Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: The Returned by Jason Mott

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I’m proud to be taking part in TLC Book Tours‘ tour for The Returned by Jason Mott! In this post you will find a review of the book, a little bit about the author and a giveaway.

If someone that you had known and loved, long since passed away, suddenly turned up on your doorstep, how would you react? This is what the Hargreaves, and others around the world in The Returned, have to deal with.

The book raises a lot of interesting questions, and demonstrates many of the possible responses through the actions of different countries throughout the world. It is something that would divide people, and certainly does in the little Southern town of Arcadia. After years and years, family and friends will have moved on and accepted the death of a loved one. So how would they feel when that person, who has been missing from their life for so long, suddenly appears as if nothing ever happened?
Like the Hargreaves, many people are terrified of the idea – until it affects them personally. Lucille refers to the Returned as ‘devils’, and Harold doesn’t show any strong opinion. That is, until their son suddenly appears, fifty years after his death and eight years old once again, looking exactly as he did on the day that he drowned. By this point Harold and Lucille are in their seventies, past the age and energy level of being able to look after a young, hyperactive child, but he is their son – or is he? Is he really their son, who died fifty years ago, or is he an apparition, a clone, anything but?
The Returned have the memories and habits of the people that they once were, and the book  never really addresses whether they are anything other than those people – it’s pretty much left open to the reader. The book also points out a few other problems with these ‘miracles’. What do you do when a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend who died all those years ago suddenly reappears and wants to be with you? What if you had someone else, a new family? How about people who were murdered – could they name their killer?
So many questions! It really is a thought provoking book.
The Hargreaves are a sweet old couple, Harold grumpy but with a soft spot for his wife, and Lucille a lot tougher than she originally seems. Both characters develop at a good pace over the course of the book, recent events causing them to question their own beliefs and morals.

It was nice to have various interludes all over the world of the Returned appearing, but I think a bit more of that would have been better. As it was, it felt a little like it was only affecting the town of Arcadia, rather than being a worldwide occurrence. Apparently there are some shorts covering other characters and places, but I really wouldn’t have minded that in the main storyline. There were also no stories of any Returned being upset or confused by the time skip, or age differences with loved ones – in fact they barely seem to bat an eye at their parents or lovers suddenly being fifty years older.

Jason Mott chooses to ignore writing any explanation for the Returned, and it isn’t really questioned by many of the characters. Instead he delves straight into how people would react or feel, he plays brilliantly on emotion and character development. I think this was the right choice; by leaving out any reasoning behind the sudden appearance of the deceased he leaves it very much open to the reader to decide how and why, whilst probably also widening the target audience for the book.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. Slow-paced to start with, it picks up and ends with a shock. It had me really thinking about the situations within the story and how I would react if I were part of them, and it’s always great when a book gets you to interact that way.

About the Author

 

Jason Mott holds a B.A. in fiction and an M.F.A. in poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Jason lives in North Carolina. The Returned is his first novel.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

The Returned is also being made into a television series, entitled Resurrection! Optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, it will air on ABC in the US this autumn.

Giveaway

 

Misc.

A to Z Bookish Survey

 
When I saw this great bookish survey created by Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner, I knew I had to join in. Credit also goes to Jamie for the image above.
 
Author you’ve read the most books from:
Natsuki Takaya, due to reading all of the Fruits Basket manga – after that it’s Jacqueline Wilson. I loved her when I was younger. But if we’re talking about authors I still read, then it’s Terry Pratchett.
 
Best sequel ever:
I’m going to cheat and say sequels, with the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. I really can’t decide which of the books is my favourite, they’re all amazing and build perfectly upon each other.
 
Currently reading:
The Returned by Jason Mott (for a blog tour) and The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett. The latter is taking me far too long to read since I don’t tend to like reading on the Kindle too much. But I better get used to it…

Drink of choice while reading:
Tea. Duh. Though I have been known to indulge in the occasional Southern Comfort and lemonade. Often whilst reading The Southern Vampire Mysteries.
 
E-reader or physical book:
I guess I already answered this one. Definitely a physical book, but I really need to get used to using an e-reader. I’m planning on going to university abroad for my Masters, and I can’t really take my books with me…
 
Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Errmmm. Maybe not in high school/secondary school… but I’d quite like me a bit of Eric Northman, thank you please.
 
 
Glad you gave this book a chance:
Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Quite unexpected!
 
Hidden gem book:
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall. I’m afraid that this might get lumped in with all the other YA vampire stuff, when in actual fact it’s a wonderfully written semi-retelling of Dracula, from the point of view of one of his victims. 
 
Important moment in your reading life:
The same as Jamie, and probably many other bloggers: discovering Goodreads. It made it so much easier to keep track of what I was reading/had read, find new books, work out what to read next, and most importantly of all: find fellow-minded book lovers!
 
Just finished:
Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries #4) by Charlaine Harris. For the third time. I recently discussed the series after reading the twelfth and penultimate book, bought the entire five seasons on DVD and started re-reading the series again. As if I don’t have enough to read already without re-reading!
 
Kinds of books you won’t read:
Erotica, pure romance (it’s okay mixed with another genre, and as a minor part of the book, but otherwise I just find it pretty dull), paranormal romance (or rather, I’m more selective), overly graphic books (squeamish), any sort of fiction that pushes religious views on the reader. I’m also not a massive fan of poetry (unless it’s Ovid. Ovid is awesome).
 
Longest book you’ve read:
Hmm… if you count The Lord of the Rings as one volume, then that maybe? One book I’m currently reading – but currently have on hold – is Shogun by James Clavell, which clocks in at around 1200 pages. But most recently, I think it was probably IQ84 Books 1 & 2 by Haruki Murakami, which was amazing and very, very odd – true to his style. Oh, and I can’t be forgetting A Song of Ice and Fire – each book is at least 500 pages long. I’ve read plenty of thick, door-stop books: it comes with being a fan of the fantasy and science fiction genres.
 
Major book hangover because of:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I received a free copy a while ago, but was preparing myself for it because of all the reviews I’d read, people saying they bawled and bawled. Well I finally got round to reading it a few months ago, and I started off like this:
 
 
“Oh I’m so happy to be reading this book, I’ve heard such great things about it from everyone; it’s easy to read and actually quite funny – I was not expecting that. And yeah, it’s quite sad but there’s a lot of humour injected into it, why were people bawling their eyes out?”
 
Then, about three quarters through, just one tiny little moment did this to me:
 
 
“Oh. That’s why.”
 
And from there on out, I was sobbing and bawling until the end of the book, and after. Thanks, John Green. Thanks. (but seriously though, it was amazing)
 
Number of book cases you own:
I myself own two, plus a big shelf for archaeology/ancient history related books, and now the books are escaping onto the mantelpiece… but as for my family – well… look here.
 
One book you have read multiple times:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I’ve read it at least once every year since I was eleven (apart from last year actually…). So around ten times, I think.
 
Preferred place to read:
 
Quote that inspires you:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

This is something that Jojen Reed says in A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. 

Reading regret:

Not reading much at all during the first two years of university. I felt kind of guilty for reading non-archaeology related books. But I had so much free time! Think of all the books I could have crossed off my ‘to read’ list

Series you’ve started and need to finish (all books are published):

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons and The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. I just need to read the last book for each of them!

Three of your all-time favourite books:

Ah, this is a hard one! Okay… I’ll pick each from different genres. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy), Hyperion by Dan Simmons (sci-fi) and The Secret History by Donna Tartt (thriller/mystery). There’s so many more I wish I could add to that.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

J.R.R Tolkien and anything to do with Middle-earth. My first foray into website creation was at the age of 13, and I owned several Lord of the Rings related fansites from that age until I was about 17 or 18. I would quite happily live in the Shire.

Very excited for this release more than others:

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, because of the wonderful feelings the first two books give me. I hope it lives up to the hype!

Worst bookish habit:

Reading several books at once because I want to hurry up and review them, and thinking that reading several at once will help that. But it doesn’t. Because I flit between them constantly and often pick up another book.

X marks the spot: go to the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Your latest book purchase:

Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks.

ZZZ-snatcher: book that kept you up WAY too late:

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I read it for my book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, and we pretty much all loved it. I kept thinking ‘one more chapter…’ but it has really short chapters, so I felt cheated and would read one more… then rinse, and repeat.