ARC Review: Return Once More by Trisha Leigh
The Historians #1
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: YA Time Travel, Science Fiction
If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.Or would you have the strength to watch him die?But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.
Review copy provided by the author
I've been waiting for this book for two years!
I am smiling. The fact that I am means that I am very, very satisfied. So satisfied, that I've been grinning the past 15 minutes getting ready for bed in the wee hours of the night after reading Return Once More straight for hours.
We often read futuristic books with societies that rose up after a cataclysmic event. We call that genre dystopian (way into the future) or post-apocalyptic (for events that happen immediately after the cataclysm). But Return Once More is all futuristic, way 500+ years in the future. Humans are not living on Earth anymore but terraformed a number of planets in a distant galaxy they call Genesis. The name of that galaxy, Genesis, reflects the desire of the Original families, who settled there, for a new beginning. It wasn't an alien invasion, an all out nuclear war, or zombies that led to the migration; it was the problems that we face today, our today, which led to the Original founding fathers to come up with a solution. Problems like unmitigated violence, environmental issues (Global warming. It's happening, people!), overpopulation, etc. It seemed like a good idea to just pack the bags and just hightail it away.
The book doesn't explain much about the advances in space exploration and other scientific inventions (including a bio-tat in your colonne vertébrale, which can relay any info you want, and time travel) but, Genesis is as utopian as you can get. Kids are tested in their tenth year on what area they could excel in, spend the next years in specialized academies to learn and hone their skills and be assigned to the other planets, which also had specialized functions and terraformed environments, to be a productive member of society. The founding fathers had this vision of a community unfettered by the problems of the past. That is why Historians are needed. They travel back in time to observe events, particularly the unpleasant ones, and how these events' threads connected/impacted to the eventual crossroads of man's destruction by his own hand.
But, even though the people of Genesis are now ordered, upright, peaceful little sheep, one thing we know is that no matter how schooled one is to be a utopian, human nature cannot be contained.
Perhaps, that is why Kaia, despite the rules and the further shame (initially brought on by her brother) for her family, was eager to go back in time to get a glimpse of her True Companion. Curiosity perhaps or she's just a masochist. Who wouldn't want to learn the identity of their one true love? At least you won't go to all that trouble of searching. But the concepts of a True Companion and True Love are different here. A True Companion is based on scientific analysis of your molecular makeup of everything you are from body stats to you very cells and matching it with a one who is the most compatible, past, present or future. Just one other. It's all very scientific. Being molecularly compatible does not equate to true love. I believe that the suggestion of a True Companion is what led to Kaia to "fall in love" in the first place. Does a True Companion pairing even mutual? *hint*hint*spoilers*
Let's say, for example, that you found your True Companion. Knowing him or her, yet you can never be together, watch them die... Is it worth the trouble, the heartbreak? As I said, Kaia's a masochist. But then someone would yell: "Buuuuutttt, it's luuurrrrve!" *shrugs* No true answer to this one unless your actions in the past endangers your existence in the future. Such an intricate web, time travel is.
All in all, Trisha Leigh created a story that made me think and made me smile.