AUTHOR Jennifer Rush
PUBLICATION January 1st 2013 by Little, Brown & Co.
READ December 15, 2012
SOURCE Hachette Book Group Canada for review
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?I am admittedly not a huge fan of sci fi but I am always fascinated with stories that involve genetically modified human beings. It’s so cool to see where the author of a novel or the director of a movie can take the story line while still somehow managing to keep me believing it. In Altered we meet Anna who lives with her father and works in their basement lab alongside him. In this lab are 4 male specimens who each live in their own cell, Anna and her father run tests on the boys during the day and at night Anna sneaks down into the lab to spend time with them. On the day that the boys are set to be transferred out of the lab and their program end they escape and once Anna gets in the mix she is taken along for the ride.
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.
Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
Anna was a character that I started out liking quite a bit. She was in self-defense classes and was very independent. I liked that she held her own and didn’t just accept all the information that her father fed her about The Branch. She searched for answers and defied him quite a bit. As the novel wore on and her relationship with Sam grew I found myself liking her less and less, which was really unfortunate. She became a typical flustered girl who was completely enamored with a guy she really didn’t even know. At first I was excited at the prospect of their romance and the fact that we stepped into the story once they had known each other for years, I thought that because of that there was no way the romance would feel forced. But as the story wore on I just couldn’t grasp what they had in common or personality traits that would be endearing to one another. The romance does take the starring role in this tale, and sci fi really takes a back seat, I really wish I felt more for their relationship.
While I didn’t buy into Anna and Sam’s relationship, I did come to quite enjoy all 4 boys as characters. Sam was the alpha and he was always making the decisions and putting the other guys in their place, I believed that part of him. Cas and Trev were hilarious; Cas was so sarcastic and Trev was awkwardly sweet. Everytime one of them was in a scene I found myself chuckling at Cas’s quips or Trev’s endless bag of quotes. Nick, the brooding bad boy, was always there as the antagonist and that definitely added a need layer to the dynamic of the boys.
I have to say that I wish more time was spent exploring the 4 boys’ relationships with each other rather than on Anna and Sam’s relationship. I really think that if all 4 boys were fleshed out a bit more and we spent more time focusing on Anna’s growing friendship with all of them, rather than her budding romance with Sam, I would have been a bigger fan of the novel. But alas, that did not happen.
I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the chase throughout the story and the action sequences were awesome. The best part of the story though is the mystery throughout. While we don’t really get too much information on the alterations that the boys go through, Altered definitely still has it’s fair share of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. I was really surprised with where Rush took the story and how it all wrapped up in the end. I was left with just enough questions that I know I need to come back to read the sequel!