The Caller, by Juliet Marillier, was published in 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is the sequel to Raven Flight.
Just one year ago, Neryn had nothing but a canny skill she barely understood and a faint dream that the legendary rebel base of Shadowfell might be real. Now she is the rebels’ secret weapon, and their greatest hope for survival in the fast-approaching ambush of King Keldec at Summerfort. The fate of Alban itself is in her hands. But to be ready for the bloody battle that lies ahead, she must first seek out two more fey Guardians to receive their tutelage. Meanwhile, her beloved, Flint, has been pushed to his breaking point as a spy in the king’s court—and is arousing suspicion in all the wrong quarters. Confidence is stretching thinner by the day when word of another Caller reaches the rebels: a Caller at Keldec’s side with all of Neryn’s power and none of her benevolence or hard-earned control. As the days before the battle drop quickly away, Neryn must find a way to uncover—and exploit—her opponent’s weaknesses. At stake lie freedom for the people of Alban, a life free from hiding for the Good Folk—and a chance for Flint and Neryn to finally be together.
The Caller is a satisfying finish to the story started in Shadowfell and continued in Raven Flight. Though the end is a little vague in explanation (how did all those soldiers get into the fort to fight?), it is suitably awesome and although I wished for Neryn to have a little more struggle, her accomplishment is warranted and reflective of her training and discipline.
My favorite part of the book was Neryn’s impulsive “I need to go infiltrate the king’s court” because it broke up the “travel to see Guardian, get trained by Guardian, rinse and repeat” formula that was starting to develop and I enjoyed the opportunity to see a side of Neryn that we saw in the beginning of Shadowfell before all the Caller-training started.
I do wish that the feelings of the fey from being called by Esten to being called by Neryn were a little more varied. I don’t know…I feel as if a group of people who had been controlled by a Caller for months would be resistant to another Caller, at least at first. Neryn didn’t get the opportunity to build up a lot of trust with that group, so their response to her call (especially after the group’s angry response to Flint’s “betrayal”) seemed a bit unrealistic, at least in my opinion. The Master of Shadows did say that Neryn called well, so maybe a bit of her nature seeped through, but I still thought it was a little too easy.
I enjoyed The Caller, although I thought the ending was parts cheesy, confusing or a little unrealistic in turns, but I loved the time Neryn spent in Keldec’s court and I still love her and Flint (and the ending, I thought, was particularly good with the two of them going away together). I also enjoyed the moments in the novel when we got to see Flint’s point of view. Marillier, though sleepy at times, has written a grand story here, told a bit more quietly than most but with its own charm and excitement.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Warnings: Violence, death.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
“The news that came to you may not have mentioned a Caller. That is what I am. I’m seeking the White Lady in the hope of receiving some wisdom. I’m hoping she will teach me the better use of my gift.” I could hardly make it plainer than that.
The invisible presence said nothing; instead, a rippling sound came from the tiny beings. I interpreted it as mocking laughter.