Book Review: The Returned (The Returned #1) by Jason Mott

Posted August 26, 2013 by Melissa in Book Review | 17 Comments

Title: The Returned
Series: The Returned #1
Author: Jason Mott
Pages: 352
Age Group:  Adult
Genre: Literary Fiction/Contemporary/Science Fiction
ISBN: Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 978-0985901318
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
Available Formats: Hardcover, E-Book
Add the book: Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon  | B&N | The Book Depository
Source: Publisher at BEA


Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That’s what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time … Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All 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.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

My Thoughts

Jason Mott’s The Returned is a spectacular work of literary fiction sure to leave the reader looking deep within and asking questions both horrifying and miraculous.

What would you do if your long deceased loved ones reappeared? If the world seemed suddenly full of lost who’d been gone and were now returned? How would humanity as a whole react and deal with this influx of “people”? And would we even consider them “people”? What are they really and what are our obligations to them and to ourselves?

These are a few of the questions that Mott proposes in this well written and thought provoking novel. He set the scene easily as not much world building was required….this is our world. The pacing was slow and I don’t know that we ever felt that we built up to much, although there is more action and a bit of a twist at the end…but I didn’t mind that at all. The pace fits the plot…this is a path we want to walk slowly.

I give Mott credit for using the extra space not required for world building to really develop the characters and personalities of our cast. From the aged parents who suddenly find themselves in charge of a young boy… To the Agency Man, who can’t seem to find the balance between accomplishing his job and doing what is right… Who can’t even quite decide what is right…

All told, this concept is beyond intriguing…this is a read that you’ll want to push through to finish while at the same time, you’ll feel the need to put it aside at times and just take a break to allow yourself to think about it all. It’s tragic and chilling and just enough humorous to make it feel all too real.

Was It Worth My Time?

4.5 Timepieces

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17 responses to “Book Review: The Returned (The Returned #1) by Jason Mott

    • Melissa

      Exactly…how difficult would a situation lkike that prove to be once one got past the initial fear/joy stage.

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I agree, the concept is great, but I was bored reading it. I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen so I stopped reading it a few months ago. Maybe I should pick it back up again . .
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    • Melissa

      Sorry to hear that you didn’t make it theough the book…it certaily isn’t fast paced so I can understand.

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