The Calling is Ashley Lynn Willis’s debut novel–and there’s nothing quite like falling in love with a writers product right at the onset of their career.
In order to explain my rating, I’ve decided to list what I did/n’t like about this one.
First, to like:
1) The cover. LOVE the covers, the whole infusion of stormy-looking shades and the choice of font. It caught my eye a while back when Ashley Lynn very first announced its reveal.
2) Mandy. I find it (often) pretty difficult to connect with female characters and it is almost always the male characters of any books that drag me along for the ride and keep me reading, but I have to say that Mandy played just as strong a role as Justin for keeping me entertained.
3) The handling of Mandy’s conflicts. Even as early on as the 2nd chapter, when Mandy believes she’s found a lump (and worries her breast cancer may have returned), the conflicts are handled so well. I LOVED Mandy’s friend, and the way she dealt with that initial scene. I became an instant fan of the two of them, thanks to their relationship and the natural dynamics between the duo.
4) This book opens right into action. And well written action at that. From the off, the reader knows what the supernatural/paranormal element of this book is going to be/revolve around because we are shown with enough clarity and absolutely no confusion–bit in a way that feels 100% natural. And the fact that these aren’t in your face and the biggest driving force of the plot bothered me not one iota.
5) Justin. Yum. What more is there to say.
6) The entire plot, from beginning to end (with one exception, which you’ll find in my dislikes below). The settings. The descriptions that ensured I knew where ‘we’ were and what was happening every step of the way. Not once did I have to work my way through any kind of confusions.
7) The ending. It’s beautiful. And if you already have a soft spot for Justin, it will deffo make you love him all the more.
Onto the dislikes (though that is seriously too strong a term for this rather feeble and pathetic list):
1) The fact that Justin knew right from the very first moment, without any reasons/explanations as to how he knew/drew his conclusion that Mandy was pregnant due to her symptoms she described. How did he know this? What experience did he have to draw on? Just a simple bit of internal dialogue/character thought would have helped clear out that tiny niggle of ‘but how would he know?’ in the readers mind.
2) Maybe one or two spots, it felt as though the emotional paragraphs could have been shortened to notch the pace up a little higher (but only those toward the end)–it only needed a tiny bit, in only a couple places, because this is one of those books that I read the opening 20% real fast because that’s what the pace dictates (and I could not put it down), so you know the pacing is superbly bang-on in some areas and the writer has this powerful ability to haul you into her story at whatever speed she chooses.
3) In the back of my copy (which I received for free through the Read 2 Review scheme–and if you think I’m being kind on my review for that reason, you should go check out others I’ve written and you’ll understand I am only ever honest), the writer had shared chapter one of her new book, Killing Abel, along with the words: ‘Coming Fall 2012′. Why? I already want to read that sucker and I’m being told I can’t have it until then??????? Gargh!
Okay, let’s wrap it up. You want to know if I’d recommend this baby? Yup, yup, 100% yes.