If you had the ability to wish for whatever you wanted, and in doing so have it instantly appear, knowing that for you to have it someone else would have it taken from them, would you do it?
Calling is what Octavius’ do. The ability to conjure objects out of thin air has been in the family for generations and Quin is next in line to prove that he has ‘the gift’. But with the Calling exam looming, Quin is in trouble. Despite hours of research and careful practice he is yet to call a single thing into existence.
After a disastrous exam, where his mother gets his sister to cheat for him, Quin would be more than happy to stay in his room and off the streets of Elipsom. Everything changes when he himself is Called. Called to Evantra, a land that supposedly doesn’t exist, Quin meets Allie and she has some shocking truths in store. The true nature of Calling is nothing like Quin has been told and with the fate of two worlds depending on his actions, Quin must decide where his loyalties lie and who, if anyone, deserves to be saved…
Not for the first time in recent times, I was heading into the realm of fantasy - a genre that is not my usual choice. However, once again I rather enjoyed what I read. Addressing several timely issues - excessive consumption, exploitation of natural resources and colonialism - Kiah Thomas’ middle-grade debut is a fast-paced, exciting and thought-provoking read that will be a hit with fans of fantasy and science-fiction.
With an engaging premise and unique magical system - who wouldn’t relish the ability to Call objects into existence - readers are thrust into a seemingly impossible and wonderful world where whatever is required can apparently be summoned at will. The truth is somewhat more disturbing - everything that is Called is being stolen from exploited people living in slave-like conditions. ‘Nothing comes from nothing.’
Quin, the recipient of this terrible news, is a character you really feel for. Weighed down by the expectations of his family and carrying the burden of failure heavily on his shoulders, his world is turned upside down as he uncovers the truth behind the lies thanks to Allie, a passionate revolutionary who is desperate to stop the unjust practice, take back what belongs to the people of Evantra and free the city from repression. Not having the ability to Call is the least of Quin’s worries as everything he has been raised to believe in is shattered and he must come to terms with a new reality. The truth of his origins and the discovery of another magical gift adding further intrigue and suspense. A new calling awaits Quin but can he right the wrongs of his family and take on a mother who is involved in the corrupt practice at the highest levels?
Nothing is completely wrapped up by the end and with truth and lies, greed and betrayal, corruption and honesty all threatening Quin and Allie’s worlds, plenty more awaits in book two.
With huge thanks to Harper Collins for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 8+.