Book review: The Returned by Jason Mott

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

When I read the synopsis of this book I just had to read it. The idea of people coming back from the dead, not as zombies but as perfect replicas of who the were before they died was very intriguing. How would the living react? How would the dead adjust to life again? Would they remember their past lives? Ah, so many questions and those answers would come from within the pages of this book.

The start was a little slow as the reader is introduced to the old couple Harold and Lucille and then shortly after their once dead eight year old son, Jacob, along with a government agent Mr. Bellamy. And while Jacob was certainly not the first of these once dead now referred to as ‘Returned’, he certainly was the first one to directly affect the lives of Harold and Lucille. I somewhat expected the start to be slow, most books start off with a bit of slowness in order to introduce characters, some background and things that will later on prove important to the story. However this slowness seemed to continue through the majority of this book.

The characters were many in this book, though not in an overwhelming amount, but I never found myself invested in any of them. And when you don’t care about the characters the story is rarely appealing. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this book, overall it was okay but it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be. This book also has a fairly heavy religious feel to it. Now, I’m not saying I’m against religion being mentioned in books but usually it’s just an undertone of it, however in this books case it was a constant presence. This is not necessarily a bad thing for many people but for me I just found it’s presence too heavy. It simply added to my overall unimpressed feeling of this book.

Now things did pick up towards the end of the book however I found it was too little, too late and therefore I really didn’t care that things were reaching that point where there would finally be a climax to whatever it had been building up to. Then the end came and while it was somewhat good I found it fairly anticlimactic since it’s the ending I saw coming for quite some time.

Overall this book was simply okay. I can appreciate what the author was trying to share with the story and even why people seem to love this book but for me it hit too far short from the mark. Would I recommend it? Of course, because I know people will like it. Will I read the rest of the series? Maybe, but I won’t rush to do so.

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