Return to Maren by Katherine Barger ~ Book Review

November 15, 2022


About the Book 

Book: Return to Maren
Author: Katherine Barger
Genre: Young Adult Christian Dystopian
Series: Exiled Trilogy, Book 3
Release Date: October 3, 2022
Publisher: Anaiah Press

The exiles escaped from Burgus—the most notorious prison in America—and fled to the safety of Fortune’s Fall. But Nyssa Ardelone stayed behind with the hopes that she can convince the president that the exiles mean him no harm—despite his prophetic dreams that have convinced him otherwise. With a fake dream implanted into his dream recorder, Nyssa’s confident she can make him believe that his survival is conditional on the exiles’ safe return to Maren. But the task proves harder than she anticipated when she discovers the dream has sound in it, something that’s never happened in any previous prophetic dream. Suspicious, the president becomes more unpredictable than ever before, and if Nyssa can’t figure out why the dream has sound, reuniting with her family and friends in Maren might prove impossible.

With the help of an unexpected friend, Nyssa uncovers the truth behind the sound as well as long-buried secrets about the president’s past, a past that the president will do anything to keep hidden, including the total annihilation of the exiles. To protect the exiles and ensure their safe return to Maren, Nyssa will confront the president one final time, and its outcome will either give her everything she ever wanted, or destroy everyone she loves.

My Thoughts 

I have been awaiting for this book for what seems like forever. Katherine Barger definitely captured from her very first book as we journeyed with Nyssa and every time she left me in a cliffhanger and wanting more. It was sad to turn the last page and realize this was the end to this wonderful trilogy. You will definitely want to read this series from the very beginning so don't pick this book thinking you will figure it out. You won't. The story truly unfolds in each book.

One of the main things I enjoyed in this series is the Biblical parallels that Katherine instills within the storyline. This one is inspired by the return of the Jews to Jerusalem which we see in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. While this story is not going to parallel specific moments you can tell this is where the inspiration comes from. 

I am not going to divulge too much on this story as I don't want to give anything away, especially if you haven't read the previous books but I will say that there is some twists I didn't see coming. There is some romance but it is very light. The only thing I was hoping to see a little bit more resolution on was Nyssa's faith. She still continues to waver and doubt throughout this story. While I think it was very realistic way to do this and will in no doubt be encouraging and relatable to new Christians being that this is the last book I was hoping for more development in this area. This is in no way a negative to the author, like I said I think she did a splendid job at making relatable. 

Overall I really enjoyed this story and I am going to miss being in this fictional world with these characters. I for one can't wait to see what else this author comes up with!  is a perfect read for young adults and even middle schoolers that like the dystopian genre. 

My Rating: 4 Stars/ Really Liked it

I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

About the Author

Katherine Barger writes stories about characters of faith in a world where faith is challenged. When she’s not wrangling kids alongside her forever-forbearing husband, she’s writing, eating Mexican food, or snuggling with her family’s two rescue pets: a dog named Queen Elsa and a cat named Princess Jasmine.

Katherine loves hearing from readers! You can contact her at, or on Facebook or Instagram.

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