The Calling

The CallingThe Calling by Rachelle Dekker
Series: A Seer
Genres: Dystopian
Published by Tyndale Publishing on March 8, 2016
Also in this series: The Choosing
Also by this author: The Choosing


About The Calling (from the back cover):
Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels―he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp―and the CityWatch soldiers closing in―Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

The Choosing, book one in the Seer series, was a solid debut novel, though there were some things that perhaps highlighted the fact that it was a debut. In The Calling, the story is more fluid, yet a bit more stream-lined, indicating that Rachelle has continued to refine and hone her writing craft. The world she created in book one is seen from an outside perspective as Remko and Carrington now live outside of the Authority in Aaron’s camp. Rachelle gives the readers details of this world, some of which could get unwieldy if not handled in the right way – especially the scientific and futuristic aspects of the Authority City – but I never felt like the story focused too much on those types of things, but rather just enough.

The aspect of this story that I was most excited about was that it’s primarily from Remko’s point of view. I really liked his character in book one, and he continues to be a compelling force in this story as well. He is a balanced combination of toughness and vulnerability, and I appreciated that realism in his character. His struggle with overcoming and being able to control his fear is one that is universal but still portrayed in a way completely unique to his person and situation.

Remko’s struggle with overcoming and being able to control his fear is one that is universal but still portrayed in a way completely unique to his person and situation.

The narrative does spend a good bit of time on introspection and self-questioning on Remko’s part, which, I’ll be honest, sometimes worked for me and sometimes didn’t. Though there are definitely some tense scenes and plot points, the story is carried by character rather than plot. It being a dystopian story, some readers may expect a plot that doesn’t stop, and that’s not the case with The Calling. This story highlights the importance of family and loyalty as well and how to cope when the worst happens. Both the more introspective moments and the plot, especially near the end, drive these points home.

This story highlights the importance of family and loyalty as well and how to cope when the worst happens. Both the more introspective moments and the plot, especially near the end, drive these points home.

One area of improvement for me from the first book is the secondary characters included in this story– they are so varied and compelling. I loved the interactions of Remko’s team, especially the unfaltering Sam, prickly Kate, and brilliant Wire. This was also one area of the plot that truly took me aback. Without giving anything away, I was rooting so much for a particular character that I was truly surprised by some of the things revealed about them toward the end of the story – it was such an unexpected twist that my mouth actually fell open while I was reading. I’m hoping that maybe there is more to be revealed, something yet unseen that will make me root for them again.

Though not every aspect was to my liking, The Calling adds a captivating layer to the Seer series. I’m looking forward reading the next book in the series and getting the answers that I am eager to see revealed as well.

 –Beth


The first book in the Seer series, The Choosing, was a very good debut novel.  However, it had some bumps that are not at all uncommon for first time novelist.  The plot was fairly predictable and times it was a bit sluggish, but it showed strong evidence of a talented author who could write a compelling and intriguing story.  The Calling builds on these strengths and for the most part, the weakness in the first book are minimized if not altogether gone.  Making this a very strong second book that leaves me anxious for the next one.

Remko’s character is very likeable and Rachelle does a very nice job of writing his story.

There are certain parts of The Calling that are a given for the reader almost immediately.  Reading the back cover lets people know this book is going to deal with Remko’s fear, which ultimately tells the reader an awful lot about what’s going to happen.  As a long time reader of Christian fiction, for me that meant the main suspense in this story was how is he going to overcome that fear and what challenges will he face along the way.  How much I enjoyed this book would largely be dependent upon the execution of this part of the story and how much I liked Remko.  I’m pleased to say that Remko’s character is very likeable and Rachelle does a very nice job of writing his story.

I liked Remko from the beginning of this book mainly because I liked him in The Choosing.  He has endearing insecurities that makes a reader want to hug him and tell him it’s going to be okay.  However, at points during The Calling, he did occasionally cross over to annoying in his self-doubt and esteem issues.  In terms of storytelling, I understand why he goes so far, but sometimes his self beratement seems illogical and disproportionate to the situation.  But overall, I still love his character and am looking forward to seeing him grow even further in the next book.

While Remko is certainly a star, the highlight of this book is the spiritual themes.

While Remko is certainly a star, the highlight of this book is the spiritual themes.  An author usually strikes a cord when my first reaction is, “I don’t like that”.  🙂 But not liking something doesn’t necessarily make it untrue or irrelevant.  Though at times the themes of fear and surrender are a little heavy, ultimately, what Rachelle has to say is very much worth listening to.  Her examples and illustrations are quite vivid and she really captures the heart of the issues the characters are working through.  Though my toes are a little sore and I really balked (in a good way) at a few of the things she had to say, I like what she presented and I hope readers will listen to her words, as challenging as they may be.

The Calling is more of a character’s journey than it is an action packed, rollercoaster adventure.

The story follows a fairly predictable storyline, which for this book works extremely well.  This is more of a character’s journey than it is an action packed, rollercoaster adventure.  That’s not to say surprising things don’t happen as there are some twists along the way.  One in particular is a little disappointing, simply because it isn’t what I wanted for that character; which of course means I’m invested in the story and truly care what happens to them. 🙂

I’ve always enjoyed watching an author’s career develop and seeing each book become stronger than the one before.  Such is the case with The Calling.  Though The Choosing was a good debut novel, The Calling really builds on Rachelle’s writing strengths.  Her strong storytelling voice and ability to convey her ideas comes through nicely in this book.  While The Calling doesn’t end in a total cliffhanger, things are not tidy and I’m excited to see how this story progresses.

–Melissa

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