After thinking about how to review and what to say about it, I decided to make a chart about my feelings while reading the book (blue) and feelings after finishing (green).
To say I'm conflicted is just the beginning. (It's okay to say I'm a terrible drawer, but that's another story.)
Altered is the story of four genetically altered boys, and Anna. After studying the four boys (Sam, Nick, Cas, Trev) for several years with her father in charge, she's grown attached to them where they are in the cubicles hidden in her house's basement. The boys are involved in an experiment/study by The Branchwhere they have been altered and all of the boys are suffering from amnesia and can't remember who they were before they entered the project. When the Branch decided it's time to move the boys along, things doesn't go quite to their plans, and so Anna is dragged with the boys to flee. On the run away from The Branch, the group comes across clues about the past, and what the goal of the project is.
Before reading, I was eager to star Altered. I'm a complete nerd when it comes to genetics and the possibility of altering it for definite purposes. I was even such a big nerd that I've asked teachers to give me further reading on these topics. So when I heard of this, I was like Gimme, gimme, gimme, needitneeditneedit, gimme. Then I realized that these alterations were made on the boys after they were born, like when they were coming into their teens (by the sound of it). Then I was more likeno. Not buying that. To me the fact that they were altered this late in their lives is highly implausible considering what these alterations caused. Strength, speed, endurance, intelligence, memory, etc. Let me tell you this, if they were to alter the DNA of these boys to produce these abilities, they would need to go into more or less every cell in their bodies. I'm not quite buying that this is a possibility in such a near future.
But you know what, I decided to not give a crap. Would I have preferred more depth to how these alterations were made? Yes, but there is still time to make up for that in the following two books. This book focuses more on the chase and the characters than the whys and hows, and when those two were taken out of the equation, this books was good. The story is fast paced. The clues are intriguing. There's action almost on every page. The different characters' personalities create an interesting group dynamic, and while Anna isn't the best heroine or the most interesting, she's not terrible either. In the category of heroines, she's just one in the crowd, and that was almost a relief. However, she kept getting on my nerves for two reasons. First, this:
“Are you really going to steal a car?” I asked as I followed Sam in the opposite direction from Trev.
“Yes. Unless you have one we can take.”
“No,” I said. “I just… I don’t know if I’m comfortable with all this.”
She questions the morals of stealing a car, but not the morals of keeping four teenage boys hostage for scientific experiments.
And then there was her obsession love for Sam that lacked chemistry right from the start. They are one of the most boring couples I've come across. The author seems to throw in a love-triangle in the second installment (Anna/Sam/Nick) that might the dynamics between Anna and Sam more prominent as well as their reasons for liking each other more distinct. But you know what, I'll happily to see Anna and Sam end up together in the end, because I call dibs on Nick! The focus is rarely on him in this novel, but hell, I love him anyway. For one thing, I thought he was smarter than the rest if you think about it from a logical point of view. He also owned a sarcasm and irony I simply love. Plus, something about his brooding personality sat so well with me in this story and in contrast to the other characters. I think my chart at the top made my point on my feelings for Nick. So please, go ahead and throw in a love triangle as long as I get to keep Nick and we'll be just fine.
To sum it up, I'd say Altered isn't groundbreaking in it's plot. It lacks when it comes to some realistic aspects and dept in the scientific department. Despite that, it's a fast paced story with humor, action, mystery, and interesting characters and Altered is hard to put down. I'm conflicted about recommending this before I read the second book, but I'm always that way when it comes to series. But yes, when it all comes down, I liked this.