Monday, 5 September 2011

Review: Sidhe's Call - Christy G. Thomas

Extent: ebook (390 KB)
Publisher: Self Published (KDP)
Pub Date: 10th August 2011

Bound by duty, sixteen-year-old Morgan must begin forewarning human deaths. After all, that’s her job as a newly-appointed Ban Sidhe (banshee), a death caller. Conflicted when the Inner Ring—the elite group of ruling Sidhe—assigns a fifteen-year-old boy, Aidan Tanner, as her first death to keen on her road to adulthood, Morgan must make a critical decision. Will she help end such a young life or follow her instincts and refuse to make the call? And if that isn’t difficult enough, Morgan’s help is needed as the Sidhe and human worlds are about to face a crisis foretold in the Thousand-Year Sidhe Prophecy. With the lingering pain of her mother’s absence and the mystery of her father’s recent disappearance, the young Ban Sidhe feels lost. Aided only by her overly-critical twin sisters and an eccentric seer, Morgan must confront her weaknesses and make the hardest decision of her life. Alone.

Aidan, on the other hand, is a seemingly average human teen who has to deal with his parents’ inexplicable red-eye drive from the Salt Lake Valley to Northern Idaho. While being away from his friends for Spring Break seems like torture enough, it is the recent discovery of his father’s secret that leaves him troubled. While struggling to keep his anger in check, Aidan finds that no matter how hard he tries to hold himself together, his once-simple life is splitting apart. But the more he discovers about his father’s family and history, the quicker he comes to understand that appearances are deceiving. Beyond that, Aidan doesn’t realize that a young Ban Sidhe is seeking to call his death.

I love mythological fiction but I especially love it when it's a relatively unknown mythology as you get to explore new cultures and new stories and this is exactly what you get with Sidhe's Call. As soon as you open the first page there's a wonderful sense of ancient story-telling tradition with a lovely mythical quality. Yet, Christy has brought the mythology of her story right up to date, making it relevant and engaging to a modern audience of young adult (and definitely adult too!) readers.

I think one of my favourite aspects of Sidhe's Call is that it is written from two points of view but where Morgan's view is first person, Aidan's view is third person. The voices are already written very distinctly but this just adds an extra dimension to the reading. You feel like you are in Morgan's head, struggling with her through her internal conflicts but then you feel like a fly on the wall with Aidan as everything that happens to him is out of his control. Where Morgan's conflicts are moral and therefore very much internal, Aidan's problems are others trying to control him and an inability to decide who to trust so the external voice is much better suited. It is so easy to empathise with all the characters who have very strong personalities and complex relationships with each other: the raging jealousy of Morgan's sisters, Hector's difficulty in suppressing the desire to drown and eat his friends, the caring wisdom of old Onora, Aidan's family secrets... There's a real representation of life in the characters and woven through the story making the book really believable and engaging.

The story builds really well, at a great pace and there are plenty of mysteries to keep you fidgeting in your seat. The author really holds off answering your questions until the end, making it really gripping and hard to put down. Don't bother trying to figure things out yourself because nothing is as it seems and the main antagonist will jump out at you from nowhere you expected them to. It's always a sign of a good book when you can't figure out what's going to happen before it does!

In all, Sidhe's Call is an excellent read, especially for fans of mythological or paranormal fiction. It is a book with a wonderfully subtle exploration of mortality; an immortal creature wondering why mortal creatures bother to form relationships when all it leads to is pain. I think Morgan answers this herself, however, when she feels her own grief - it can't be helped, it is just human (and indeed ban sidhe) nature to become attached to other people. It is a risk we take without even knowing we are taking it or even being able to prevent it when in the end we know we will have to sacrifice everything. Such a good book, you should definitely read it, and I can't wait to read the next one to find out what happens next!

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