16 Nov 2014

Review - True Calling by Siobhan Davis



Title: True Calling (True Calling #1)

Author: Siobhan Davis

Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis: Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17 year old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.


I received a free ebook copy of this book by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, but didn’t love it – couldn’t love it. I think the main problem was that the shadows of now popular YA books were cast on it: there was a touch of Hunger Games in it, some elements of Divergent could be detected, The Selection must have had a great influence on the writer (The Bachelor vibe is there without a doubt) and at some parts it even reminded me of Angelfall. I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it I guess, I shouldn’t blame the writer for sticking to popular themes, but I was so sad to see the original ideas getting stifled by the familiar elements.

Now that you know what I didn’t like in True Calling, I’d like to highlight all the things that positively surprised me in this novel, because there were quite a few of those too:

At last we have a female protagonist who is not afraid of showing her feelings or does not feel guilty for breaking down and cry in front of others. You go Ariana Skyee, never harden!

The story is gripping (sometimes a bit slow, but action packed in general); first we follow the events through Ariana’s eyes, then we have Zane in the role of the narrator, but towards the end of the book we switch back to Ariana. I think it’s always interesting to see what different characters think of the same situation, so I was happy with this kind of structuring.

I loved the popular culture references that appeared here and there in the book. Novo’s motto is Live.Love.Prosper which is obviously a strong reference to Star Trek’s famous phrase: Live long and prosper.
’It’s like ’The Bachelor’ meets ’Nightmare on Elm Street’ says Ariana at some point about the Calling – indeed, it was a bit like that.
There’s a mention of the movie ’Groundhog Day’ as well when she’s talking about her dreams about Zane. I liked these bits very much.

I was delighted to find a gay character in the book and it was heartwarming to see how his friends supported Ben. Of course the government wasn’t that understanding... Siobhan Davis depicted well the people’s attitude towards same-sex relationshps in our world today: the majority rejects, the minority supports.

And last but not least let me say how great it was to see a real father figure around… I mean, we rarely meet a loving father in YA books nowadays. Ariana’s father was a really nice guy.
All in all, True Calling is an enjoyable sci-fi novel and it’s very likely I’ll read the second installment when it comes out. It might even stand a chance of getting four stars instead of three if the storyline develops differently than that of the Hunger Games.

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