Review: The Calling 

Title: The Calling

Authors: James FreyNils Johnson-Shelton

Genre: Dystopian | YA | Fantasy | Sci-fi

Series: Endgame Trilogy #1

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: 7 October 2014

Paperback (hardcover): 461 pages

Source: purchased

Synopsis: Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Rating:  ✯✯

Review

The first thought that came into my mind while reading the book summary was, “This sounds EXACTLY like The Hunger Games.”

But I still bought the book and added it to my pile of TBR because my friends have been raving about how awesome this book is and insisted that I read it.

I did just that and here’s what I think of it:

The Calling is basically almost a CARBON COPY of The Hunger Games. And I HATE books that are a (or almost) carbon copy of other books. The fact that this book is so similar to the wildly popular Hunger Games is NOT the main issue I’ve with it, though.

There are twelve POVs. TWELVE. I couldn’t even stand more than 6 POVs. So twelve different point of views was way too much. It’s confusing.

  The writers were probably trying to give us readers an insight into each of the 12 players’ mind, but I personally feel it’s quite unnecessary to have a POV for each of the characters. I mean, the story was sort of centered around an American female protagonist (whose name I can’t remember and don’t bother to).

The 12 POVs also made it hard for me to connect to any characters. They were like cardboard. They were cliché characters. Some of the players died. But I couldn’t care enough for them to feel sad for their deaths.

Also, forced romance. The romance between Sarah and Jago were so… fake. It’s like the writers forced those two characters to fall head-over-heels for each other for the sake of the plot. The insta-love is just… ugh. Don’t even start on the love triangle.

Let’s talk a little more about the main characters.

#1: SARAH ALPLOY (oh wait, now I remember the female protagonist’s name!)

I kind of like her at the beginning, though she’s, as mentioned above, cliché. Sarah was (sort of) strong, independent and caring. She has an ordinary life, ordinary family, ordinary boyfriend. Then Endgame came and completely ruined her life. Yawn. After she met Jago, she completely turned into limp noddle protagonist Bella Swan.

#2: JAGO

Presenting… your typical Brooding Bad Boy. I was VERY tempted to slam the book shut when he fell in love with Sarah. SARAH HAS A BOYFRIEND. And Jago was going to steal Sarah from her boyfriend. However, Sarah wasn’t interested in him (in the beginning, anyway). In fact, Sarah wanted to use Jago to help her win the game. (Hey, I’ve seen this before…!)

#3: CHRISTOPHER

Sarah’s boyfriend. Until Jago comes along and ruins his relationship with her. I like Christopher, until he turns into some jealous ex-boyfriend. Then I didn’t care what happens to the lovesick guy and didn’t feel any sympathy for whatever he has went through.

The writing was… HORRIBLE. Awkward and jerky. A lot of scenes were TOLD and not SHOWN. For example:

Marcus is bored. Marcus presses the knife to his skin. He doesn’t press enough to break the flesh. He watches his favourite team on television. He wants to Play. He might not Play. He is a Player. He knows it.

We are the Players. Your Players. We have to Play.”

“Play. Survive. Solve. Our future is unwritten. Our future is your future. What will be will be. So listen. Follow. Cheer. Hope. Pray.

Also, short sentences. More like phrases. Too many of them. It. Is. Like. This. It’s. Super. Annoying.

Although I wrote that this book is almost a carbon copy of Hunger Games earlier in this review, The Calling is somewhat different from HG. There were puzzles to be solved, whereas in HG there wasn’t any. Except for this: only ONE player can live. Like in HG.

The plot was fairly interesting and intriguing, but there were so many unexplained things. The rules of Endgame was unclear. The motivations for each of the main characters were unclear. EVERYTHING WAS UNCLEAR. That ruined my reading experience.

I didn’t know what happened in the end because when I was 40% into the story, I decided that The Calling was going to my DNF list .

I feel bad about DNFing a book so early, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. With cliched and flat characters, highly complicated but super confusing plot and horrible writing, The Calling got 2 stars from me.

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