I just finished Return Once More, by Trisha Leigh! :)
I received this e-arc from the publishers through NetGalley. This does not affect my review in any way.
"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.”
And now for the review
Return Once More is definitely unexpected. Its so rare to read books that are both considered to be science fiction and historical fiction! That’s something I really enjoyed about the book - the characters were zipping through space and time with awesome technologies, all to understand and to be able to record the Earth’s history (Known as Earth Before in the book). I really love sci fi, and I also have an appreciation for historical fiction (eg. in Stravaganza). Leigh managed to weave the two together very creatively. I really loved the science-y aspect of it! If I could choose where to go, as the characters can, it’d be in renaissance Florence *-*
The characters are nice. Kaia is incredibly curious about the past, but also about other people’s business. She is also very determined to do what she thinks is right, despite the rules enforced on her by society.
Oz is surprisingly protective. Even though he is portrayed as somewhat a ‘bad guy’, I still liked his character and his hidden protectiveness.
Cesarion was almost too goody-good. I was sad that there wasn’t a lot of character development from his part.
Kaia’s friends were nice, but I’m a bit disappointed that their main character developments only happen towards the end of the book. It’s only at the end that we see that Sarah is a tech genius, and that Annaleigh has a bit of a rebellious side.
Jonah (hehe same name as my bro) honestly sounded like a cool guy. I wish he could have come up more often in the book, though!
However, one thing that REALLY bothered me about this book - in which the relationship between Kaia, the protagonist, and her True, Cesarion, an Egyptian prince, was a central point - is that the romance between the two of them felt somewhat fake and enforced. I dunno, I just didn’t like the to of them together. When the two of them first meet, when Cesarion is in mourning for his mother, he basically treats Kaia like one of his servants. Then, she goes right back to him (not explaining much to avoid spoilers). In this way, It seems like their relationship, even though strong in the book, seemed enforced. A lot of the time, Cesarion seemed confused as to why his feelings were strong, while Kaia knew that he was the one who’s genes matched best with hers. I dunno, it didn’t seem very genuine...
However, I do kinda like the idea introduced at the end of the book better, of Kaia and Oz being together. ^-^
About the end of the book - it was sad. It wasn’t even cliff-hanger-esque, and I feel like it was missing out some resolution. Again, not mentioning much, to avoid spoilers! But it’s obvious that there’s going to be a sequel.
The little mystery in the book was very interesting as well. I think that if that had been made the focal point of the book, rather than the romance between Kaia and Cesarion, the book would have had a different stance to it, and the story could have gone deeper.
The pacing and the writing in the book were both good, and kept me reading at an easy pace. Sometimes, their expressions were a bit strange though, I must say!
Overall, I enjoyed this book, even though it had a few things that bothered me. However, it is a good debut, and, hopefully, some of the loose ends presented in this first installment will be tied together in future books! :)
I’m giving this a little 3/5 feathers.
I have a question for you: If you could travel anywhere back to any time in history, where would it be and why?
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