This concept (due to revenge for past crimes, all the kids of this society disappear, at random, for 3 minutes and 4 seconds, before they reach adulthood. It’s called The Call, and only 1 out of 10 comes back from a strange other world alive. The ones that do survive are often freakishly altered. Adults and schools try to prepare children to survive The Call, but the odds are in nobody’s favor) is so freaking amazing, but the story itself was a challenge for me. I had a very hard time keeping the kids straight in the beginning, and despite how exciting the concept is, the storytelling definitely lagged. A lot.
I mean, things happened, but I never got that feeling where I just had to keep reading and couldn’t put the book down. In fact, I spaced out and stopped and restarted this book so many times that I almost gave up and DNF’d it. As a result, I think some things that might be good about this story fell away and had a lesser impact on me. I hate to say it, but I think there is such a thing as too much tension, especially when there is no real payout. That can become very tiring and made me want to step back from the book, rather than compelling me forward.
5 stars for concept, overall brutality, and a wickedly dark sort of creativity
2 stars for confusing, and often overwhelming, world building (Something’s just off with the world building overall. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it may be something as simple as the presentation. The world concept is fascinating to me, but I endlessly struggled to really understand the world and what was going on with it.)
3 stars for actual story structure, pacing, and forward motion (There’s definitely tension, but it’s almost like there’s too much all the time, without enough variety in levels of tension and/or emotion, so as a result, that tension becomes very common for this world, which raises the norm and takes away from the overall impact of the story.)
2.5 stars for characterization (They just need to be more distinct and 3D, and some more character development overall would probably help with that. Their motivations are frequently unclear or almost nonsensical, and in the beginning, it took me forever to keep everyone straight. In terms of voice and personality, they all seem a bit too similar for me, which makes it hard to keep them separate in my mind.)
Average score: 3 stars
Without such an amazing concept, it would probably be more of a 2 star book for me, in terms of writing and story structure. However, the concept and world have so much potential that I can’t help being interested in that.
I would definitely pick up another novel by this author, even though this one didn’t quite click for me.
Book 105 read in 2018