The Calling is the first book in the Endgame series co-authored by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton. For the 2018 book challenge, I needed a book by two authors, so I scrolled through to read books on my Kindle and this was the only one I already owned, so my selection was simple.
At first, I didn’t realize James Frey was the same James Frey from A Million Little Pieces fame. Here’s a link to the book and controversy, in case you are unfamiliar. I read Pieces and was really disturbed by it, not because of the “it was a memoir, but not really” aspect. The book had long been out by the time I got it at the dollar bin of my local Half Price Books. But there is a scene in there where Frey (or his character, whatever) undergoes a dental procedure with no Novocain. I could barely stomach that section and its vivid descriptions of pain, and I think of this every time I go to the dentist.
I must have bought The Calling because it was along the same lines as The Hunger Games. I have found very few books that are anywhere near as good. And, to be honest, this was not that great of a book. It was much more Battle Royale than anything else. Battle Royale is fantastic. Absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in the genre. But The Calling just is ridiculous. Twelve “players” from around the world are called to save the end of the world. However, one one player will live and that player’s lineage will be the only one spared from death. Whaaaattt??? The players meet at the beginning of the book and meet their creator/game master/being in charge. And of course, OF COURSE, it is some sort of supernatural being. Ugh. Literally, my least favorite trope in literature.
The players have been training their entire lives for Endgame and will kill at will. They also have seemingly endless amounts of cash, resources, and connections. They are each on a mission to find a key. Whoever finds the keys first wins. But what the book never does is address the problem of one person finding one key, a different person finding another key, etc.
The one cool thing about this book is that it is interactive. I read this on a paperwhite, so the Internet interface isn’t great, but the book has links to Google maps, YouTube videos, book excerpts, etc. I like the fact that the book was written to include technology, which is creative and, honestly, how books will be written in the future. But, I doubt I will finish this series. It was just so implausible. Not like The Hunger Games is realistic, but it seemed much more grounded in some kind of truth. The Calling was too far-fetched for my liking.