The call by

On her tenth birthday Nessa overhears an argument in her parents’ bedroom.
–Peadar Ó Guilín - The Call - c.2016

Grey Land #1

Ireland has been cut off from the rest of the world. No ships, no planes. No email contact, not even radio waves make it in or out of the island.1 And for those who are now marooned there is another threat, the Sídhe take every teenager. Of those who are called 1 in ten make it home, and often those who return are permanently scarred by what has happened in the Grey Land.

Society had to change, and now all teenagers are sent to “survival schools” where they learn to be tough, to fight, to run, to survive. All in the hope that they will make it through their day with the Sídhe, only 3 minutes to the outside world waiting for whatever returns.

This is yet another book I’d been meaning to read for a while, so I’m glad it is a nominee for the Lodestone this year and so part of the Hugo packet as it gave me that prompting to read it.

It is a very plot driven novel, lots of action and threat to keep the story going. I tend to prefer character driven fiction, so this didn’t work 100% for me. And I’m not quite sure what to make of the storyline with all the Sídhe, including the Dagda being bad guys. But it works for the story and I was certainly entertained and it kept my attention gripped the whole time.

There is a lot of death in this book. A lot. But there is also friendship and the beginnings of a romance. Some romances are cut short by death, only one in ten teenagers survive, remember. That’s seriously going to end a lot of love stories.

I also liked the hints about how society has had to adapt to being cut off from the rest of the world. No imports from anywhere. No exports. No money coming in, no fuel. None of this is really investigated, but there are lines here and there that make you think about the wider implications.

As far as I know this is a duology, so there is only one other book in the series. You could treat this as a standalone, some of the story has certainly come to a conclusion, but I’ll be picking up the second book as I want to know more about the world.


  1. lets not wonder about the political implications for Northern Ireland 

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