Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Release Day Review: The Returned - Jason Mott

The Returned
Jason Mott 
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Passable
On Goodreads

I’m one of those people who carry a book around in her purse – if you do this too, then this is the book for you. The Returned is interesting enough that you can pick up and read it whenever you want, but also flat enough that you can put it down when you need to do something. This book was better than average, but it wasn’t good enough to warrant a 4 star rating.

Brief summary: These two delightful parents, Lucille and Harold lost their son in 66. Years after his death, their son returns – alive and well, the same age he was when he died. However, this wasn’t just a special circumstance. This was happening around the globe, and everyone was receiving their lost loved ones back. The premise of this results in a wild dystopia, and the idea of this was unique and I was so intrigued by it. Unfortunately, every time I’m intrigued by the premise of a book, I end up being disappointed. However, this time around, Mott did better than expected, and I was pretty excited to read it.

So these people who’ve returned from the dead are not only un-aged, but they are confused as well. They don’t know what happened and are being treated as third rate citizens. One of the cool parts of the book was that Mott tried to tell us of the dystopian society from many different people, including the undead. However, this is where the book lost points with me – although it was a fascinating idea to write in different POVs, it made the book kind of flat – I was interested in some of the secondary characters, but I never got close enough to them to truly care about them.

The characters we mainly follow however, Lucille, Harold, and Jacob, their son, are warm and loving. Although there isn’t much growth in the characters (huge pet peeve of mine), Mott made them fairly average characters. By this I mean, I never really felt their pain as I did the other Returned. The others that had come back from the dead had rather interesting stories and I actually teared up at one or two of them. Sadly though, Mott didn’t tell me more about them so instead I got stuck with Lucille, Harold and Jacob.

The other unfortunate thing (I’ll stop being so negative soon I swear) is that the main reason I read the book, the interesting plot, seems to be hidden behind backstories of the Returned. The intellectual stuff that really intrigued me was blended into the background, which makes me sad :’( Come on Jason, you could’ve done better.

Otherwise, this book was fairly good. The concept of the Returned along with the Bureau’s actions to deal with the problem was very interesting. It wasn’t action packed, but it did have many touches of sadness and emotion that is hard to find. By the end of the book I was reminded of how much I truly love my friends and family, and to remind them of such. If you’re ever looking for a book to read on the way to work or during the ten minutes after a test, this would definitely be it.

On a side note, if you enjoy The Returned, you may want to check out the short stories: The First, The Sparrow, and The Choice.

- Amrutha

How would you react if your dead loved ones were returned to you?
Let us know in the comments!

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