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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

You have three minutes to save your life . . . THREE MINUTES You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun. TWO MINUTES The Sidhe are close. They're the most beautiful and terrible people you've ever seen. And they've seen you. ONE MINUTE Nessa will be Called soon. No one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she's determined to prove them wrong. TIME'S UP Could you survive the Call? A genre-changing blend of fantasy, horror, and folkore, The Call won't ever leave your mind from the moment you choose to answer it.…

The Call

by Peadar O'Guilin

Overall Book Review:

Yay! A fantasy novel about fairies. It’s going to be so magical! Nay! Faeries and their Gray land have never been more demented or creepy than in Peadar O’Gullin’s The Call. How in the world did pixies become so puckish? And not in the wee little mischievous Midsummer’s Night way, because it’s full on man-eater.

Never has a generation of Irish children been so aware of its folklore, especially as it pertains to their enemy.”

Set in a post-apocalyptic Ireland cut off from the rest of the human race, its populous survival rests on its adolescents enduring the call–a three-minute period of time equal to one day in fey’s Gray world, in which they must withstand being hunted by deranged Sìdhe (faeries). And even if you do make it out, you’re not always intact.

Though sinister, Peadar O’Gullin’s writing is magical, notably with his third person writing style. It is usually in first person where readers feel the most connected to the characters, but I think O’Gullin wanted the connection to be more directed on the world building he so masterfully created (especially the creepy Gray land) hence, a perfect choice for third person narrative. Throughout the chapters readers are planted in various characters’ heads–friend and enemy alike. Though we get many characters’ insights, the protagonist would have to be Nessa. Her fight for survival is harder than most because she is also dealing with having to train with useless legs that were crippled from polio. Feeling that she’s begun with a disadvantage, Nessa keeps herself guarded and training hard because the vicious Sidhe aren’t her only threat.

Nessa is girl who imagines a great destiny for herself: survival. She will fight anyone who threatens to steal it from her. Most especially, she will fight her weaker self.”

As the body count rises, so will the readers’ heart rates because the fight for one of the race’s survival hangs in the balance. Whose side will you be on? This fantasy horror novel may not be cut off yet, as the author is teasing that there is another book in the works.

Books with similar elements; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Falconer by Elizabeth May.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by David Fickling Press

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  12 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 6 derogatory names; 7 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms. Note: The word “bloody” is used a few times throughout the novel, but not tallied.

Violence/Gore: Implications of violence (2x); character knocks another character down; as a nervous habit character repeatedly bangs their head (2x); several (11+) incidents of threats and implied violence, some descriptive and alarming in nature such as a plan to murder; characters fight, mention of injuries and blood; extended scene (about 2 pages) character runs in terror from assailants, stabbing and death; extended scene (about 1 page) characters practice hand to hand combat; report of teen boyfriend hitting his teen girlfriend in sexual act; fantasy creature falls breaking their back; character withers in pain at fantasy creatures touch (happens few times throughout novel); extended scene (about 1 page) fantasy creatures and characters fight, results in deaths; school uses smaller children as targets for older children to practice weapon throwing; instructor knocks over and punches student; report of possible mass murder at a school(2x); character witnesses a character being tackled and gagged; brief mention of receiving a beating from other students for not winning at a training exercise (2x); friends slaps another friend across the face (2x); discovery of a corpse; report of fantasy creature being stabbed; character tackles another character, blood and injuries mentioned; character is eaten by fantasy creatures; characters fight off attackers; extended scene (about 2 pages) violent encounter with fantasy creature results in death, injuries mentioned; extended scene (about 1 page) creepy fantasy creatures begin fighting and eating one another; mention of survivors of trauma having to be on suicide watch; few times in which characters contemplate suicide in the face of being tortured by captors; extended disturbing scene (about 2 pages) teen male tries to sexually force himself upon teen female character, female is able to fight off attacker injuring him; character snuffs out tiny attacker with fire; character receives beating is a sparring match; report of mutilated body; character grabs another character’s arm hard and threatens to break it; extended scene (about 2 pages) talk and plan of violence; character knocks another character down with an object; character tackles and hits another character; extended scene (about ½ page) character is eaten by fantasy creature; extended scene (about 1 page) male character hits female over the head with an object with the intent to kill; extended scene (about 1 page) character fights off attacking fantasy creatures killing many, blood mentioned; mentioned that character killed a fantasy creature; character throws a rock and takes out attackers eye; implication that character killed their friend, appears to have licked their blood; fantasy creature explodes into a new person, blood and carnage mentioned (slightly gory); character confirms they killed guard animals; report of character acting out in anger; extended scene (about 2 pages) characters and fantasy creatures fight with guns and magic (somewhat gory); extended scene (about 1 page) character attacks another character; extended scene (about 1 ½ page) characters are attacked, blood and death mentioned; extended scene (about 2 pages) characters try to fight off attackers while also trying to escape a fire that what set intentionally; extended scene (about 1 page) character watches a fantasy creature being disintegrate with acid from magical plant; extended scene (about 1 ½ page) implications and reports of violence; extended scene (about 1 page) fantasy creatures are killed with gunfire. 

Sex/Nudity:  Joke about kissing; married couple hug; few times throughout the novel it is said that a female character is attracted to a male character, vice versa; love poetry mentioned a few times; about 11 references to non-sexual nudity, and 1 extended scene (about 1 page); a few mentions of teenagers being homosexual hugging/kissing one another, sharing a bed, and being forced into heterosexual marriages as adults; extended scene (about 1 page) teen female reveals she is pregnant with teen male’s child; character is called an animal rapist; slang for woman being prostitute used as term of affection as well as insult (about 10x); joke about infidelity; joke about seduction; few general sexual references made; report of boyfriend hitting his girlfriend in sexual act; character thinks about a kiss/kissing; male character is nicknamed big boobs; extended disturbing scene (about 2 pages) teen male tries to sexually force himself upon teen female character, female is able to fight off attacker injuring him; pregnancy rumor of older teen; joke about nudity; memory of a kiss; deadly kiss; extended scene (about ½ page) kiss and embrace.

Mature Subject Matter:

Living with a physical disability/deformity, forced mutilations on teenagers, children train as soldiers, killing/murder/death, genetic cleansing, homosexuality.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A few times teenagers smoke; few references to adults drinking/trauma results in alcoholism.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.