Rachelle Dekker’s “The Returning” is a powerful and lovely conclusion to her Seer series. Taking place in 2278, 20 years after “The Calling,” this third and final installment follows the story of Elise, the daughter of Carrington and Remko and who had been kidnapped as an infant and raised in Authority City.
“The Returning” tells the story of how Elise, along with The Seven, seven young members of the Seers each equipped with a special gift, will bring back the light and an Awakening to Authority City and all those who had been turned into emotionless, obedient beings by the city’s Genesis Serum.
As Elise and the small group of seven battle the effects of Scientist Roth Reynard’s serum, and President Jesse Cropper’s inner battle between the evil dwelling within him and his love for Elise, the youngsters must learn to trust in the Father and the power of His light.
“The Returning” is an incredible love story, with many amazing themes and lessons. It deals with identity, and knowing the truth of your identity and not allowing it to be replaced by the illusion of your mistakes; love and its power, and that the truest form of love sometimes is letting go; choosing faith over fear, and belief over doubt; reacting from our souls; and the light is greater than anything we face. Remembering is a huge theme to “The Returning” — remembering who we are, remembering who is within us, and remembering from where our power comes.
As Elise says to Kane, her cousin and one of The Seven, “Life is a cycle of remembering and forgetting. The Father is in all and with all, and He tells me I am the light of the world. So if I believe His words are true and that we are all the same, created equal, and that I am the light of the world, then you must be too.”
Aaron, who has been a teacher figure to the Seers since the beginning, is representative of Jesus, as he leads them toward the Father’s teachings, love and power. Wind is also a major theme throughout the book, indicative of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
“The Returning,” and the Seer series in whole, is an amazing allegory of the gospel story — of God’s love and sacrifice for us, and His desire to draw us all in to Him and His love.
Rachelle Dekker has hit another home run with the Seer series’ finale. I will caution, though, that this book is definitely not a standalone. I’d highly recommend you read “The Choosing” and “The Calling” first. I’m looking forward to what Ms. Dekker brings to us next.
Five stars out of five.
Tyndale House Publishers provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
“The Returning” (Seer series, #3) by Rachelle Dekke
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair.
1. Set the scene for The Returning. What has happened since The Calling ended?
Well, it’s been nearly 20 years, and the world has changed. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the first two, so I’ll just say the world is very different and much more dangerous than it once was. But something is brewing under the surface. Change is coming, and people know it.
2. What themes are explored in this book?
Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.
3. How have Carrington and Remko developed as characters throughout this series?
Well, we meet them as young adults, just out of their teen years, and we find them middle-aged in book three. So we’ve journeyed quite a bit of life with them. They have grown and changed, as people do, and even in this last novel they struggle with remembering their true identities. I believe life is always stretching us and showing us different ways to love, so their growth reflects that.
4. The Returning focuses on Carrington and Remko’s daughter Elise. Tell us more about Elise’s character and her growth throughout the book.
Elise starts the book in a pretty dark place. She grew up without parents, believing she was abandoned, only to discover there’s an entire world that has been kept from her. Her journey can be divided into two parts, in my opinion: first, learning who she really is; and second, learning how to live that out. It’s the same journey we all take, and I believe that makes her pretty relatable.
5. You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith, and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives?
Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are. Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.
6. Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he?
I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.
7. The theme of identity is explored in all three Seer books. How does forgiveness relate to identity?
For me, forgiveness is more about the one who feels wronged than the one who committed the wrong. What if, for a moment, you believed that nothing could harm you? That you, as a believer, are seated at the Father’s table and standing with him? Can anything harm the Father? If you believe no, then can anything harm you—the true you, the true spirited self? So then, forgiveness becomes more about letting go of false belief and stepping into the true identity that the Father gave to you. I know it’s radical, but belief like that could change the world, don’t you think?
8. How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?
I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.