Monday, August 26, 2013

The Returned (The Returned #1) by Jason Mott

The ReturnedAll over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

An absolutely fascinating premise. I wish I'd thought of it myself. What if the dead come back to life? The possibilities are endless...I immediately think of widowed people who have remarried...suddenly they have two wives or two husbands. What do they do?

The story is well written. It's different from average literature...more literary in style. The man knows how to write and switch POV smoothly. I felt like I was reading a book along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan. Like..when I watched the movie Signs years ago, I saw the main family on the screen most of the time, but then they'd watch CNN and we'd see what was going on in the rest of the world. This was like that...with the gist of the story on Harold, Lucille, their Returned son, and the town of Arcadia, now like a POW camp for the walking dead. We get these fascinating glimpses at what's going on in the rest of the world here and there...and here is where I have a complaint.

Halfway through the book, I got bored with Harold and Lucille and the small-town life. I was actually more interested in the Nazis hiding in a house. I mean, they'd come back from the dead to discover they were the most hated army in the world...and they're hiding in a Jew's house and he's talking about forgiveness...this was cool and oh, so brief. The artist who came back and married a woman, a former art student who had kept his memory alive when nobody else wished to honor it--fabulous stuff. And so little of it.

The story was too confined, IMO, to Arcadia, to Harold, a grumpy old man (not as interesting as a Nazi or a painter), to Lucille and her cooking obsession, to their son who doesn't know anything...

And above all, I was terribly bothered by a few things...people are coming back from the dead--including a family who was murdered. Why does nobody ever ask them, "Who killed you?" Does nobody think their murderers should be held accountable? That alone would have made a fascinating sub plot. Family announces who murdered them. Murderer's lawyer says there is no case as the family isn't dead after all...

And as I said in the'd think at least one person out of these thousands of Returned, would come back to find their spouse remarried. Also, I was confused.

I saw so much more potential for drama and action than we were given.

But I will say it's fascinating to think about. It's realistic--yes, people are coming back from the dead, but what makes it realistic is how people act. I can see this happening. Half have faith. Half do not. Some may be afraid and fear leads to stupid action like riots... The gov't trying to control the situation and being rather callous about it...I can see it all happening. Very easily.

It's suspenseful, if a bit slow due to the confined town. And above all, it's a brilliant premise. I received this from netgalley.

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