Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Calling: Rachelle Dekker, May 9—22, 2016
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
If The Choosing defied expectations in being decent, The Calling defied the expectations of its predecessor by being awful.
The best way to describe The Calling is being like a direct-to-video sequel to a relatively successful theatre presentation. It was set some time after the original, with broadly different characters all related somewhat to the original plot, minus the originality.
Carrington Hale was a breath of fresh air in The Choosing, defying societal expectations in a feminist revolution that would make Jennifer Lawrence’s eyes water. She refused to be a Lint, refused to submit to the ruling Authority and fled with Remko in a killer climax.
Essentially none of that is relevant to The Calling. Instead, we now see Carrington sidelined to nurse her newborn daughter, conceived and delivered between books. Remko has become the chief executive officer of a rabble who are in the wilderness whose main jobs are 1) follow Aaron; and 2) opposite the Authority. Conspicuous by his absence, Aaron and his grand calling doesn’t appear to be doing much for his followers. The increasingly dysfunctional rebels lead a bunch of search and/or rescue missions, led by Remko, with varying success but very little actually happens to drive the plot.
Meanwhile, in the Capitol, the new leadership (more replacement characters) are developing a genetically engineered solution to chemically castrate rebelliousness and make the populous biologically incapable of rebellion. This Robin Cook-esque approach is actually the best bit of the book. It’s full of possibilities that could be explored on many levels – practical and ethical – but is an afterthought, strung in every hundred pages or so.
Hopefully Dekker will promote this storyline to the headline for the final instalment, and remember what made her series unique to give it a strong finish, instead of a whimpering end.