The Callers by Kiah Thomas is a gripping, nuanced fantasy read (for 9-12 year olds) with such a unique, thought provoking storyline. This is a story which entices readers to question how they would respond to the moral dilemmas the main characters face as the protagonist has to unlearn all that he has ever known as the truth and lies are revealed.

Quintus Octavius is the son of Adriana, the influential Chief Councillor on the planet of Elipsom, a place where the natural and built landscapes are remarkably homogenous and lack any kind of character. Quintus has been born into a family renowned for being Callers. To be a Caller is a mark of status. To Call is to summon objects. Quintus is the only one in his family born without this skill.

While Quintus can’t call, he can be Called and he is, to another land, Elantra. It is here that Quintus meets Allie and learns of a magical skill he does possess. Elantra is the place where truths are shockingly divulged and the harsh realities and consequences of the Callers actions are revealed. Quintus learns that what is Called to Elipsom is not summoned from nothing, it is in fact taken from Elantra. The people of Elantra are being pillaged and having their way of life stripped from them. They are exploited and controlled by harsh, cruel laws enforced by people from Elipsom. The Elantrans live in an unjust system, designed to provide for the wants of the Elipsom’s. Allie has been steadfastly working against this system in order to restore Elantra to its prosperous and peaceful state and overthrow the tyranny of Elipsom.

Quintus finds allies in the most unexpected of people and is brutally deceived from those the reader will least expect. Spiteful, self-serving lies and such betrayal are the impetus for Quintus to right the wrongs.  Will his determination, courage and strong moral compass be enough to guide him and achieve success in his quest, especially as his powerful mother will stop at nothing to ensure he fails?  

This story has many parallels to our country and world as it explores themes relating to colonialism, sustainability, consumerism, being an ethical consumer, greed, abuse of power (the Callers control the workers on Elantra, enforcing harsh rules, brutal punishments and ruling through deception), exploitation, injustices and duty to family. This story is a fabulous gateway to many discussions centring on moral dilemmas.

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