The Invasion is the sequel to 2016’s The Call. The Call was a surprisingly dark venture for Scholastic that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I was interested to see how Peadar Ó Guilín followed up his nightmare tale of creepy faeries, monstrous people and how far one is willing to go to survive. I was not disappointed.
The Invasion picks up soon after where The Call left off and we start to see the consequences of the previous novel. Ireland is up in arms after the realization that not all those who have returned from the Call have come back fairly. Many have made deals with Sidhe and are working within the country to betray the human world. These deals can range from healing the damage the Sidhe have done to gifting the person with eternal youth. Anyone who has come back from their Call is now suspect. Especially those who the Nation had deemed unlikely to survive. Nessa of course is one of these people. With her weakened legs and the fact that the Sidhe had made her fireproof, she’s the obvious candidate to betray her country.
Nessa is taken away to prison with the understanding that if she doesn’t confess she’ll be sent back to the Grey Land. Nessa would then spend the rest of her existence living out an unending Call.
I absolutely loved Nessa. She was still the strong willed,determined teen from the first novel but this time around her motivations have slightly changed. When we were introduced to her in the first novel she was focused only on surviving her Call and by that proving herself to everyone who doubted her. In The Invasion Nessa finds herself in a different fight for survival. This time trying to prove herself to those who only see the worst in her. Nessa is hated and pitied by the adults and survivors she interacts with. The world only really starts to make more sense to her when she’s thrust back into the familiar horror of the Grey Land.
While Nessa survives the Grey Land, Anto has to survive Ireland at war. The Sidhe have started their invasion and Anto finds himself behind enemy lines. He and a small group of survivors have to find their way past the Sihde and their monsters and join up with the remaining human resistance. Anto’s battle isn’t just a physical one, but a mental and emotional one as well. He’s still haunted by his experiences during his Call and now he’s dealing with the possibility that his girlfriend is working with the enemy. Ó Guilín does a great job of showing Anto’s fractured mental state. You can’t help but feel sorry for him and you understand why he makes the choices he does even if you don’t agree with them or like them.
The Invasion really shines in its prose. The style is detached, like the narrator is telling a story they have told a thousand times before. There are moments of foreshadow and and asides to the reader that mimic the experience of an oral storyteller. This detached familiarity makes the moments of horror (ands there are many) more horrifying. The monstrous creations of the Sidhe are frankly described, leaving the reader to fill in all the worst details. I thought the monsters in the first book got under my skin, The Invasion managed to be worse.
I also really liked how the mythology of the world was built upon. Ó Guilín flirts with making his Sihde relatable. He reminds his readers that we too wouldn’t be fully sane or reasonable if we were locked up in hell away from our home for a millennia, unchanging except for our mental state. The Sidhe, monstrous as they are offer moments of absurd humour. I found myself laughing and wondering if there was something wrong with me.
There is a lot I loved about The Invasion. The raised stakes, the characters, the mythology, I could go on. It’s a solid companion to The Call and in a very rare case I find that I like the sequel more than the original. Understand that this book is not for the faint of heart. It’s dark and horrific at times. If you’re looking for something that offers an original twist on familiar mythology, than you should check this one out.
I’m excited to see what Peadar Ó Guilín does next. With horrific faeries and cannibals under his belt, who knows what he’ll think of next.
- I love the crazy mad murdering scientist. She’s an interesting character who I wanted to see more of
- I only had to put this book down once and it was at the one third mark. It was worse than the horses in The Call. Can you guess what it was?
- Paedar manages to make millennial slang a key twist in his book. It seemed discordant with the rest of his world until the payoff. Which was perfect.
- Nice reference to the devil story. Check out our interview with Paeder where he tells it to Chelsey and I.