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.
I don’t think I could be anymore intrigued than when I started reading Altered by Jennifer Rush and immediately encountered four boys in cells in the basement of main character Anna’s farmhouse. What a way to make you want to read the book!
The story starts right off into the mystery and action. Anna works down in the basement of her farmhouse with her father…the lab. In the lab are four boys locked in cells. Anna and her father are constantly testing the boys who have been genetically altered and are victims of amnesia. But for what purpose does the Branch – those who altered them – want the boys? The reader is quickly swept up into the action when two head honchos from the Branch come to visit and our boys – Sam, Nick, Cas and Trev – manage to pull a Houdini and escape. Taking Anna with them and killing not a few people in the process. And then we’re in for one wild ride through a couple States, following clues inked and scarred into the boys skin and hidden in different locations, trying to figure out why they were altered, why they have no memories and what they are wanted for.
I really enjoyed going on this chase with Anna and the boys. Anna is incredibly capable, kind hearted, very practical, scientific, can kick butt and is more involved than she could have ever guessed. Even the boys, though they don’t get as much page time as Anna (well, Sam gets quite a bit of time) are nicely fleshed out. Sam is the leader of their group. Tough, smart, kind but not without his major issues. You know he’s the important one in all of this, and somehow tied to Anna. Nick is a bit of a dick when it comes to interacting with Anna, but he’s loyal to the group and a good fighter. Very smart and capable. Trev and Cas a the ones we see the least of, but still get to know their personalities. Cas is the funny one, always cracking jokes and thinking of his stomach. Trev is quiet, and Anna’s closest friend of the four.
There is a lot of the unknown in Altered. It is very much a mystery book and all the little pieces wrap together to form a picture of what the Branch wants with the boys and Anna, who they were before the amnesia and living in Anna’s basement, and what the mysterious Alpha Program is. There is a veritable truck load of action and suspense present in the storyline, and a crazy rescue scene at the end that was right out of an action movie.
Altered by Jennifer Rush is a unique debut with a fun premise. Though some parts were a bit rushed with all the action, there is a great mystery to solve and some very interesting clues and reveals. I enjoyed the characterization and storyline, and would love to read a sequel sooner rather than later!
e-ARC provided by Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!