Review | The Calling - James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

Series: Endgame #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Page count: 477
Genre: Dystopian | Science Fiction 
Age bracket: Young Adult
Source: Purchased hardcover

Play. Survive. Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Twelve meteors strike Earth, each in different cities across the world. Twelve highly-skilled adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 know now that their time has come; they are Players, trained to fight and fend for themselves for one purpose and one purpose only.
The meteors signal the beginning of it all; the Players are being called.
Endgame is here.

 ~ • ~

Imagine The Hunger Games in our modern-day world; now mix in some alien-like beings and the threat of almost worldwide human eradication. Imagine that the fate of your bloodline rests on your shoulders alone, and you must do whatever it takes to keep those in your line and yourself alive. Now you've got the gist of Endgame... but it's so much more than that. 
This book honestly blew my mind; I loved each and every word of it so much. I can't remember the last time a book sucked me in to this degree. It was everything I'd hoped for and more. 
I'm not going to go into great detail on what Endgame is and why it is played; I think this book is best going into without knowing all that much, and I don't want to spoil anything.

The Calling follows twelve very different teenagers, all from varying backgrounds and walks of life. Each teen has been raised as a Player - a role that lasts between 13 and 18 years of age and has been passed down through ancient bloodlines for thousands of years. These teens are lethal, expertly skilled in all means of weaponry from compound bows and wakizashi to bomb-making; it all makes for an action-filled story, that's for sure! 
I loved each and every character, all for different reasons. There's Baitsakhan, a 13-year-old Mongolian who's a little monster and has a penchant for revenge. There's 17-year-old Chiyoko, a mute girl from Naka, Japan, who is skilled at disguises and manipulating chi. And then there's my favourite Peruvian, Jago, who's an overall sassy, intimidating character.
I felt myself get so invested in all of the main characters to the point that when there were inevitable deaths, I felt physically shaken up. The writing was just that good.
You're going to have to pay for my therapy now, okay, James and Nils? It's your fault.

This book is jam-packed full of complex lore and history and takes place in incredibly vividly-written settings. What I like about this book is that it's set in our world and these places are real. Want to see what exactly it looks like where the characters are? You can Google it. I spent so much time going back and forth between reading and checking out Google Images; I loved it - it made me feel more immersed in the story. Because of this, I've actually learned a lot about countries and their heritage sites. 
*I never knew China had pyramids! Someone take me to China now!*

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a brilliant start to what will no doubt be a just-as-brilliant rest of the series, and I'd definitely recommend you pick it up.
I loved everything about it -the writing, the dynamics and alliances built between characters, the setting- and I was sad to see it end. But hey, there's more to come - and soon, I hope!

Endgame is the puzzle of life, the reason for death. It holds the origin of all things, and the solutions to the end of all things.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Also points for a whole host of diverse characters! I'm not sure if I'm going to end up reading this one. It sounds too Hunger Games and Ender's Game for me.

    1. I enjoyed it so, so much. I can't stop thinking about it, haha! I don't think I've ever read a book with such a huge amount of unique characters before - it was great.
      If you do get the chance to read it, don't let the Hunger Games similarity put you off. I mean, The Hunger Games is the only thing I've ever read that's along the same lines but I think Endgame is its own thing. To me, it didn't feel like one of those generic dystopians attempting to be The Hunger Games. Other than the name, I didn't get any Ender's Game vibes from it while reading :3

  2. Your enthusiasm for this has made me so much more excited to read it, definitely bumping it up a few places in my TBR! The whole being-able-to-actually-see the places things sounds really engrossing, I love when books have those little extra touches that pull you in more!


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