(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on October 27th 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
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.
I had my eye on Return Once More by Trisha Leigh way back when she was calling it The Historians so OF COURSE the first moment I saw this up on NetGalley I was going to request this. Not only did I love Leigh’s First Year series so I know her writing style is right up my alley, but for real…History and time travel – it’s like she asked me what my favorite books include and decided to write this story just for me. As always, I am going to try to do this review spoiler free…don’t hate me if I don’t answer all the questions and leave you wanting to know more.
This book leads off by bringing us along to observe the death of Julius Caesar right alongside the Historians. I loved how Leigh pulled me right into this world where there is a look but don’t touch mentality. Here they are, faced with the death of a very influential leader and as Historians, they are not allowed to do anything but: “Research. Record. Reflect.” Not only can I see that as being very frustrating but if the event has something to do with you, would you be able to step back and allow something horrible to happen without a second thought? Something to think about.
Kaia is the main character and she is living on Sanchi, a planet within the solar system Genesis, because Earth Before has environmental concerns and other issues that prompted the leaders to relocate. Now the role of the Historians is to make sure the same issues that plagued Earth Before don’t happen again. Kaia is also training to be a Historian and since the age of ten, has been living at the Historian Academy with her six classmates. As her birthday comes around, one of the questions Kaia has to ask is whether she would like to know the name of her True Companion – the one person (born or unborn) who was made to love her. I mention this because this plays a fairly large role in the story but I will come back to this.
Kaia is an interesting character and I liked her. She isn’t afraid to step outside the rules to get what she wants. With that said, she never does anything with the intention of hurting someone but because of her actions, there is collateral damage. She definitely cares about her people (friends and family) but she isn’t afraid to push the envelope when it comes to the dictations of the Elders.
Kaia has some pretty supportive friends in Analeigh and Sarah. Analeigh especially supports Kaia throughout the story and really steps in to help her out whenever she is in a pinch or just plain needs a friend. In addition to them, their group of friends includes Sarah’s True Companion, Oz. The other character who plays a fairly important role is Kaia’s brother Jonah. The thing to note about Jonah is that he has been on the run for the last three years and we don’t really find out what he has going on until later on in the story. The thing we do know is that he is definitely wanted by the Elders and has some information that would definitely be useful for Kaia to know.
One thing I will mention here is that Leigh does a great job of creating this world that Kaia lives in. Not only are the descriptions of the places Kaia visits detailed, but the academy where she lives and the people and things she encounters along the way are very well done. Adding the science fiction to the story was a great way to show how Kaia and the people of Sanchi have the ability to transport to different eras as well as use tattoos to communicate, translate language, and pay for things.
So of course I am going to spend a bit of time talking about the boys in this book. Remember how I mentioned that Kaia has the option to find out who her True Companion is…well she decides she wants to know who it is and once she does, she makes the decision to learn more about him. Now…I don’t want to say too much here but Kaia’s True Companion is definitely swoony and although we only get snippets of him, I really found myself liking him more and more. He is absolutely presented with something unbelievable and he never really questions Kaia about who she is and he has to help her realize what the right decision is and I loved his integrity and ability to listen without reacting negatively.
Oz is a bit of a mystery through most of the book. I knew something was up with him and there were points of the story where it was clear he was hiding things from everyone. There were also points where I wanted to smack him and others where I was glad for his reaction and/or quick thinking. I won’t say too much more about Oz but I am definitely curious to see what happens next for him.
So it is probably pretty obvious that I really enjoyed this book but I will say it…Trisha Leigh knows how to write a fantastic story. She blends in a bit of history, some sci-fi, and wonderful world building to create something that had me turning the pages quickly just to find out what happens next for everyone. The only bad thing about reading this book so quickly is that I finished it soooo quickly. I am definitely looking forward to the next book of this series (is it too soon to ask when it comes out??) and trust me people, grab this one when you can!
Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy!