The Returning (Rachelle Dekker) – Review

5 stars

Publisher’s Description:
They say the Awakening is coming.
That she’s the key.

But can she find her identity in the light
Before she perishes in the dark?

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

~ Excerpt ~

Remember who you are.

The words were familiar, as was the voice at the back of her brain.

I am Elise.  I grew up in the Authority City.  I am twenty.  I am alone.  My parents didn’t want me because I am broken.  I am a danger to the community and myself because the Genesis Serum does not affect me.  I am lucky to have survived this long.

A strong gust of wind rustled across the cold floor and pulled at the ends of Elise’s hair, silencing her.  Tears stung at the back of her lids.  She had felt this wind before.  Like the voice, it comforted her in the darkness of her dreams and gave her strength to continue through her uncertainty.

No, remember who you are beyond what they say about you.

Elise curled deeper into herself and tried to push the comforting force away.  She was headed to death’s door, for who knew what reason, and she wanted to lie undisturbed in her suffering and fear.

Never run from fear.
Walk through the fear.
Only in facing fear can you let it go.
Remember who you are.

“Leave me alone,” Elise said aloud.  She closed her eyes tightly to stop the tears from escaping.  If this was to be her end, then let her go out the way she had always truly been.  Powerless.
An image filled her mind.  A face she had come to know well.  A teacher, a friend, a device her mind had created to keep her alive.  Aaron, he called himself when she dreamed of him.  A kind man with warm brown eyes and curly hair.  The one she’d seen since she was little, who at times felt so real she questioned her own sanity.  She tried to shake him loose, but her mind clasped on to him tightly.
“Do you really want me to leave?”  His voice echoed through the air around her head.
Elise opened her eyes.  She saw him standing inside her cell, leaning against the bars in the far left corner.  His smile was bright even in the dark.  She stared at him, bewildered.  Was she dreaming?
He walked to Elise and dropped to his knees beside her.  His hand found her shoulder and his touch warmed her cold bones.  This dream felt so real!  She wanted to cry again, but there was nothing left.
“The forces of darkness will try very hard to make you forget, because the darkness does not want the world to see the light.  But try as they might, they will not be able to erase you.  The truth runs too deep.  It’s a strong pulse, full and electric, and when it touches others, they will see the light too.”
“Why does my mind talk to me in riddles?” Elise asked the air more than the man beside her.
He chuckled and gave her shoulder a squeeze.  “You were called to this.  The time has come for this city to be awakened. […] You have never been alone, and you have never been powerless.  The remembering is important; don’t forget.  Believe in who you are, and trust in the light.  It will save you.”

~ My Review ~

Wow!  What a gripping conclusion to this series!  As much as I enjoyed the first two novels in this series, this is definitely the best of the three.

The Returning is set twenty years on from the end of the previous book (The Calling).  Those who fled the Authority City with Remko and Carrington have been dwelling in Trylin City—a sanctuary protected by the mountain it sits against—and at the beginning of the novel, its citizens are preparing to send the chosen Seven into the Authority City to bring the truth to them.  For Kennedy Brant, the younger daughter of Remko and Carrington, this journey is also her chance to find her sister, Elise—although they can only hope she is still alive, having heard no word of her since she was kidnapped as a baby.

While Remko and Carrington make occasional appearances throughout the story as the plot requires, the larger focus of this story is Elise, the chosen seven, and three pivotal men within the Authority City.  The plot is riveting and well-paced, with a dash of romance in the mix, but what really grabbed me was the way in which Rachelle Dekker portrayed the experience of light vs dark.  Throughout the novel Elise is constantly reminded ‘You are the light of the world’, and in true Dekker style, both ‘the light’ and ‘darkness’ manifest physically through the characters.

Of course, just as in our own world, being ‘the light of the world’ does not mean you will not face trials and hardship, and it is in those moments that our faith often wavers.  Part of Elise’s journey is learning that ‘life truly was a cycle of remembering and forgetting, a constant returning to your true identity; and that all moments—the good and the bad—were just milestones on the road back to truth.’  At one point in the story, Elise is counselled to ‘See your fear…See your shame, or doubt, or anger, whatever you are facing…feel everything that you encounter, and then turn your eyes to the light and remember that it is greater than anything you will ever face.’ In the hands of Rachelle Dekker, this struggle was not only riveting; it was inspiring!

This was a fantastic conclusion to the series.  May we always remember who we are in Him.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher.  This has not influenced the content of my review.

Release date:  17 January 2017
Pages:  433
Publisher:  Tyndale House

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads  // Koorong

~ Previous Books in the Series ~

     Read my review for The Calling

~ About the Author ~

headshot-1The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.



Connect with Rachelle:           Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Instagram


About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
Image | This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, New Releases, Speculative Fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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