The Returners-- Gemma Malley

Release Date: March 2, 2010
Pages: 320
Genre: Futuristic Historical Fiction


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.
Review: It took me exactly one month to get through the first 150 pages of this book. It was just... so... slow... Nothing happened! Oh sure, there was a lot of talk about things that might happen, but nothing actually happened.

After the first 150 pages, the story definitely picked up again and really made you think. However, there was still something that really bothered me.

It was pretty clear that this author had an agenda. Throughout the book, the author is CONSTANTLY talking about being prejudiced, racist, and discriminatory. And eventually, the book doesn't end up being about a boy who's lived through history, but rather about overcoming racist thoughts and feelings.

Usually, I'd be fine with that, but it really just felt like the author was just beating your over the head with it. Eventually I just started to go "Ugh. I get it!" I don't mind if an author has an agenda, I just mind if they let the plot suffer to get that agenda across. Does that make sense?

I've liked Gemma Malley's past books, but this one falls a bit short.


  1. So, kind of off topic, but the genre "futuristic historical fiction" totally made me do a double take. :)

    Thanks for the honest review.

  2. Ahh I understand the slowest feeling of some books. I had read a book, and am reading a book currently that feel the same way. Awesome review.

  3. Alyssa, I know. I wasn't sure what to call it. It takes place in the future, but talks A LOT about historic events. So... there you go.

    BM, It happens far too often.


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