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… thrilling novel which is very difficult to put down …

Imagine a world where every teenager gets The Call.  Without warning, you are transported to the baroque horrors of the Grey Lands where the vengeful Sidhe hunt you for sport, killing you or worse.  Much worse.

Nessa is the girl least likely to make it with her twisted legs yet she is absolutely determined to be the very best she can be.  In the Boyle Survival College, where they are all drilled with mock hunts and with fragmentary reports of the Sidhe, Nessa refuses to let herself be distracted by handsome Anto, her best friend and bolshy Megan, or bully boy Connor.

The tension builds as we learn in separate chapters of the fate of other students as they are Called.  Each desperate chase lasts for a day in the Grey Lands but only 3 minutes and 40 seconds in our world.  The horrors are truly disturbing and so this book is Young Adult rather than a Pre-Teen choice.  The odds are improving through the intense training and now perhaps one in ten teenagers survive.  But who will be next and can Nessa and her friends make it through?

This is an intense and thrilling novel which is very difficult to put down once you’ve started.  With a deft touch, O’Guilin builds very genuine, complex characters with a great deal of humour and humanity.  I particularly liked the febrile, hothouse atmosphere of the Survival College with its friendships, rebelliousness and romance.   And most of all I loved Nessa: her unfailing determination, her unflinching honesty about her condition, her fierce friendships and, ultimately, her strength of purpose which shines through at the tremendous climax.

I look forward to its sequel, The Cauldron, with impatience.

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