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Return to Exile (The Hunter Chronicles #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  782 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Eleven years ago, Phineas T. Pimiscule rescued his nephew Sky Weathers in the town of Exile. Since then, Sky studied traps, puzzles, science, and the secret lore of the Hunters of Legend, believing it all a game, while his parent and uncle sacrificed to hide him. On the eve of Sky's twelfth birthday and his family's return to Exile, Phineas disappears.

To find him, Sky joi
Paperback, 512 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 6th 2011)
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D.J. Butler
Jun 22, 2011 D.J. Butler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-reader
(Full disclosure: I am a friend of the author, and have read this book in draft and in ARC form)

** Kids fight evil monsters using weapons made of garbage, save the world. **

A lot of books don't get any better than their high concept. This one does. Patten is funny, in a way that appeals to both kids and adults. He writes great action. He plots against deep and interesting backstory. He concocts elaborate and funny riddles. He crafts vivid, believable characters, even when those characters are mo
Joe Lunievicz
Jul 08, 2011 Joe Lunievicz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What came to mind for me immediately as I began this book was how unique and different the world that Patten built is. It is part Lovecraft with dark, dark, frightening monsters who are shapeshifters and tentacled, and razor sharp toothed with mouths on their heads and caps to cover them - part Solomon Kane from Robert E. Howard (the author of Conan), and all bizarre. Man these monsters with names like Whisper, Gnomen, Wargarou, Shadow Wargs, are creepy and imaginative and scary and they surroun ...more
Platte Clark
Oct 12, 2012 Platte Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was able to obtain an advance reader's copy of this book from the publisher. That being said, Return to Exile is an epic adventure, perfectly balanced between a fantastical world of monsters, traps, weapons, and a precocious boy named Sky Weathers. Full of action, humor, and an incredible cast of characters, this is the kind of book that will not only appeal to young readers, but their older siblings and parents as well. With so many fantasy derivatives out there, I found Return to Exile to be ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Abercrombie
Jul 06, 2011 Sarah Abercrombie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't actually finish this book, so it is not a "full bodied" review - more like a first impression.

This book is way overly burdened with metaphor and simile. I wished I had a red pen when I was reading it. "Traces of fading sunlight slipped through the canopy above, moving across the earth like matadors with threadbare capes teasing and taunting the night onward." You think? Another example - "The glass wall surrounded the Pimiscule manor like the arms of a street urchin clutching a loaf of
Sep 09, 2011 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, fbc-11
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did - I think the idea was better than the execution.

All of the characters, apart from Sky, were stock, stereotype characters: annoying sister, quirky uncle, mean teacher, etc and thus largely forgettable. Nearly every character also had multiple names, which made figuring out who was whom quite confusing.

The set-up for the story itself was also less than stellar. Instead of building any real suspense, the first two hundred pages are a confusing jumbl
The plot: Sky is a little boy who is being chased by monsters and by monster hunters. His family teaches him very little about monsters. They teach him very little about monster hunters. And they teach him nothing about fighting. Then they move him to a town that's known for having a lot of monsters and monster hunters. Bad stuff happens.

The characters: There were a ton of characters in this book. Way more than there needed to be. And at least half of them have nicknames, as if there weren't al
Oct 03, 2012 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a slow start. Had I not been reading it for a book club, I probably wouldn't have continued. But it does pick up and start to grab you about 200 pages in. By then I wasn't reading because I had to, I was actually looking for stolen moments to read. There were plenty of twists and battles to keep you going through the second half of the book. As far as mood/feel goes it was like a hybrid of A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter, though not as well written as either of thos ...more
Melysah Bunting
Aug 09, 2011 Melysah Bunting rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got to read "Return to Exile" (The Hunter Chronicles #1) by E.J. Patten courtesy of Simon and Schuster via Shelf Awareness. It's a young adult novel that is reminiscent of the author's literary interests. There is a lot of monsters and action. Let your imagination run wild!

Sky Weathers is a boy who loves puzzles and studies with his uncle, Phineas T. Pimiscule, about the Hunters of Legend, botany and all sorts of strange things. Sky and his family return to the city of Exile and uncover many s
Jan 02, 2014 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this book thats why i hate that i can't rate it a 3.5 cause yeah it's just like his parents well they are over protective and everyone lies to him and doesn't tell him stuff and all the riddles like no one can give a straight answer even crystal is still keeping secrets and i wish he was stronger yeah he has the hunters mark and can talk to any monster and learn secrets but i don't think he's the type to do it :/ he's just kinda pitiful at the moment even with the hunters mark and th ...more
Oct 11, 2011 Geneva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is way cool. It is very confusing, jumping from topic to topic. A warning for every one: if you don't like potty words, don't read this book. (cause in the book, people use pee to kill monsters and sometimes by accident, drink it or eat it in the crackers they have. )
Sep 26, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first when you start reading this book it's intriguing, with all of the cool creatures and Sky's fun uncle. But then when you reach the middle of the book suddenly it's like "WHAT THE HECK!" And you can't put it down! This is a really cool book by a guy from Utah. 4 1/2 stars! :)
Nov 20, 2011 Aberrant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh it was just alright. A great example of why books can be categorized as juvenile fiction. If you know what I mean.
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Mar 14, 2012 Tabitha (Pabkins) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle grade youths, harry potter fans
Recommended to Tabitha (Pabkins) by: goodreads
I won this ARC from a First Reads, Goodreads contest shortly after I started using my Goodreads account more actively. Oddly this is the same time I found out about the book blogging world. It took quite some time for the ARC to arrive – in fact it arrived just one week before the actual book was to be released. Given how fat this book is for middle-grade fiction, it took me quite some time to finish it – 20 days in fact. Now normally 500 pages wouldn’t phase me, but I was in one of my moods of ...more
An Abundance of Books
Featured at An Abundance of Books

eturn to Exile was an excellent mix of characters, tension, monsters, mayhem, and humor. While I didn't find it to be "scary" per se and some things were a bit predictable, it was a well paced read that I could not put down and read it in one sitting. Seriously, I stayed up until 3:oo a.m. to finish this book, I had to know how it ended.

Sky was a great kid, so full of heart even though the world seems to work against him. He is rescued by classmates who have take
Tracy Poff
All Sky's life, his family has been moving from place to place, never staying long enough for him to make real friends. So, his best friend is his monocle-wearing uncle Phineas, who has taught him to solve puzzles and set and elude traps, and attempted to teach him botany. He has also taught Sky more esoteric knowledge--of monsters, and how to hunt or avoid them.

Sky's parents have always insisted that monsters aren't real. Now that they are moving back to Exile, where his parents lived before he
Apr 06, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sky doesn't belong anywhere, not at home and not at school, and he has no idea why. Long nights wandering spent looking for something he cannot name have left his parents sensitive to the slightest abnormal behavior. Sky can't explain his behavior except for the 'little monster' he has in his head and the marks on his hands. But when his family returns to Exile without his Uncle Phineas and the black mark on his hand bleeds black blood, Sky knows something is very wrong, and he starts to realize ...more
Jessica Bronder
Oct 27, 2011 Jessica Bronder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally received this book from Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab but it expired before I could finish reading it. I had posted a review then got a copy of it from the Amazon Vine Program. Here is my updated review after having finished the book.

It is Sky’s twelfth birthday but it is the worst birthday ever. His uncle Phineas goes missing and he has to move to Exile. Now he feels like something is wrong. When he follows his father onto Phineas’ property, he is attacked by creatures that he
Dec 30, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sky Weathers has always liked his eccentric uncle Phineas. It was Phineas that taught Sky how to build traps and solve puzzles, and talks to him about a variety of weird creatures only Phineas seems to know about. And Phineas is generally reliable about showing up for Sky's birthday, even if he is flaky. Which is why Sky worries when Phineas doesn't show up for Sky's twelfth birthday party. Nor does he reappear later. Sky knows something bad has happened, but he has no idea how serious the probl ...more
I must say that I am glad I stuck with this past the first painful 100 pages as the story is quite good. Sky makes for an engaging main character and I think the story shows a lot of promise.

I received an ARC of this through Goodreads First Reads program, so I am hoping someone stepped in to rid the author of his tendency towards atrocious metaphors and similes. And please--let's hope someone take away this guy's thesaurus already!

A few painful samples--note that I'm using examples from later in
Jessica (Books: A true story)
Return to Exile was like Ghostbusters (with teens) meets A Series of Unfortunate Events with a tiny bit of Inception sprinkled on top. It was a pretty cool combination. Just when I thought that nothing else could go wrong, it would go all Unfortunate-Events on me and get worse. The witty humor was one of my favorite things. There are two girls that talk like Jane Austen and they were so hilarious!

I felt like there was a lot going on in the plot. There are lot of unanswered questions thrown at yo
First off I really enjoyed this book. It had a different story than what I usually read. But the bad thing was it did take about 100 pages for the story to get going and probably another 100 for it to really start making since and being fun to read. Since I received this as an ARC, one thing that I would really love to see in the book is a pronunciation guide like you see for some sci-fi and fantasy books. I had trouble with some of the characters names and the monsters.

Each of the characters ha
Reading Vacation
Jul 26, 2011 Reading Vacation rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sky is an eleven-year-old boy with a remarkable life. The thing is, Sky has no idea that he survived an epic battle when he was a baby. He doesn’t know that the puzzles and traps that fascinate him are really preparing him for the future. Once Sky turns twelve, the story unfolds and he is shocked by what he discovers. I absolutely loved learning about Sky’s background and future right along with him.

Oh my gosh, MONSTERS! All different kinds. Monsters with horns, others with tentacles, monsters t
Robin Armstrong
The hype: One of the great universal questions is “Who am I?” and it’s asked a lot during the teenage years. It’s no wonder, then, that YA books often have their main characters asking that question. Often, the answer is that the main character is special in some way: a wizard, a genius, a mutant, whatever. In Return to Exile, that question is also asked, and answered, in a different way.

Tell me more: Sky Weathers, twelve years old, has been taught about traps, puzzles, and monsters by his eccen
Gina (My Precious Blog)

Raiting: 3.5

A complex, lengthy (500+ PAGES) middle grade fantasy filled with plenty of action and battle scenes. The ideas and creative monster beasts made the story both fun and challenging. I had a difficult time keeping all the monsters straight, but I did find a helpful manual in the back which proved to be invaluable to the story line. Sky, the main character is witty, compassionate and brave. He does lack self confidence and faith in himself. His hunter friends all are uni
Mrs. Riding
After eleven years of playing games and solving puzzles with his Uncle Phineas, Sky Hunter finds that his uncle's teaching was not all just fun and games. Moving once again back to Exile, the little town where his family once lived, he and his family are thrown into the midst of monsters, the likes of which Sky had read about in the books he received from Uncle Phineas. Uncle Phineas missed Sky's twelfth birthday, so the mysteries begin when Sky starts his search for his beloved uncle, complicat ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Rayden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't you love books with an engaging plot, characters that make you giggle, and end with an enjoyable conclusion? It's for these reasons that E.J. Patten is now one of my new favorite authors. Every sentence in this book has a purpose, yet he's still able to keep the book light and fun to read. He reminds me of A.A. Milne in that they both write with a level of indifference which makes it comical. While the storyline isn't absolutely the most original, he still puts a new twist on the fairy-ta ...more
Annie Oosterwyk
I lost steam around page 200 and couldn't finish. I didn't find the main character that interesting and the plot seemed patchy. I did think the author was funny, I quoted to my daughter and laughed aloud, but it just wasn't enough. I think the story needed some more editing, I felt as if I were waiting around, rather than being sucked in. Too much time was spent with Sky's futile and unsuccessful attempts at just about everything so I ended up feeling even less sympathetic than I might have.
In a
Xyleen Qien
Sep 20, 2015 Xyleen Qien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, yesh
I've set my eyes on this particular character and knowing the (spoilers removed) CRAP I NEED ANSWERS MY HEART CANNOT TAKEEEE DX

the first hundred pages are a deep writing of sorts regarding the setting. after tht we get to pick up the adrenalin and will keep reading it until the late nights wanting to know the next page.

i havnt read anything this brilliant for (AGES) a long time and i must say: this is BRILLIANT
(even for the long first 100 pages tht i'll admit i dozed off...)

well comin
Georgia Omer

I read this for a Book Club. If that weren't the case, I would've abandoned it. This book had a VERY slow start. After appx pg. 150-200 I finally started reading with understanding.

There were too many characters that came way too fast.

Until I met the author, I wasn't sure who his targeted audience was. After reading, I had decided this was perhaps age appropriate for grades5-8. The language and the whirlwind of the fantasy world however, was much too confusing (my opinion) for younger readers.
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In April 1974, a beautiful baby boy was born at a small hospital in Mesa, Arizona. E. J. Patten (“Eric James”) was in the next crib over.

The first story he ever wrote involved a strange ad, a Laundromat, and a bowl of chili; thankfully, it was never published.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts, and a Masters in Business Administration from Brigham Young University. He currently res
More about E.J. Patten...

Other Books in the Series

The Hunter Chronicles (2 books)
  • The Legend Thief (The Hunter Chronicles #2)

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“Sometimes the hardest things to believe are the only things worth believing at al.” 40 likes
“And power without compassion is the worst kind of evil there is.” 12 likes
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