Welcome to the April 8th stop on the blog tour for The Calling by Branwen O’Shea, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Check out my New Year’s Eve spotlight from this title’s previous Goddess Fish tour for an alternate excerpt. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, interviews and guest posts with the author, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
Finding Humanity Series Book One
by Branwen OShea
Published 29 December 2020
by Sigma Orionis Publishing
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Page Count: 590
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Humanity’s wake-up call. Answer it or face extinction.
When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.
Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.
But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.
She knelt, and with trembling hands, she grabbed the extra piece of soaked wood. If she put one log in the back of the cave and kept one in the entrance, then maybe she’d be safe between them until daybreak. Of course, that assumed whatever predator lurked outside lost interest in her by daybreak.
Two fires were her best chance. Her only chance. She quickly placed the second piece of wood, filled its opening with tinder, and grabbed her stones.
The growling grew closer. At this rate, she’d never get the log lit in time. Her mind raced through possibilities, but they all required skills she lacked and ended with her death.
Wait. Furred ones sense energy. In desperation, she expanded her energy to appear larger and hoped her fake size might give the predator pause.
In this enlarged-energy state, she struck the flint and fire stone together. They sparked, but the log remained unlit. Long claws scraped against the floor. She peered up from the flint. The pale light of the first log reflected off two eyes.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
I was both granted complimentary access to The Calling as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Goddess Fish Promotions and also approved for a review copy through NetGalley. Thank you to everyone involved in both places who decided I would be a good choice for this book! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
The Calling is set in the future when humanity was forced underground in order to survive and has since lived a very controlled, The Giver style utopian/dystopan life where the quality of your genetics determines everything about your future. A sickness that plagues these underground people is being purged from the gene pool as cases appear. Meanwhile, when a team of young scientists goes to the surface they encounter other humanoid beings. Are they dangerous? Is life as they know it about to end?
I actually had the opportunity to feature this book on my blog a few months before my scheduled review stop and I was so disappointed not to have room in my schedule for a review back then. Look at this gorgeous cover! And it’s listed as YA Sci-Fi! How could I not take the opportunity to check it out?
What I loved:
This version of the future is so interesting! This book is full of rich world-building that probably calls for a second read just to appreciate everything, and yet none of it gets in the way of the plot or any character development. I’m fascinated by all of the species living in this bleak future, both below and above ground, and I can’t wait to read on and find out more. Although the eugenics type system going on is an atrocious thought for reality, it’s a sci-fi trope I love to read, and OShea has put an interesting spin on it.
What I didn’t like:
Too many POVs! Honestly, a lot of characters started to blend together simply because my mind gave up on keeping the POVs straight. I’m not a fan of 4+ POV systems to begin with, but since this book is advertised as YA I really didn’t expect to juggle quite so many brains. I also personally felt like this book ran a little long for a YA title and there were definitely much earlier points where the “to be continued” moment could have happened. I do love the point it cuts off on, so I guess it’s worth it. Maybe fewer POVs but keeping the same cut-off point might have shaved off 50-100 pages without losing too much. I also really didn’t like how extremely heteronormative and patriarchal the book’s underground society is. I understand this society is all about perpetuating the species, but there were definitely multiple passages that made it clear husbands are above and in charge of their wives, and with so many different POVs I’m dubious about the lack of hints about anyone having non-het feelings toward anyone else.
Overall this is a strong start to what sounds like a great sci-fi series, and this sci-fi nerd is here for it! Bring on book two! I recommend this book to all fans of science fiction, not just the YA subcategory, and I actually wouldn’t recommend this to particularly young or low-level YA readers as it felt more mature than I expected a YA title to be.
About the Author
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.
Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.
Branwen OShea will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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