Review: The Calling (Endgame, #1) by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

The Calling by James Frey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Survival, Romance, Adventure


Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.


‘‘The Calling was an imperfect page-turner,’’ is the first sentence that comes to my mind when thinking of this book and my reading experience of it.

It hooked me. Very much. It contained this extremely fast pacing that kept on tempting me to read chapter after chapter without having my body show any sign of tiring. Moreover, the pages flew by at such a rapid speed that I most likely unintentionally skimmed some sentences here and there. It was as if I HAD to read at an express mode, otherwise I would have lost my pacing and waded behind the characters. This is a book that actually increased my heart rate.

The plot was better developed and more complexly thought of than the summary might make it look like. Seriously. And way more inventive. There was so much I enjoyed from it, and that was especially because what I was reading about I had not in any other book previously read, including Hunger Games. The book BARELY incorporated any similarities to that one. It was about twelve direct descendents of the twelve civilizations created on Earth by a… superior race? Gods? Extraterrestrials? I still don’t know what to consider those creatures, but they, in this book, were the ones that held complete control over the players and planet Earth itself.

The players’ objective were not to kill each other. No, the reason why this ‘‘Endgame’’ took place is for the ‘‘better civilization’’ to survive, for the person who found the three keys to save his/her line from destruction. But it was even more complex than that. And the killing… something that came with the package, not an order, obligation. Interesting plot and puzzles.

What didn’t work quite so well for me now… Not a lot of things, honestly, but the few of them were so important to the book itself that I just couldn’t read without noticing them. I’m talking about the POV of the characters, narration and writing. The problem is that the author tried to familiarize us with every character, giving us a little back story on every one of them. There were many POVs because of that, which made getting attached more difficult. There were main and secondary characters, you could feel it, but it still wasn’t easy to remember everything that was being said about them. The narration and the writing, two elements directly linked to one another for the second and final thing that I wish would have been different: the ‘‘vibe’’ transmitted by this book. While everything that was happening inside this novel was ‘‘serious,’’ the narration did not give me that impression. And the writing made me feel like this book was aimed for a younger audience which I think wasn’t right, since there were multiple brutal scenes. It wasn’t BAD though, definitely not the worst narration tone & writing I’ve ever seen… but a more appropriate one sure would have made me love this a little more.

Your choice to read it or not, but I have to recommend it, because 1) it was, again, no Hunger Games, 2) extraordinarily hard to stop reading and 3) YOU’LL WANT MORE 🙂


11 thoughts on “Review: The Calling (Endgame, #1) by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

  1. Hello! Great review there. I’m a fan of Lorien Legacies (James Frey co-authored it) although I’ve read some negative reviews of this at Goodreads and I’m wary of picking this up. But I will add this on my TBR list.


  2. Ah yes I had rated it a little like that too. In the French synpsis it was compared to Hunger Games so it was difficult for me not to compare at first and I confess that it took me a long time as well to appreciate the character and in the end it wasn’t the case for all. But it was a good story.


  3. I know you say it wasn’t like the Hunger Games, but I just can’t help but compare it in my brain. And I just don’t know if I’m in the mood to get into another dystopian series. Great review regardless.


  4. When a book has me wanting to read more despite things I don’t like, that says a lot. I enjoyed your review and I am glad to hear that the pacing was fast and you wanted to keep reading. It must have been exciting to raise your heart rate! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s