Saturday, 12 January 2013

Review: Altered by Jennifer Rush

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

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.

Altered is probably going to end up being one of my favourite 2013 debuts. I loved everything about it! I haven't read a lot of amazing sci-fi novels, but Altered is up there among my favourites. It's so original - I've really never read anything like it before. I loved the concept, the action, the mystery, and of course, the romance.

Anna has four genetically altered boys living in her basement. Totally normal. Anyway, she helps her dad with conducting tests on them, and also keeps the boys company. In a way, she's friends with them. When an escape attempt forces her to run for her life along with the boys, she discovers just how different they are.

Anna is your average YA heroine - she's really kind, friendly, brave, and she's got her head on straight. She has a clear idea of what's right and what's wrong, and a lot of the decisions she has to make are, unfortunately, not morally right. She knows that she has no choice, though, and she's determined to outrun the Branch. Anna will do whatever it takes to make sure the boys - her boys - are free. Of course, the fact that she's in love with one of them does make her a little biased on the subject. But she cares deeply for all of them. Even Nick, who she's never gotten along with. Anna is also extremely wise for her age. She's been through hell over the course of the book, but her mind works wonders, and without her, none of them would have gotten anywhere. There's this one quote that stood out to me in the book. I've never thought of hope in that way, and it gave me a different perspective.

That’s what hope was. Clinging to something you weren’t sure would ever be yours. But you had to hold on anyway, because without it, what was the point?

Now we come to the boys. Sam is the leader of the four - the alpha. This was programmed into him during the alterations, but I think he was originally good at being a leader. He's basically a superhuman, just like the other three boys. Incredible speed and strength, and each boy has one thing that they're better at than the others. Sam is the strongest out of all of them. He's the one they turn to for decision-making, and he's the one that reassures them when they're uncertain. I was actually shocked by some of the actions Sam made, but in hindsight I agree that they were necessary. He's still really wild, though Anna manages to tame him slightly by the end. The really cool thing about the boys is that they're all connected. And Same can feel what the others are feeling, but he also has this strong desire to protect them, since he's the leader. Sam is the most ambiguous one, in my opinion. The other three are fairly easy to categorize, but not Sam. I spend ages trying to figure him out, but I didn't get anywhere. Hopefully Jennifer will shed some light on his character in the sequel!

Cas is probably my favourite from the four guys. He's the funny one - he can find humour in anything. As for powers, he has the best motor skills out of the four. Oh, and he can also eat humongous amounts of food without ever feeling full. Cas apparently looks the youngest, and he acts like it too. In a word, he's adorable!

Nick is the classic broody bad boy. He's really dispassionate throughout the book, and is actually quite hostile towards Anna. He doesn't trust her, and he shows it. The reason he hates Anna is because she reminds him of the lab and everything he hated about it. He eases up around her later, though. I didn't really like Nick in the beginning, but after I found out about his past, I grew really sympathetic towards him. I think he's a lot better near the end of the novel, and hopefully he'll come around in the next book. He's also incredibly strong, and his endurance surpasses that of the other boys.

Trev is the intellectual in the group. He's got a photographic memory, and he helped the guys in their research by memorizing all the data they accumulated. Trev is really good friends with Anna from the beginning, and I think she trusts him the most. He even told Anna that he would study English literature if he could go to college. Trev spews random literature quotes at people during normal conversations. Some are helpful, some aren't. Anna loves them, though, because they're a part of Trev, and he's really passionate about them.

The mystery element in Altered was great! None of it was predictable. Some of the plot twists even left me reeling with shock. The code-breaking was fun to read about - it reminded me of the old mystery/crime novels I used to read. The action left nothing lacking, and I loved the fast pace. When I read about teens on the run, there's never a boring moment. The same goes for Altered. I finished this book in a day, and thank goodness there wasn't a cliffhanger. Because I don't think I would have been able to handle it.

So in case you haven't realized already, I loved, loved, LOVED Altered! I honestly can't wait another whole year for the sequel... Why do you do this to me, Jennifer? This book was like a roller-coaster with all its twists and turns. It's not too much to keep up with, though, and I liked that. Some books just go incredibly fast and at the end you're like 'wait, what just happened?' I didn't feel that with Altered, because it was very well paced. I honestly feel like re-reading this all over again, it was that good! Seriously, if you like sci-fi or paranormal books, you'll absolutely love this one.

Rating: 5/5


  1. I am dying to read Altered and after seeing your 5 star review (which is simply great!), I cannot wait any longer! I hope to read this one soon. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! And it's already your 2013 fav debut! How much better can that get, eh? :D

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

    1. Thanks so much! I can't wait for you to read it :D
      Haha yeah, I think it will stay at the top even at the end of the year!

  2. Oh my God, this sounds really good! At first, I was a bit turned off by the cover (I thought it was another book about fallen angels), but now that I've read your review, the premise really sucked me in :)

    Lovely review as always, Richa!

    Sel @ Bookcase to Heaven™

    1. Ahh thank you so much, Sel! You should definitely try it out :)

  3. This sounds amazingly good! I like how the boys aren't one-dimensional characters, and the premise is pretty much one-of-a-kind as well. Great review, Richa! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant


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