Book Review: The Caller
By: Juliet Marillier
Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2014
Page Count: 480
Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Young Adult - Fantasy
Young Adult - Fantasy
It has seemed like an age since I read Shadowfell and Ravenflight, the first two books in this YA fantasy series. I very much enjoyed both of them and have been eagerly awaiting The Caller's release; I was not disappointed!
In The Caller, Neryn must once again head out into Alban, risking her life to seek the guidance of one of the fey Guardians... This time, it is the White Lady that she seeks, having already visited the Hag of the Isles and the Lord of the North. Her plan is to learn what she can and then move on to find the mischievous Master of Shadows to complete her training. However, when Neryn finds the White Lady, her situation changes and she is forced to deviate from her plan.
While Neryn is learning the powers of air, the evil King Keldec and his loathesome queen, Varda, are not idle. They manage to find a Caller of their own, and Esten starts to twist the role and oversees unspeakable atrocities which threaten to ruin all Neryn's hard work in building bridges with the Good Folk. When she learns of this, she can't help but jump into the cauldron and see what she can do from the inside.
While I really enjoyed the quest elements of the story, I became more engaged when Neryn entered Keldec's household as a healer. There was a more real threat to her, and she interacted with a lot more characters. It was also quite intriguing to try and work out who was open to her cause, through the necessary cloak and dagger secrecy of the court - just one whiff of dissent would have her imprisoned and cruelly punished, ending the rebels hopes. I also enjoyed Flint's character arc in this instalment - he was a tortured man, struggling with the awful things he has to do to keep his cover intact, and keep the rebels informed. I loved how he was able to forge working relationships with the Good Folk suffering under Esten's call, and how he tried so hard to make their situation better.
With such a long wait for The Caller, I was slightly concerned that I might not remember all the vital events and characters from the previous two books, but happily the recap at the start was complete enough, without being too overt, to get me back on track and into the story.
Whilst I really enjoyed this trilogy, I can't say it was difficult to put down; events unravelled quite slowly and I found myself slightly annoyed at Neryn's contentment with doing little to help the situation beyond healing cuts, all the while D-day for the rebellion was inching ever closer. When it finally arrived, the battle was ever so slightly glossed over, as Neryn doesn't actually take part, so much as stay to the side and give the odd call. I suppose I expected her to play a bigger part than she did and, all in all, I found the battle slightly anticlimactic. I did appreciate the aftermath though, and I felt that the resolution was well done. Definitely worth a read if you like fantasy, and fans of Maria V Snyder should enjoy this.
In the final book in this gripping, romantic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Robin McKinley, Kristin Cashore, and Shannon Hale, Neryn’s band of rebels reach their climactic confrontation with the king. The stunning conclusion to the story that began with Shadowfell and Raven Flight is full of romance, intrigue, magic, and adventure.
Just one year ago, Neryn had nothing but a canny skill she barely understood and a faint dream that the legendary rebel base of Shadowfell might be real. Now she is the rebels’ secret weapon, and their greatest hope for survival, in the fast-approaching ambush of King Keldec at Summerfort.
The fate of Alban itself is in her hands. But to be ready for the bloody battle that lies ahead, Neryn must first seek out two more fey Guardians to receive their tutelage. Meanwhile, her beloved, Flint, has been pushed to his breaking point as a spy in the king’s court—and is arousing suspicion in all the wrong quarters.
At stake lies freedom for the people of Alban, a life free from hiding for the Good Folk—and a chance for Flint and Neryn to finally be together.