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The First

(The Returned 0.5)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,335 ratings  ·  172 reviews
In Jason Mott's haunting and unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, an impossible miracle is occurring all across the globe. Read how it all begins in this short story, The First.

It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on… Until Edmund mysteri
Kindle Edition, 26 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published May 8th 2013)
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Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those that want a glimpse of The Returned
Not bad for a free story and sets things up for the full novel. I see no reason not to check it out now if you're at all curious about this author's debut. Keep in mind though that this doesn't paint the complete picture of the entire first novel, it's more similar to the vignettes that are scattered throughout the main book. So, if you didn't like this novella or think it's lacking something, that's because it is: the rest of the surrounding story.

This is a free short prequel on Amazon that
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

A man comes back from the dead a year after his funeral. His fiancée decides to find where the government keeps him.
People are scared and confused (at least in the USA). Elsewhere in the world, the uneducated savages kill their own returned.
It's possible I wasn't in the mood so take this with a grain of salt. The idea is good enough.
I have not read The Returned, so I have no idea what that book is like. I picked this (and two other) audiobooks up for free from Audible because I like having something quick and short to listen to while I clean or run errands etc.

So, coming into this story, I didn't know what to expect - horror, most likely - but I was surprised at how... mundane it was. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, though. I actually like when an author can show the mundane aspects of life and make me believe
Initial reaction: Quick review to come. Probably the reason why I enjoyed this as much as I did was because I read the audio version. It is a short story and snippet of Mott's debut novel "The Returned", but I thought it was a very good lead-in story, and I was drawn to it by the cast of characters. Not quite as intimate as I would've liked, but decent for this brief read.

Full review:

Quick review for a quick read. "The First" is a short story introduction to Jason Mott's "The Returned." I though
Paul E. Morph
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Would you listen to The First again? Why?
I wouldn't listen to this short story on its own again but if I was going to listen to 'The Returned' again, I would listen to the three prequel short stories (of which this is the first) again, too.

Who was your favorite character and why?
My favourite character was probably Edmund Blythe because he seemed like a really nice guy coping as well as could be expected in completely unprecedented circumstances.

What about Victor Bevine’s performance did you like
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having already finished reading the book "The Returned", I found out about this short story trilogy. So I went back and read this which is intended to be read as an introduction to the book. It also contains a preview of the novel. In the first chapter of "The Returned" Edmund Blithe is mentioned in one sentence as being the very first reported Returned. This is his story. It is a story of young love, the sadness of fresh grief and the feelings of starting to accept a loved one's death after a y ...more


The First is the first (pardon the redundancy) of several prequels to Mott's novel The Returned .
It tells us about the first returned, Edmund, who had died 1 year prior, before he and his fiancée Emily got a chance to get married. It is a short account of how the two of them, as well as the rest of the world, react to such an impossibility.


For the most part, I enjoyed listening to The First. The narrator was pretty good; he set a very fast
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a super short story (a couple dozen pages, at most) that served as one of two prequels to Mott’s THE RETURNED, a book I haven’t read yet but have added it to my Want this because these little teaser stories certainly did their jobs in hooking me in.

THE FIRST is just a glimpse into the world that Mott created, one where the dead are coming back to life, and this particular story is centered around Edmund, the first guy to rise from the dead. Except he doesn’t know that he’s been dead for
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.

Realistic portrayals of the bureaucratic response to an unexplainable event and the emotional turmoil experienced if you were to find out a dead loved one was in fact alive, drew me in as the scene was set for the rest of the series.

However, upon finishing, I was left feeling a mild mixture of indifference and curiosity, reminding me of the way short stories in anthologies are written; leaving what comes next, or reasons for what takes place, up to the
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Read all my reviews on

Some time ago I read The Returned which features an interesting story on how people respond when their deceased family and friends return from the dead. Not as zombies, but they just are there again. Especially that idea I found intriguing.

The First is the first of three prequel short stories that belong with that novel, featuring the story of one of the returned each. In The First the story of the very first of the Returned is told, wh
This didn't suck me in like I expected it to.

None of the characters actually get to feel or process the emotions a return of a lost loved one will imaginably bring up. I'm not blaming the third person limited voice--that bit I actually liked--rather than the writing itself. It's the telling rather than showing and a terrible distance to the characters who are going through this upheaval.

It's a lukewarm first glimpse into the world of The Returned, but luckily the preview of the actual novel is
Jordan Summers
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very different kind of story. I have to say that I really liked the premise a LOT! Basically people begin returning from the dead. They don't realize that they've been dead, so they freak a lot of living people out. They don't remember their deaths, only everything leading up to them. Like I said, interesting. :) It has a melancholy mood to it, so if you're feeling down this might not be the best book to pick up.
Carolyn F.
Short story

It's hard to categorize this story. It's a romance, with a kind-of ghost so does that make it a paranormal romance? However, the ghost isn't really a ghost.

Whatever it is, it was wonderful. I'm planning on reading the other 2 prequels I have and start the rest (beginning?) of the series.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Capisco che sia solo una novella, ma un po' di world building non sarebbe male.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A number of years ago, my husband and I watched a series on TV called The Returned and enjoyed it quite a bit. In fact, we were sad when it was cancelled. Much to my surprise, at such a late date, I realized that it was based on a book (I should have known). In addition I had the first 3 prequels on my Kindle...which also leads me to believe that I knew there was a book and just forgot). "The First" is the first prequel. Short and to the point, it describes the original "return" to the reader an ...more
Amanda Wells
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Quick short story - intriguing, and I felt for the characters. I might pick up The Returned in the future to see how this premise plays out.
Any Length
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just a novella. Short story more like to prepare us for "the Returned".
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, quick and easy to read novella.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primo prequel,molto breve, di The Returned: mi ha abbastanza incuriosito.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed The Returned, check out these three prequels. Quick reads. They offer a little more background to the story.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, e-book, 2014
The Returned was a lyrical novel of past and present, life and death, and pain and remembrance. It wasn't a particularly great novel, but it told a pleasant story about death while maintaining a very positive outlook. It's a book about people suddenly returning from the dead -- no zombies or rot here; the people just show up alive like no time has passed, without much of an understanding of what's happened to them -- and just before its release, the author and publisher released a series of e-sh ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it
The First is one of three short story prequels to Jason Mott's debut novel The Returned, these stories are currently all available for free on Amazon and other ebook stores (I don't know if this will change in the future) and are a nice introduction to the world that the author has created. The novel already has a lot of hype surrounding it and has even been picked up by Brad Pitt's production company to be turned into a TV series so I was very curious to try these prequels.

In this story Emily h
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
This short story is one of three prequels to the upcoming novel The Returned. I got this as a free download from the Kindle bookstore.

The basic premise of the book, this story, and the upcoming television series is that people are mysteriously returning from the dead as if nothing has happened. However, life has gone on for their family and friends, and no one knows what to make of the returned.

In this story, the first known of "The Returned," Edmund, shows up at work a year after his death from
Dec 01, 2013 added it
Shelves: ebook
* Attention contains minor spoilers *

I don’t feel I can give a justified rating here, as these are not really short-stories in a classic sense, they are merely longer vignettes, focusing on stories of love and loss, set around the events in Jason Mott’s The Returned, a novel in which the deceased suddenly, inexplicably return.

“The First” is the tale of Edmund Blithe, the first person to return one year after having died from a tragic accident, shortly after having proposed to his girlfriend.
Colleen Turner
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having really enjoyed The Returned last year I was excited to see these short story prequels come out. In The First, we get to see how it all began with the return of Edmund Blithe and how this mysterious occurrence not only effects him but his fiancé and the rest of the world as they try to navigate through this unusual, frightening and exciting miracle.

It has been about a year since Emily's fiancé, Edmund Blithe, was hit by a bus and died. Edmund had proposed the day before he died and it has
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
Review Taken from The Pewter Wolf

The First is the first prequel to the novel The Returned by Jason Mott (which should be out in September). And The Returned has already got a bit of hype around it. Brad Pitt's production company won a bidding war to turn it into a TV show and ABC has asked for a pilot (the show will be called Resurrection). So don't get confused over it with The Returned, Channel 4's french zombie thriller.

The First follows Emily. It's been a year since her fiancee Edmund died i
**✿❀  Maki ❀✿**
The First is a novella of The Returned, and as the title would suggest, the story is about the first of the Returned.

This short story, as well as the other two stories written in this mini-trilogy, take a look at the various ways people cope with death. That isn't me reading anything into the meaning of the stories, or making an interpretation. There's a preface that explains the purpose and meaning behind the series of prequels.

The story is supposed to be a more in-depth account of the first pe
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The forward to this book is so compelling that I knew I would read the other books in this series even before I started the first chapter simply because of the author's comments. I want to share excerpts from Jason Mott's comments about his motivation. " This story is born out of my novel, The Returned, about a global event in which long-deceased loved ones have begun returning from the dead.....We all have many methods and mechanisms help us conquer the silence left behind by the passing ...more
The First is a prequel to the soon-to-be-released The Returned, in which people's deceased loved ones are returning from beyond.

A well-written prequel is a marvellous marketing tool for the book to come. In The First, Edmund Blithe is the first to return, a year since he was killed in a bus accident and with no knowledge of his passing. He turns up to work early and is surprised that someone seems to have taken over his cubicle. As his co-workers start to arrive they are surprised, horrified and
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novella is so sweet! It follows Edmund Blithe, who blithely turns up to work, alive and well, exactly a year after his death. Chaos ensues, and soon he's being questioned by government officials and hounded by the media. But he has no answers - he can't even remember being dead. According to his memory, he proposed to his girlfriend, Emily, a few days ago, and all he wants to do is see her again.

Emily has spent the last year trying to forget the man who died the day after he proposed to her
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Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Week ...more

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