Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: Altered by Gennifer Albin (ARC)

Altered by Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: October 29th, 2013

Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.
But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.
In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from a giveaway held by the publishing company. This does not affect my thoughts on the book.
Reviewer's Note: I would also just like to add that it's been a while since I finished the book, and I'm terrible at remembering books and their plots, characters, etc, so bear with me.

I was so beyond excited to receive an ARC of Altered after being blown away by Crewel, the first book. I had high expectations, and while some of them were met, this fell short in many aspects. (Also, as a note, I now have both the ARC and a final copy, but since I read the ARC, I'm listing it as such.)

Altered picks up right after Crewel ended, with Adelice, Eric, and Jost falling down to Earth. We're then introduced to a bunch of new characters, including Dante, whom I'm still conflicted over. We also meet Kincaid, who's almost like the Cormac Patton of Earth. We also learn a lot more about Adelice's parents and what they were involved with, although the full truth only comes out later on in the story. There's a lot about the Cypress Project and the interesting man and scientist, Kairos. Don't worry, you'll learn more about all of that when you read the book. And one of the best parts, at least for me? Learning about what "The Agenda" is. If you've seen Albin's Twitter campaign and promotions, you'll find that she had a bunch of stuff set up relating to the book and using the hashtag #JoinTheAgenda (I also posted about it a few months back).

The plot was generally well-written, and there were a few plot twists that took me by surprise. Albin continues to weave a fantastic new world, leaving the reader captivated and generally engaged. There were a few times here and there where the plot moved a lot slower, but there was also a lot of character development and influential decisions that were made. It was interesting to see where all the characters were headed towards, even if it wasn't exactly what I would personally want.

But speaking of characters, I want to discuss that aspect in particular detail. I still love Adelice, but there was something about her that irked me at times. I think part of it may have been her stubbornness, though given her, ah, family, I can't say I'm surprised. Despite this, I can understand where she's coming from. Most of her emotions, feelings, thoughts, decisions, and actions are understandable. And it's wonderful that she's not strong all the time and that she's affected by her weakness.
Jost, however, really bothered me. He seems to have turned into someone completely different, and while I understand the reasons why, I hate how he's turned into someone else. It feels almost icky, but I'm holding out hope that this will change when/if he finds his daughter and gets her back.
I'm still stuck on Eric and Dante. Eric also seemed to be very different from how he was in Crewel, but there's still something that doesn't sit right with me. Dante...he's a very interesting, complex character, and I love that about him, but there was always a little part of me that was annoyed with him.
I think that Albin is really pushing for that "love triangle" or whatever it's more appropriately called between Jost and Adelice and Eric and Adelice. But it all felt so unnatural and fake. None of the potential relationships seemed real to me anymore. I had been a pretty ardent Adelice/Jost shipper, but with Jost being didn't fit right anymore, but it also always felt like Eric was up to something. We'll see, I guess...

Yet despite all of this, I still did enjoy the characters in terms of their complexity. I feel like a lot of what I said above are personal opinions that have more to do with how I read and understand the characters than the characters themselves. They're all interesting and very three dimensional. They all have something that they want, and they're all willing to do what they can to get that. I think that this book highlights a lot of their individual characteristics. The decisions they make reflect where they are in THIS book, and I think it sets up well for Crewelest.

Also, can we talk about that ending?! I'm glad that Adelice made the decision, even though I kept shouting "NO!" I think it showed how much Adelice learned and changed throughout the book. I think that making such a big decision and an even bigger sacrifice is monumental to her as a character. But can I just say, [SPOILER] WHY AMIE?! [END SPOILER]

All in all, while I still enjoyed the plot and Albin's storytelling, the book suffered from Second Book Syndrome. I'm hoping that Crewelest will be even better though, especially the way that this book sets it up. I'm excited to read the final book to the series! And remember to #JoinTheAgenda! ;)

You can find Gennifer Albin on: Official Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Tumblr
You can find Altered on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | The Book Depository

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