The Call, by Peadar Ó Guilin

When I write fantasy set in our world, I try to make up my own supernatural stuff rather than build on someone else’s (cf. the Ted Gorse Adventures). Hence I don’t do fairies, elves, goblins, unicorns, zombies, vampires etc and am generally unimpressed when others do.

But I will make an exception for the fairies in Peadar Ó Guilin’s The Call, who are the original Irish fair folk and hence as utterly unfair and nasty as you could possibly wish. In the near future the island of Ireland is cut off from the rest of the world – or possibly the rest of the world just vanishes, leaving only Ireland. The Sidhe have woken up. Now every teenager in Ireland is guaranteed to be abducted at some point during their teens, for three minutes – or a day in Sidhe time. In Sidhe-land they will be mercilessly hunted, and if caught then mutilated to death. Then they will be returned in whatever condition they are in, alive but most probably dead.

So every Irish child now spends their teens in specialist camps learning the survival skills that may just keep them alive when their Call comes, whenever that is. And while the novel does give us glimpses of Sidhe-land, most of the tension is in this world. The heroine is a crippled girl who could barely be expected to survive here, let alone there, and of course the kids around her are as vile and bastardly as kids ever can be.

Hugely recommended.