on May 7, 2012
With Borderlands 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines on their way, Gearbox Chief Creative Champion Mikey Neumann is a busy guy. Even with these two major projects, he has been writing a novel called The Returners, Part One made recently available on eBook through Amazon, or on his website bozpublishing.com. Neumann regularly tweets the progress of the novel, which he describes as "almost crowd-sourcing the editing process".
The Returners is a fast paced science fiction work of art. The story begins following Alex Heaton and Chloe Freimont, a seemingly normal young couple, until a sudden gunfight sends them running. It turns out Alex and Chloe aren't who they claim to be, and they have been found out. Alex is actually Alexander the Great, while Chloe is Joan of Arc, and they are among a group of Returners who have returned for a second life. Packed with historical references, fantastic action sequences and great humor, Neumann brings to life characters most don't think of outside of their history class.
With everything going at such a quick pace, there are points where it seems a little rushed. There are some mind boggling bits towards the end of Part One (which, for obvious reasons I cannot tell you, but you'll understand when you read it) but in knowing that is only the first part of an ongoing series, I'm able to brush it off. Its fairly well rounded, although some of the characters, from my point of view of Janey, need more of a backstory with the Returners. You find out rather quickly that she had grown up with one of the characters, but at the same time, not knowing can add to it. Its a double edge sword when you play too much with the history of characters, given that the Returners are originally someone else, you really can't mess around too much.
Something to keep in mind when reading this is that it is Part One. I read it during the development (so, I was impatiently waiting for each chapter) so if there are questions, know that there is plenty of time for questions to be answered. The story is solid, not held down with a lot of details. I tend to become bored quickly with stories that are heavily detailed, but with The Returners I never felt that need to skip over sections because of pointless details.
I really enjoyed what I have read so far of The Returners, and I'm eagerly awaiting Season Two!
on May 7, 2012
I've followed Mr. Neumann's serial novel since about the time the 3rd chapter came out, and I've been seriously impressed with the vast amount of progress he's made since then. The word play Neumann presents in The Returners is very casual and often times quite amusing, but the non-stop action that crescendos the entire time keeps this from just being a novel to laugh at. It becomes a novel to be immersed in.
<Minor Spoilers ahead>
We learn early on that the Returners are a group of people from the past that have been reborn into modern times over the past century or so. Neumann has chosen many characters from history that we all know and love, but he presents them into the story line in unconventional ways - some characters have a profession you wouldn't have normally guessed, and others are much older or younger than the times we most associate with their greatness, and this lends to the originality of the story and the fondness the reader will have for certain Returners.
The novel, thus far, already has a huge build up, several major reveals, and leaves open quite a few questions that will leave the reader clamoring for more. The exciting part about that is the way Neumann has offered the book serially on his webpage before releasing it as a digital book here. I followed his updates on Twitter that let me know when his next chapter was up, and would dive right back in where I left off as soon as I got a chance. Even though I've had the chance to read it for free, the ability to have the eReader version for offline viewing has definitely peaked my interest.
I highly recommend you pick up this book - it's an amazingly fast read because of how much you'll love the story and the characters you already know.
I look forward to seeing more of The Returners as well as anything else Mr. Neumann produces.
on January 4, 2013
I'm not usually prone to reviewing things I read or watch, but Mikey Neumann has quickly become one of my favorite writers. I'm currently enjoying Borderlands 2 every chance I get and am eagerly awaiting Colonial Marines. As for the Returners Pt.1, excellent despite occasional grammerical and spelling snafu's, which I understand Mikey himself (I gladly follow him on Twitter @mikeyface) will have all but fixed with the omnibus for Season 1 of The Returners. Just in case Mikey reads these reviews, I would just like to say thank you. In order to thank you further I have not only purchased all three parts of The Returners, I have also purchased the omnibus, and when the physical copy finally becomes available I will buy that too. Your awesome, you deserve it and I can't wait to start reading season 2. Please read his stuff, it's amazeballs.
on May 12, 2012
The Returners is a fast read both because it's short and impossible to put down. From the first chapter, you are drawn into the explosive relationship between Alex and Chloe and that trend continues as Mikey does a great job of quickly establishing solid connections between all the characters he introduces.
Any book that makes a humorous reference to Strunk and White within the first few pages is bound to be a winner. Chuckle worthy quips and biting retorts pepper the dialogue but don't overpower the solid development of the story line. The story has a fair amount of fast paced action which adds an exciting element.
Bottom line - buy this book, read it, then impatiently wait for part two.
on May 7, 2012
I've read the first 14 chapters of this book on "BOZ." Publishing and plan on buying this on payday. I have to say it is amazing. Incredible. Awesome. And addictive. Mikey Neumann has me utterly enthralled with every turn of the page. I see great things coming from him in the future and it all starts here.
on August 28, 2012
The way this book has been released, in the older form of serials, means that each chapter is a tightly paced story in and of itself. This results in a book with really intense pacing that doesn't go short on thrills. It's one of the most fun reads I've had in a while.
on May 13, 2012
This book series is absolutely phenomenal. I hardly have the time to read anymore, as I work nearly 12 hour days, but there is something about this series that makes me willing to fore-go my regular sleep schedule just to read one more chapter. That's how this series is for me, "Just one more chapter". As anyone can tell you, that's the sign of a wonderful book.
I highly recommend this book and await the day when I'll be able to place it on my shelves next to the likes of Hemingway, Gibson, and Gaiman.
on June 10, 2012
If you like fast paced action & suspense with a dash of history, this is totally for you. Trust me. I can't wait for the next section to come out! My only complaint? Mr. Neumann needs to write faster (though I understand with BL2 & A:CM coming out that make take up some of his time).
on July 26, 2012
Even though Mikey Neumann's "The Returners" is free on his website [...], I wanted to make sure he got something from me reading it, so I bought Season One Part One gladly.
"The Returners" tells the story of Alex and Chloe, oh yeah, they happen to be reincarnated versions of Alexander the Great and Joan of Arc. It only gets crazier from there. This is a fast-paced serialized novel that follows Alex and a bunch of other Returners, historical figures who have been reincarnated through an unknown process and for unknown reasons. Not only do they have to handle all the baggage that comes with something like being Albert Einstein stuck in a 13 year old's body, but somebody out there is trying to kill them.
Because this novel is serialized and Neumann puts chapters up on his website almost daily, the pace is fast--sometimes a little too fast. At times, I wish the plot would have slowed down so I could see more of what's going on. There's something to be said for not revealing everything to the reader, but towards the end of Season One Part One, I felt like I had just a couple too many questions. However, it's clear that Neumann isn't afraid to take this potentially complicated story into even more complicated, twisty, fun places.
This Kindle edition was formatted nicely, but there were several grammatical mistakes throughout, though most of them were concentrated in the opening chapters. You can see Neumann's writing getting stronger as the book goes on, as he grows more comfortable with the characters and the plot. There was nothing so egregious that it made me stop reading, but they were noticeable.
Small flaws with grammar and moving too quickly through parts that could use some more exposition aside, it looks like "The Returners" is shaping up to be an exciting sci-fi adventure. Personally, I can't wait to dive into Part Two of Season One.
on December 28, 2012
Great pacing, easy to read in bursts for those of us who don't just have time to sit down and slowly burn through a book. I especially like that there's no sitting-around-for-two-dozen-pages here, which is exactly what I want in modern fiction. And if shorter works aren't your thing, you can now get all three books in the season as a collection - The Returners: Season One Omnibus.