Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Returning by Christine Hinwood

Grade: A+


The war between the Uplanders and Downlanders is over. After six years of fighting, Cam Attling is the only one from his tiny town of Kayforl to return, and suspicion surrounds him. When his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off and his entire role in the community questioned, Cam leaves to find the Uplander lord who maimed him but spared his life, seeking answers and a new place in the world.

But this is not just Cam's story, it's about all those whose fates entwine with his. Graceful Fenister, who will go on to marry the last person Cam would expect. Cam's sister, Pin, who grows into a young lady who embraces Uplander culture. Lord Gyaar, who is haunted by Cam and the resemblance he bears to his own brother. Diido, who lost everything in war too, but finds a new life for herself when she meets Cam.


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 10/10!
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10!
Total Score: 66/70

Age Appropriate? PG-13

Cursing: Some.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some drinking and drunkenness.
Sexual Content: A few scenes, mostly mild.
Disturbing Images/Violence: References to rape/prostitution, domestic violence, images of war.


When I contemplate this story, one word comes to mind: Beautiful. The world is stunning, one of the most vividly imagined and complete universes I have experienced in writing. The characters are unique, deep, sometimes painfully true. And the voice Hinwood has created in them, their speech, their mannerisms and cultures--it is startling, captivating...beautiful. She somehow manages to portray the struggle and pain associated with the aftermath of war in an almost gentle way, with honesty and reality, that is all the more powerful for that. And what a beautiful cover, no? All in all, a breathtaking and mature read from a talented and imaginative woman. Can't wait for those to follow.

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