I hadn’t heard of Altered prior to reading it. I was looking through the new ARCs one of the employees at Schuler Books received and a neon green/yellow spine caught my eye. So I plucked the book out of the pile, saw the shirtless guy on the cover, read the back and was instantly in love with the book. So, home I went with a copy of Jennifer Rush’s debut. Not long after, I picked up the book and began reading it. And that’s when I really fell in love with it.
Altered is now one of my favorite books.
Jennifer Rush’s writing is rather exquisite. Everything from the dialogue to the characters showcase her seemingly natural talent for the written word, and illustrate that she is already a wonderful storyteller. The plot never drags and it rolls along at an action-packed and romantic pace, one that is fluid and almost effortless. The steady, even flow of the story really did stand out to me and I just couldn’t put the book down. The other aspect that really shines is the characterization. All of the characters in the book are exactly what a reader hopes for in characters. They’re flawed, interesting, and–most importantly–believable. Juggling a cast of important characters can be tough, but Ms. Rush succeeded in making every one of them special.
The part I love the most, though, is Sam. He is one of the most intelligent, protective, and headstrong characters I’ve come across and his relationship with Anna is absolutely splendid to read about. The tension between the two of them is believable, understandable, and really adds to the story instead of being there just for the sake of the romantic plot. But there’s just something about Sam that helps him stand apart from the others in the book. He’s tortured in all the right ways, so it’s kind of hard not to love him.
The only thing I would’ve liked to have seen was a deeper, more thorough explanation about the Branch, but I’m assuming this will be explored more in the sequel.
All in all, Altered is an enthralling debut written by an author who is already in a league of her own. With an intriguing secret government operation, loads of action, and a romance that will have readers swooning, this book has it all. This is definitely one of those books where you finish and think, “Perfection!”.