Audiobook Junkie, Sporadic book blogger, occasional master chef, soccer mom, wearer of pajamas, teller of tales, cool aunt, beloved wife, and loyal friend.
After watching that awesomely creepy book trailer for The Returned, I knew I had to read this! Unfortunately, for me, the book didn't quite live up to the promise of the trailer. The story is kind of strange, as you would expect from a story about people returning from the dead, but it had the potential to be so much more than it was.
The story reminds me of that show from some years back called The 4400 where people that had disappeared and were assumed dead began reappearing the same age they were when they left. This is exactly what happens in The Returned except those returning were definitely dead and buried, yet somehow they are back. Each chapter began with snippets of events throughout the world which highlighted the rising panic, mistrust of the returned, and the worldwide population problem this situation would present. I would have enjoyed seeing this explored further. However, most of the story's focus was on one small town where government authority, anti-government militia, and average citizen on both sides of the problem all come together.
It took me over a week to plod through The Returned. One of the things didn't work for me is the same thing that always makes me lose interest in the story, a lack of connection to the characters. The premise was interesting enough, but I needed more than one dimensional characters to pull me into the story and make me feel any kind of way about it. Instead, I felt like I had read a news article discussing what happened with a few quotes from witnesses. I think that if there would have been more "showing" than telling, I could have enjoyed it more. As it was, the delivery was a bit flat, I didn't care about the characters, and so The Returned just didn't work for me.
I have heard this was very quickly optioned for a TV series and I am interested to see how that pans out. I think this will translate much better to TV because the actors will be able to breathe life and personality into these characters on screen. Perhaps the right music and dramatic dialog will also add some nuance to what was, for me, a rather colorless story.