Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Altered ~ Jennifer Rush review

Altered (Altered #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
January 1, 2013
323 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Anna's whole life revolves around the farmhouse in which she lives. From the upstairs where she lives with her father and he home schools her to the basement where he works and she assists. The basement where the boys are kept. Four genetically altered boys who've 'lived' in cells in Anna's basement for the last four years are her father's work.

They're his latest project for the top secret Branch. Anna doesn't understand fully what the Branch is or what the boys have been altered for, what they're being studied for - but she trusts it because she trusts her father. Even if she does think, at times, of letting the boys escape.

When the Branch comes to move the boys from the farmhouse an escape is staged and Anna ends up on the run with them. After agents are very purposefully killed during the escape, Anna finds herself unsure of who to trust. Four boys who don't have any memory of who they were before the time at Anna's house and a girl discovering new truths, they'll have to work quickly if they want to even stay alive.

Altered is a very fast paced read with a plot that pulls you in very quickly. I loved that it was as fast paced as it was because the beginning, likely, would have put me off if it had been a slower, more drawn out telling. Anna has lived with four teenage -- or at least teenage looking -- boys in cells in her basement for four years. Four years. With human beings in cells. In her basement.

That being just sort of, "Oh well, the Branch must have some nice, altruistic end result in mind," wasn't enough to quite work for me. Obviously, though, if she'd been running around telling the town or trying to break them out, the book wouldn't have happened.

The character's and the fact that I'm not actually sure I really liked (well not liked because I don't have to like, but . . . I"m not sure they worked) them left me just the tiniest bit confused with this book. Because I really liked it.

Even as a small part of me hoped for more from the characters -- Anna mostly, but some insight into some of the others, if possible -- the plot was so engrossing that I didn't care that much.

Sam and Anna were really the main characters with Cas, Trev and Nick as more supporting, secondary characters and yet they had distinct enough roles, especially in Anna's life, that it was easy to keep clear who was who. (There are a lot of Supernatural names going on in this book, no?)

The story, from the memory loss, to the mysterious corporation, even how desperate they are to find/capture.return the boys, sets things up for some dramatic revelations. While some of those I was hoping for didn't quite materialize -- again, that was my character loving self wanting more character background -- we there were some really great twists.

The plot all came together like a great puzzle, with each step leading to a possible next step if only they know how and where to look. All with the possibility of the Branch finding them at any moment.

I really enjoyed how everything came together in Altered and I'm anxious to see, after everything that was unveiled in the first book, what happens in Erased out in January.

Forged a prequel to Altered and Erased - but one of those prequels that's sort of spoilery to the first book so it should really be read after the first book if you don't like spoilers - was released yesterday. (At least based on the synopsis.)

Rating: 8/10

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