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True Calling by Siobhan Davis

True Calling

by Siobhan Davis

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Goodreads Synopsis:
For Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced "The Calling" as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.
But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.
Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government's increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

My Review:
Ariana is having dreams about a strange boy who's name she knows, but nothing else. Two years ago earth's best, brightest and healthiest were evacuated due to natural disasters wreaking havoc on the globe, and she now lives on the planet Novo. Her memories of earth were wiped to create an easier transition, although she's having dreams about an unknown boy Zane, and a vita chip was installed in every person to keep an eye on their health and activities, and also to track them. There are cameras and recording devices everywhere. The planets population is made up of the very best from earth, anyone with health issues was left behind. No sick or elderly allowed, and no one is above the age forty five. There are helper robots for everything and life seems fine, except for the weird dreams about that certain boy. Everyone pretty much just lives in a perfect little bubble. Planet Novo is a man made planet just above the surface of the earth. Something called the calling is initiated one day when Ari is headed to her military classes, when every eligible seventeen year old is put into an arranged marriage with their appropriate match, and forced to have at least three children before the age of tenty two,l in efforts to increase the dwindling human population. Ariana is less than stoked to learn about it. Apparently what's going to happen is it starts off like a pageant, everyone getting beautiful and doing additional personality and intelligence screening to find their perfect match. They pick a top ten list for each person, and they go on dates and match everyone up, all of it televised. Effectively turning every seventeen year old into a reality tv star. Each region of the planet will vote for a couple they like the most, and then those couples will face off and try to be named the "nova silentium" couple, made instant celebrities and showered with gifts from across the planet. Although the planet was supposed to be founded on freedom and love, wanting everyone on it to prosper, the government has effectively forced people into marriage and childbirth even if they don't want it, and outlawed being gay and bisexual, threatening imprisonment if you don't adhere to their rules, and if the shots they give you don't "Cure" you and you continue to engage in homosexual behaviors. It's a crazy book and I absolutely loved every bit of it, the characters are so lifelike and the story is so interesting I didn't want to put it down. I don't usually like viewpoint changes, but I welcomed them in this book. I love the cover and it's what first drew me to it. I definitely recommend it. The story is just so intricate and although it's a dystopia and I've been reading a lot of those lately, it takes turns I never expected and every chapter ends in an exciting way. This one is different from the others and I'll definitely check out the next book in the series.
Thanks for reading, check out this review and more at my blog.
(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com) ( )
  aurora.schnarr | Aug 8, 2017 |
When Ari and her family are sent to Planet Novo, their memories of people on earth are erased. However, Ari keeps having these strange dreams, focusing on a guy named Zane. She thinks she knows Zane but has no memory of him.

I was really into this book until it switched to Zane's point of view. The story kinda stalemated there, as the author recapped everything that Ari had experienced up to their. After the switch, it seemed like the whole story resolved around whether or not Cal was going to sleep in Ari's bed for the night. The characters had no consistency. One moment they were concerned that they were being monitored and the next moment they were talking about topics they should have kept quiet. By the end of the book I was tired of Ari and Cal. I will not read this sequel. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Jan 16, 2015 |
My Thoughts:
This book is 1984 meets the dating game, in a very good way. It effortlessly blends our worst fears - that someday Earth will become a wasteland and we will need to find another habitable place to host the mass of human life. Even worse, as we all know, times of trouble call for new orders of power. In True Calling, we watch as these persons of power start to take claim over more and more of the lives of the people of Novo.

They have already come to terms with the Big Brother style monitoring, from cameras everywhere to weekly medical exams. They even have to have chips in their necks to constantly monitor their location and progress. All just to ensure that they still 'deserve' to be a part of Novo's new life. One slip up and they will be gotten rid of, lifelong penitentiary or otherwise.

Enter The Calling.

Ari and her training mates are the first year group to be subjected to The Calling. We watch as the government enforces a dating game style of population security. It involves testing every possible part of the youths lives, from health, fitness, fertility and even skill and IQ. Then each is matched with potential suitors, voted on, dated and then married.

Not so bad? They have to marry and produce 3 children, minimum by the age of 22, and there is no going against the choice of the government. None.

Ari and the others follow-suit and do what they are told is the greater good for Novo and the human race, but soon we start to see, and Ari suspects that there is so much more going on than meets the eye.

With dreams of Zane, issues with Cal and The Calling and certain government officials trailing her and making her life hell, the world of Novo is no longer the safe haven it once seemed...

I though this book was excellent. It had the perfect writing style to attract YA/New Adult readers, but still had the action, puzzles and underlying life issues to pull in adults. I personally was draw in from page one and couldn't put it down.

The characters have depth and personalities, which they stick to throughout the story, make them very real. Ari and the others are subject to the trials and emotions that we experience in every day life, making it easy to fall into the character's lives and really feel like you know them.

The world of Novo is plausible, yet still rather futuristic, to make it fun. I could see the habitants of earth starting fresh and still wanting to try and build a world that is an exact replica of Earth.

I also like the pace of the story. It moves a long quickly, throwing a snippet, clue or piece of the puzzle here and there, but not giving enough away that you can guess the story before it is finished. The twists, turns and challenges that the characters experience are real, yet we feel like we are reading about such a problem for the first time, as it is written in such a fresh, new way that it is completely riveting.

OVERALL: This is an excellent read from YA to adult. The entirety of the story is addicting, from feelings of dread, love, anger and passion- we are pulled into the lives of Ari and to Novo people, leaving us yearning for more, when the last page has been turned.

I highly recommend giving this excellent read a go. It is a new take on a futuristic story. ( )
  naturalbri | Nov 30, 2014 |
Ariana Skyee, 17, lives on Novo, an outpost of Earth under construction since the 1960’s to help ensure survival after “disaster upon disaster wreaked havoc on Earth…making it largely uninhabitable….”

Ari, her parents, and her younger siblings, Lily, 14, and Deacon, 10, live in Region 2, one of fifteen regions on this new replica of Earth. Ari’s father is a Level 1 Commander of the Army on Novo, and Ari, always a “daddy’s girl,” attends the military training academy. One of her classmates is Cal Remus, a good-looking but seemingly arrogant guy who is always teasing Ari and who is also the child of a Level 1 military commander.

Three months prior to the start of this story, the government of Novo announced a new policy, “The Calling,” in which participation is required for all who reach age seventeen. The teens go through testing, get assessed, and are assigned potential suitors. At the end of a publicly televised courting period, they must choose one of the suitors, get married, and start having children - at least three by the time they are aged twenty-two. The goal is to increase the population of Novo. As might be expected, Ari and Cal find they are on one another’s list of top ten suitors, and Ari decides, on the basis of physical attraction, she might love Cal instead of hating him.

But the public pageantry doesn’t end with the pairing up of each of the teens. The final couples from each Region are then required to “compete” with the other winning couples in various categories. To help make the process more appealing, each contestant is assigned a “pageant coordinator” and has a number of beautification procedures and dress fittings scheduled.

The victorious couple to be named “Novo Silentium,” a PR job entailing official duties and blissful support of the government.

Zolt Rada, Operations Director for the pageant, ominously warns Ari that he will be keeping an eye on her, and she doesn’t really understand why. But her father has warned her that there is a rebellion brewing, and that there are dissenting “factions” arising. It is also true that Ari keeps having dreams about and even messages from a boy named Zane. She doesn’t know who he is, but he keeps warning her to be careful. Oddly, both her father and Zane caution Ari to stay away from Cal, but she thinks they just don’t know him, and their resistance drives her further devotion and loyalty to Cal.

In Part Two, the narrative switches over to the point of view of Zane, and we learn a great deal more about what is really going on back on Earth, where Zane has been left behind because of a heart ailment (only the physically perfect got selected for Novo). By the time Part Three takes us back to Ariana, Zane, and Cal, Novo seems to be falling apart, and Katniss is trying to avoid choosing between Peeta and Gale. No, wait! I mean, Cassia is trying to avoid choosing between Ky and Xander. Wait, I mean, Tris has chosen a faction and….

Well, you get the idea. This is one of the most derivative books I have ever encountered. At first I thought it was going to be a rehash mainly of Matched, but the similarities to The Hunger Games quickly overwhelm any other referents. Now, truly, it’s pretty hard to come up with a totally original plot, and it must be tempting to riff on good ideas already out there (shown, for example, by the popularity of fanfiction). But I think the quality of prose in this book just doesn’t make up for the closeness the plot bears to other successful stories. The writing is uninspiring, and the “evil” characters are absolutely without nuance. The onslaught of tired YA dystopian tropes is overwhelming. Do I care enough about the characters to continue on with Book Two? I would have to say no. ( )
  nbmars | Aug 11, 2014 |
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