Thursday, February 19, 2015

*ARC* True Calling - Review

True Calling #1

By: Siobhan Davis

Published: August 1, 2014


Source: ARC from publisher via Netgalley

(Goodreads / Amazon)

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.
My initial feeling was that this was a fairly enjoyable story but felt disconnected at times. Before I get in to some of the dislikes I had, let me first say that I like these type of fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian stories that revolve around humanity trying to survive in space after Earth has been destroyed or compromised in such a way that killed off a large portion of the population. Other similar stories like The 100 by Kass Morgan and the Sky Chasers series by Amy Kathleen Ryan I also enjoyed.

So our story takes place between events happening on Nova and back on Earth. Earth was basically destroyed with exception to small sections of North America which is still inhabited while another portion of humanity survives, and thrives, on Nova. The book is divided into 3 parts and is told from the POV of Ariana and then later from Zane in part 2.

The government has a heavy hand in life on Nova. They handpicked those that would be allowed to live there. No one over the age of 40, no one with illness or disease, etc... Everyone that is on Nova had their memories wiped from their life before, on Earth. Until recently everyone was given the freedom of choice of career path and spouses. But now, due to the priority of growing their population on Nova, to further the human race, the government has created a new policy in which those aged 17 would enter "The Calling" and be matched to their top 10 best suitors. At the end of what basically is a pageant, their spouse would be chosen for them (arranged marriages) among those suitors and the couples would be required by law to marry within a few months time and then have 3 children within 5 years time frame.

As you could imagine there are those who are resistant to this kind of law or any government wanting to dictate how they live and as such a rebel group rises up to overthrow the government. This rebel group has informants both on Earth and on Nova. Earth isn't much better. This same government controls the laws on both planets for the most part. Those left on Earth are almost like slaves, working to provide what is needed for life on Nova.

Sounds interesting, right? Sure, there are similarities to other aspects of other books, but that doesn't make it a bad concept. I don't mind repetitive themes when they have their own twist to them.

Now here's a list I've narrowed down to 4 things I had a harder time with while reading this story:

1. The planet Nova:
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of this "planet". The construction of the things on the planet to make life sustainable started in the 1960's by the government. Nova is described as being similar in appearance to Earth. It's located 1200 miles above the surface of Earth and was chosen because of it's close proximity to the Sun and Earth, and "the consistency of its climate and the pliable terrain." There's a team of scientists that created a holograph program to recreate scenery for each region on Nova. Each region represents varying regions of the US - mountains, dessert, forests, etc... There are 15 liveable regions on Nova, so it's a pretty huge planet, but only 7 regions are currently occupied with people, only about 30% of the planet has population. The others are still being developed for more population. There's way more technological advances on Nova than were on Earth. There's even a force-field surrounding the planet itself to protect it from outside harm.

2. Missing words and strange sentence structure:
It could potentially be due to the fact that this is an ARC and most ARC's state they are uncorrected proofs. But I've read enough ARC's to know that there's usually not that many errors. This ebook copy I read had words missing very often. Words like "to", "of", and "on". And there was often strange sentence structure. Example: "We wouldn't want her to come back until she's better, sure we wouldn't?" Yes, I typed that just as it's seen in the book. Odd, right? Causes you to do a double take and waste time reorganizing the words in the correct format in your head.

3. Characters that are too similar to those in other books:
Fenuka is the stylist of Ariana after she enters The Calling. Fenuka is too similar for my liking to Effy Trinket, minus the elaborate wigs, makeup and clothing, & Cinna from The Hunger Games. But if you take those two well loved characters and mush them together, you've got Fenuka.

4. An obvious agenda:
I abhor when an author throws something in to the mix of a story that doesn't add anything to the characters or story line. When this is done it feels like an obvious attempt to gain readers they might not would have had otherwise. This is the biggest issue I had with this book. Randomly 25% into the book, we read that Cal has a best friend who is a homosexual. Ben is such a small character, (I mean he's so small he can't even be considered a side character), and to this point in the story hasn't been mentioned, that it feels odd and awkward that he #1 - is brought up at all, and #2 - is described in this way. Some pages later the government makes an announcement "outlawing homosexuality and bi-sexuality". Why - in a story that is not listed as LGBT - would any of this make sense to talk about? Unless it's to further explain the lengths the government goes to to control the choices of the population. But sure enough, 60% into the story it's brought up again. Okay we get it - the government is trying to control this aspect of one's choices as well. MOVE ALONG! Because it really has zero to do with the story-line, I lean heavily on an agenda being pushed on to the reader and a very unwelcome one.

All in all, it's was pretty good. Good enough for me to check out book 2. I'm hoping the annoyances I had with this one won't carry over into that one.

Favorite Quotes:
"It's like, 'The Bachelor' meets 'Nightmare on Elm Street'," I croack - half laughing, half crying. "I'm too young to get married, I don't even know if I've ever kissed a boy!" I sob.

Marriage is a challenge at the best of times, and it requires a strong union to keep it on track.

"As long as we're real I can pretend the rest. The only good thing to come out of this is that we're together. Whatever happens, know I only want to be with you, that's never going to change," he says.

Language Rating: 1 (light)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 3 stars

This post is part of the ARC Thursday feature on Words Fueled by Love.


  1. I really enjoyed this story and how there are so many things going on and only at the end you understand what's going on. And the multiple point of view was nice.

    I read a finished copy of this book and I think most of those missing words and strange sentence structure where fixed as I didn't notice them. The idea of Novo seemed a bit weird to me as well, especially how another planet could be that close to earth, although it did work for the story. Concernign Ben, he keeps playing a role in the second book as well and I felt his role here was more natural. Although he keeps being side character, he got a bigger role in the second book.

  2. This might be the longest review I've seen from you. Considering half was spent discussing what you didn't like, I'm surprised you gave it 3 Stars. But I know that happens sometimes. You just have to mention what bothered you and the review can come off more negative than you really felt. Sorry this one gave you issues. I definitely hate when it feels like the author/publisher is pushing an agenda on you.


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