Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Review: The Returners by Gemma Malley

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Released: February 1st, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-

Amazon summary:

Will Hodges' life is a mess. His mother is dead, he has no friends and he thinks he is being followed by a strange group of people who tell him they know him. But Will can't remember them ...at first. And when he does, he doesn't like what he can remember. While Will is struggling with unsettling memories, he learns that his past is a lot deeper than many people's, and he has to find out if he is strong enough to break links with the powerful hold that history has on him.


The Returners has now put Gemma Malley in my list of favourite UK authors. The premise is original, unusual and utterly fantastic, and her writing is compelling to say the least. She's a force to be reckoned with, and her previous books The Declaration and The Resistance are proof enough of that.

The Returners confronts issues relevant to today's society, even though the story is set in an alternate future, in the year 2016. Everything from race to politics is tackled head-on, with no apologies or sugarcoating. 2016 is a hard time to be a foreigner; they're seen as outcasts and aren't welcomed or wanted. Political parties are doing their best to turn Britain back into a purist country, and are facing more opposition as people start to stand up for what's right. It's a topic that is hotly debated these days, and it's good that Malley has picked such a contemporary subject to address.

This book is in no way predictable, and kept me guessing until the last chapter. We figure things out as Will figures them out, and experience shock and confusion at the same time he does. Little hints are given, and it's almost like piecing a giant puzzle together, using excerpts from historical events and a crime committed in the present. I won't give anything away here, as the beauty of the story is what's waiting to be revealed around the corner.

Malley stands out on the shelves of UK teen fiction, with a believable voice and a strong grasp on the teenage mind. Her books continue to surprise me, and her standard of writing seems to improve with every new offering. As a stand-alone novel, The Returners is worthy of a place in everyone's collection, and I for one can't wait to see where her imagination takes her next.


Lenore said...

I'd be willing to give this a chance even though I was very disapointed in The Resistance. I hope the plot does not hinge on people doing stupid things here?

Becky said...

What a great review! I really need to read this and Gemma's previous books. They sound like something I'd really enjoy. Thanks!

Book Crazy Jenn said...

I really want to pick up one of Gemma's books - the premise of them sounds awesome and this one especially. Wonderful review as always.

Yunaleska said...

I agree with this reviewer - The Returners was good :) And she's an author I'm watching out for.

Silvia said...

I found out about this book the other day and I quickly added it to my wishlist.
Altought I've been a long time after the Declaration, between one thing and another I haven't read it yet. Now this book calls my attention more than the other did, so I think I'll start with this one first.

LovesSam said...

This sounds fab! I seriously need to read some of her work, it really bugs me that I haven't read any of her work, great review mon pip

The Library Lurker said...

This sounds great! I'll be keeping an eye out for it!

Kate said...

I reviewed this for Chicklish and I thought it was great - definitely kept the reader guessing! And it's scary that it's a bleak future that is not that different to the world we live in.

It's a keeper for me :)

Ryan Woods said...

Sounds brilliant. I think I'm going to have to have a read of this one. :)

Faye said...

I can't wait 2 read this one! Love the UK cover!

Lea said...

Creepy cover...I like it!

Awesome review, I wasn't too sure after looking at the synopsis, but your review has me thinking otherwise...books that keep you guessing are always fun :P

Lauren said...

Killer review! I'm so excited to read this, and especially to hear you confirm that Gemma Malley is not just a one-series wonder. I'm liking the sound of such an unpredictable story to look forward to. Sounds amazing!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Brilliant review! I really need to read some of her books.

Edward Dowdell said...

I can't wait to read The Selection. Thanks a lot for the giveaway!
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