Is it just me or are books not living up to expectations? I don’t know if my standards are just that high or the genre itself is going downhill. For example, Altered by Jennifer Rush. I was so freaking excited for this book; but when I read it, it fell flat. There was plenty of action to keep me hooked but it was lacking that oomph that makes me want to rush to the end.
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, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart.
When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna’s father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs.On the run, with her father’s warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She 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 had a very go, go, go plot with lots of car chases, gun fights and running from the bad guys. Honestly, it read like an action movie and I enjoyed it. The evil henchmen from the company that funded the altering of the boys were just good enough to always be on their tail. But, like with any genetically altered soldier, the guys were better. There were a few big, huge, crazy twists that I didn’t see coming. All of that combined kept me hooked but there wasn’t enough other to balance it out. By other, I mean, the character development felt stagnant and the romance was undeveloped.
Anna first met the boys when she discovered them locked away in her basement and instead of really freaking out, she became her dad’s assistant in testing the boys. I don’t know about you, but if I found four guys locked up in my basement, I wouldn’t ask my dad how I could help. I’d run as far and as fast as I could. Granted, there wouldn’t be any story but it feels like a more realistic reaction.
Each of the boys had a stereotypical role: Nick was the scary, moody one, Cas was the funny guy, Trev was the ‘older brother’ type to Anna, and Sam was the one Anna loved the most. And that was it. Apart from being genetically altered, there wasn’t anything really special about these guys. It was fine while I was reading Altered, but afterwards, there was nothing that really stood out about them. That really saddened me because each of them had the potential to be unique.
Then the whole romance between Anna and Sam was superficial. She thought she loved him but she really didn’t know anything about him at all. I wasn’t sure what Sam’s attraction to Anna was. Yes, she was a strong, intelligent heroine, ready to fight for what she believed in, but it wasn’t until they were running for their lives that they really had a chance to talk without a glass wall between them. Even then, it wasn’t like they had the time to sit around and talk. So, while yes, there was an attraction between them, it didn’t feel as nearly deep and real as they tried to portray it.
As disappointed as I was with Altered, I will absolutely be picking up Erased. There was plenty of action and plot twists in Altered to keep me hooked and wanting more. I’m hoping that there will be more character development in Erased, or at the very least, the romance between Anna and Sam will get more depth. If you’re looking for a book with nonstop action and crazy plot twists, Altered is the book for you.