Rating: 4 stars
London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he’s being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he’s known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.
The Returners was very different from what I was expecting. When I read the description, I had this idea of what The Returners would be, and it was not the same at all. Though, this doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy with how The Returners ended up, as I did enjoy it.
The plot of The Returners was fairly simple and rather intriguing. The first part of the book was slower and focused more around building story. This was interesting, but I do wish the plot had picked up a bit faster. The whle concept of these “Returners” was completely original and caught my attention. I almost wish Gemma Malley had played up the idea of Returners a bit more. They were this fantastic idea, and what she did with them was great, but I feel it could’ve been that much more.
Malley does a wonderful job with the characters in The Returners. Will was an artfully crafted character. You did sympathize with him, but I did find myself confused sometimes at his actions. I could not stand Will’s father. He was just so… ugh! I think that was Gemma Malley’s intention though. Patrick just gave me the creeps.
I wasn’t fully satisfied with the ending. I would have liked to hear just a bit more of the story, and then it would have seemed a bit more complete. But overall, I would definately suggest this one! It’s an enjoyable read set in a alternate future in the year 2016.