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Summary: In the past, 12 was a marvelously powerful number. Grimluk (who is 12) recalls that it was the gate to infinity. Grimluk is a member of a band of 12 Magnificas; Because he viewed any number great than 12 as superfluous, 3,000 years was akin to forever. Not so. The Pale Queen, imprisoned by the Magnificas for 3,000 years has now served her sentence. Now, Grimluk finds himself in a new group, paired with David MacAvoy to find a way to banish the Pale Queen forever. When David realizes the Pale Queen's daughter is targeting him, the boys escape to Australia and the adventure picks up speed. This is the first book in a middle grade fantasy series.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: There is lots of humor liberally woven into this adventure! The irony is apparent throughout the book, with average, unassuming Mack being the hero, and his Golem doppelganger, who interprets everything people say too literally, and brings Mack to the spotlight in school and at home due to his ludicrous behavior. The humor works with the hero-and-villain concept to form a whimsical, entertaining story. Although the parallel plots provide background and structure for one another, their tones do not complement each other well. The scenes of Grimluk’s past are more comical and have a mock serious, almost sarcastic humor. Grimluk also tends to reference things that did not exist in his youth. As a result, some of the contradictions lose their wittiness. Last, Grant only vaguely describes the magical aspects, so it is unclear what the Magnifica actually do. The Call is the first in the series so there is a hope for these problems to have been addressed in later books. I would mainly recommend The Call for middle school students. The story is told through characters who are the same age so the mood the characters create should make a comfortable reading environment for them, even though there are a few difficult words.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Lots of action and humor that will tickle a middle schooler's funny bone will have readers wondering what Grimluk is going to do next!
Cons: Some of the humor emphasizes the characters' ignorance and simple-mindedness. This may not appeal to all readers.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an action-packed story with the kind of humor middle school students like.