Humanity’s wake-up call. Answer it or face extinction.
When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.
Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.
But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.
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There are a lot of characters and a lot of POVs (points of view) in the book. I consider it a testimony of Branwen OShea's skill that I had no trouble distinguishing between them and remembering who was who. The characters include both humans living in an undeground haven and star beings living on the surface of the planet. All of them felt like real and flawed people that I could relate to. Most of them were likeable, but there was one violent and destructive POV character, and reading about his thoughts, beliefs and motivations was interesting.
The story takes place in the far future on Earth, during an ice age. I liked this premise and enjoyed watching the characters interact with the setting, both on the surface and below. The author has given a lot of thought to various aspects of the star beings' culture as well as living underground.
The plot was straightforward and adventurous. The second half of the book was filled with dramatic action that kept me on the edge of my seat.
I loved 'The Calling'! The first chapter immediately drew me in, igniting my curiosity. I've just gotten used to the characters and the setting of the underground haven where humans had descended to survive the ice age, when the POV switched to Rana — the star being living on the surface. It took me some time to readjust and regain the same level of immersion while the POVs kept switching. The pace slowed down, allowing for a deeper understanding of both cultures, which, in retrospect, was quite essential. The tension kept building up, leading to spectacular action scenes, epic adventures, painful losses, personal tragedies and drastic changes for everyone.
Despite some people's violence and cruelty, it is a hopeful story. It explores the relationships that humans have with each other, the environment and the animals, questioning the status quo and offering a glimpse into how things could be done differently. It clearly demonstrates how aggression is born out of fear and invites the reader to reexamine their understanding of their place in the world. Ultimately, it is a story about love.
I liked the fresh angle on the classical YA trope of a love triangle and appreciated that even though it's the first book in a planned series, it wrapped up nicely, providing closure even for those readers who will decide not to continue with the sequel. I am personally looking forward to the next book!
You might enjoy the book if you like sci-fi YA adventures and hopeful narratives.
You can get 'The Calling' on Amazon.
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.
Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.
Featured image by Ebenezer42.