Reviewed by Grace Soledad

The Calling is the sequel to The Gathering, and starts up where the previous book left off. After Maya and her friends witness a strange group of people lighting fires in the Vancouver Island woods, they are evacuated from their isolated town via helicopter. Maya and her friends don’t understand why these things are happening to them, but have some unique abilities. Maya – with her Native heritage – has a small faded paw print birthmark on her hip, and has recently discovered that she is a skin-walker, or can change into a cougar. Daniel senses things about people, and they start to wonder if the town might have a more sinister purpose for keeping them isolated from the rest of the world. After the events in the previous book, they start to wonder which side to take.

When their helicopter crashes in the middle of the Vancouver Island wilderness, the group of teens is stranded without food or water, trying to find their way back to their families against a ticking clock. Their enemies are still after them, trying to pick them off one by one and they don’t know why. Secrets are uncovered. The people that they have known their entire lives have started to turn against each other, wondering who to trust. The main question is: who is the enemy?

I was having a bit of deja vu at the beginning of The Calling because it almost reminded me of Flight 29 Down or Beauty Queens, without the satire. Everything was at first very abrupt. Maya is as likable a character as always, and we learn more about each character as the story line progresses. One of the strengths and one of my favorite parts of the book is Kelley Armstrong’s ability to change my perception of a character with only a few sentences. I enjoyed hearing more about the backstories and it added to the twists that came. Maya was a bit of an unreliable narrator because she struggled with how she judged people, but it worked with the book.

The action and paranormal aspects of The Calling book were incredible. It was cleverly written and everything started to knit together and make sense, although every once in a while something would happen that would turn things upside down all over again. I tore through this book in less than an hour – it was filled with action and intrigue, while still featuring all the character development and cleanliness that I enjoy in all my books. It’s hard to capture both qualities, and Armstrong made it look effortless. I loved it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Also by Kelley Armstrong: Spell Bound & Waking the Witch

Grace Soledad is a teenage bibliophile who runs the blog Words Like Silver. She is described as “antisocial” because she constantly has her nose buried in a book or a notebook. When not reading, she can be found dancing, writing, or at the beach.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.