Disclosure: I won this book from the publisher through a GoodReads giveaway.
The Call is the first book in a series about Mack and the Magnificent Twelve. Mack is twelve years old, and the first of the Magnificent Twelve.
He’s an ordinary kid with an extraordinary number of phobias. His life changes when he meets a three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk who tells him that he must find the 11 other members of the Magnificent Twelve and save the world from the Pale Queen and her daughter Ereskigal, or Risky.
Grimluk was one of the first Magnificent Twelve: a group of twelve-year-olds who fought the Pale Queen and managed to imprison her. He was given the task of preparing for when the Pale Queen returns.
While I wouldn’t call this book one of my favorites, it has an entertainingly breezy style. The book is full of references to pop culture and the here and now: cell phones, iPhones, Yoda, Wal-Mart, Iron Man… The list goes on, and at first, it was a bit disconcerting. That said, I must admit that I particularly enjoyed the references to the Lord of the Rings. Stefan, for example, is the “one bully to rule them all….” I also wonder if the Pale Queen is a nod to C.S. Lewis.
The book alternates between narrating what happens to Mack and Stefan, a bully whose life Mac saves, and the flashbacks to when Grimluk’s was twelve. The Grimluk chapters are amusing, but I felt like they interrupted the story too much.
Also sprinkled throughout the book are notes from the Golem that is sent to replace Mack. (Remarkably, most people don’t seem to notice that Mack has been replaced, but they seemed to barely notice when the real Mack was there anyway.) The Golem’s notes are one of the best parts of the book, in my opinion.
All in all, this was an entertaining book, but I probably won’t read the sequel.