Endgame: The Calling – book review

Endgame - The Calling

The Calling is the first book in the new dystopian series called Endgame, written by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton.

The creatures that came to Earth twelve thousand years ago gave the people of Earth rules to live by. When these creatures left, they told the people of Earth that they’d be back. And when they came back, a game would be played. That game would determine the future of the human race. It is known as Endgame.

There are twelve original lines of humanity. Each of these lines has to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained for generations. When the game starts, the Players will have to find three keys which are all hidden somewhere on Earth. The only rule of Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Who will survive? Who will win? This is Endgame.


I really didn’t enjoy reading The Calling. From the moment I picked it up, I just had a feeling it would be one of those books that claim to the ‘the new Hunger Games’ and they aren’t even half as good at The Hunger Games. I hoped this book would at least try to be original. There were some unique elements in this book for sure. Obviously, otherwise it would just be plagiarism. I had mixed feelings about the plot. This book is over four hundred pages and I didn’t find myself getting a good grasp on the concept even once the book had ended. So, aliens? Endgame? I still don’t even know what I read. All I know is that there was teenagers who had to kill one another because they’re a part of some sort of ‘game’ run by a higher power. Sound similar? It sure does to me.

The start of this book was confusing, to say the least. For the entire book, we read from different points of view. I kid you not, we read from about eight different points of view. Imagine reading The Hunger Games from the points of view of half of the kids in it. I didn’t know who I was supposed to feel in support of and who I was supposed to hate. I’m making a lot of references to The Hunger Games here, but imagine reading from Cato’s point of view and not knowing whether he was supposed to be the person you root for or not. Anyhow, I ended up rooting for Sarah. She was a girl with a bright and happy future with her high school sweetheart until Endgame began. I suppose I felt connected to her the most out of everyone in the story because she was the one I felt most sorry for.

However, I really didn’t like how Sarah kind of cheated on her boyfriend. She was supposed to be the character we liked, well, I’m assuming, but that made me not really like her anymore. She got together with another guy from Endgame and although they are kind of cute together, I was so angry that she’d do that to her sweet high school boyfriend.

So this book begins with a bang – quite literally. That made me really interested in seeing what was going to happen. But after that, I felt like not much happened or that too much happened. The scenes were either too dull and boring that I found myself trying to stay awake, or there was too much going on and I felt like I’d have to reread the scene to understand what was going on. I thought it might just take me a while to get involved in the story because of the writing style, but this book was just too jumpy and I couldn’t get a good hold on it.

This book was constantly moving locations where the story was set and that was a little hard to follow. This book was kind of like an Amazing Race type thing and this would have been cool if we didn’t have so many airport scenes or if going to different places actually affected the story. I felt like some scenes were written just for the sake of filling up space.

I got to the end of this book and I was literally thinking, What did I just read? Couldn’t have this book been finished in 200 pages? I felt like this book dragged on in too many places and it would have benefited from being a little more concise to keep readers interested and intrigued. There was also the inclusion of random numbers or phrases or letters on some pages. An example of this is: ‘The sun rises in the West’. Was that mean to be from the book that they had to read and get clues from or something? What am I even talking about? See, I don’t have a good grip on this storyline whatsoever. Maybe I should reread this book, but I doubt I will. Once was enough for me.

I won’t be reading the next book in this series. I didn’t feel emotionally-invested enough for that. By the end of the book, I didn’t care what happened to the characters. Overall, I don’t think this was the type of book for me. Usually I really like dystopians. I wouldn’t recommend this one. If I really had to rate this book out of 10, I’d give it a two. If you’ve read this book, please let me know what you thought!