland, cut off from the rest of the world and under siege from the Tuatha de Danaan, come back to reclaim their land. They kill off as many human thieves as they can transport to their world and it turns out teenagers are most handy, because adolescence takes a couple of years to get past. 

Enter Nessa, a polio survivor and crippled for life. She faces impossible odds attending Survival College, waiting for her call to Faerie. She knows that that one-in-ten are not her odds, but she will not let it stop her from preparing to the best of her abilities. Around her are her friends that she dares not get to close to, for most will not survive. The teenagers are written well and act believably under such dire circumstances, some acting out, some opting out and the rest putting on a brave face.

The story is well written, but the plot is, like in all these extreme-circumstance novels, a bit hard to suspend disbelief for continuously. And although the characters are well written, with good interaction and some levity at times, the whole story is a bit depressing despite the ending. Still a good read, I went through it pretty fast. On the whole, for me this book was a bit of a mixed bag. I think I would have liked it better if I were closer to my teenage years, so that is a plus for this novel.

Wiebe van der Salm

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