Terrien’s is a unique world with strong character relationships and a chilling underlying mystery.
Wendy Terrien’s The Clan Calling is an eerie urban fantasy novel driven by character relationships and a desperate desire for answers.
Sadie is a normal teenage girl living with her grandmother, but her proximity to her friend Jason opens her up to a whole new world that other people are blissfully unaware of. After a series of disruptive events—Jason leaves town, a mysterious man shows up in her neighborhood, her grandmother falls ill, and people keep falling magically asleep—Sadie is thrust into a complicated mystery that threatens the security of the life she knows.
Despite being part of a series, the novel stands on its own, with enough backstory and character descriptions to make it easy to navigate without reading connected titles.
While the mechanics of the story are interesting and unique, the plot unfolds in a slow way that leaves much of the story underdeveloped. This is a world in which cryptids like Bigfoot are real, and though Sadie is familiar with these things through Jason, she is still painfully trapped within her world of normality.
The first third of the book focuses almost entirely on her school life and heavy descriptions of the foods she and her grandmother eat. Even after her grandmother gets sick and weird phenomena begin to occur, Sadie continues to justify these things with simple, real-world explanations.
As a protagonist, Sadie is hard to connect to. She exerts next to no agency of her own. Heavy foreshadowing only serves to make her lack of knowledge and curiosity more jarring.
The story’s strength lies with its character relationships, which drive the story forward. Charming comments, one-liners, and actions tie the story together and help develop sympathy for Sadie as a character.
Some elements of the story strain believability, as when Sadie calls 911 to report a threat to her grandmother, and they dispatch an officer to watch her without even inquiring into the nature of the threat. At times, conflicts seem too convenient.
Characters speak mostly in clichés and exposition. Dialogue is heavily given to relating backstory in an terse fashion.
Throughout the book, Jason is on his own adventures. They occur off the page but seem to be where the real story lies. Sadie’s story isn’t nearly as compelling, and Jason seems to be the more believable character. The world behind the story is exciting and unique, and this installment only scratches the surface of what lies beneath.
Wendy Terrien’s The Clan Calling presents a unique world with strong character relationships and a chilling underlying mystery.
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