Monday, May 20, 2013

Altered by Jennifer Rush

For years Anna has helped her father study the young men who live in the lab in their basement.  At first she snuck into the lab, a secret act of rebellion to see what was down there, but once she was caught she became his assistant.  It is a consistent life, during the day she records the results of the tests and putters about through family life with her dad - but at night she spends time with the boys getting to know them as individuals.  There is Cas who is always hungry, always ready to try one of the recipes her mother wrote down in her journal.  There is Trev who is good natured and the closest thing she has to a friend, who chats with her and makes her feel connected.  There is also Nick, who seems to have a cold detachment from Anna, a cold detachment that appears as though it could easily turn to hate.  And finally there is Sam, the member of the group that Anna feels a real connection to, the person that seems to affect her like no one else.

Anna knows that the boys are part of some experiment for Branch, but she has no idea what she is really working with.  When the day comes for the boys to be taken away, Anna witnesses a fierce escape, and finds herself on the run with them when her father begs Sam to take her with them.  It is a scary new world for Anna, one where she is no longer protected by glass and walls, the boys are all around her, and she doesn't know what to believe and who to trust.  When they begin to unravel the mystery of who they were before, Anna and Sam come to realise that there is more going on than they thought - with themselves, with the boys, and with Branch.

Altered is a fast paced and absorbing read, right from the start you connect with Anna and her world, which is just as well as you are dragged at breakneck speed through an action thriller adventure as Sam races against time to solve the mystery of who they are and what Branch really wants with them,  At times it is not clear what genre this book belongs to, but that doesn't matter as the text is well written with strong characters that each carry part of the story, and there are little twists and turns that keep you guessing about what is coming next. 

It was a little difficult to tell if this was the first book in a series or not, the ending is satisfying and concluding, but there is room for the story to continue.  The trend in publishing seems to have shifted from vampires and werewolves, then to dystopian futures, and now there seems to be a trend to have books that involve genetics and advanced applications of science - and Altered is one of the better books from the latest trend.  The characters are great and are easy to connect to, the pace is carefully controlled, and the plot has been well thought out.  I thoroughly enjoyed Altered and hope that this is not the only book we have from Rush - a great debut novel.

If you like this book then try:
  • Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • The program by Suzanne Young
  • Adaptation by Melinda Lo
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • Agent 21 by Chris Ryan
  • Revived by Cat Patrick
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Virals by Kathy Reichs
  • Unremembered by Jessica Brody
  • When we wake by Karen Healey

Reviewed by Brilla

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