Today, I'm reviewing the awesome second book in Gennifer Albin's Crewel series. Altered is explosive, fantastic and will draw readers into Albin's world even more.
And better yet? It's out today!
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format read: Physical ARC, courtesy of publisher
This is a book that fans of have spent a good, long year waiting for and I’m confident that they will absolutely think the wait was worth it.
Synopsis (via Goodreads)
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.
I remember leaping out of bed and hurrying over to my laptop after reading the final page, so I could check the release date for the second book. When I realized that the book wasn’t going to come out for another eleven months or so, I immediately went on Twitter to politely beg Gennifer Albin to write faster.
(Her response? “I’ll try! ;])
Fortunately for me, Macmillan sent me an advanced reader copy of Altered in the lead up to publication, so I could flail over the awesome of the book, and share it with all of you.
Trust me – this is a book that you’re going to want to read ASAP. It’s a spectacular addition to the Crewel world, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Albin rocks.
Things that worked:
All of our favorite characters are back in Altered, but the book continues to be anchored by Adelice.
She’s older, wiser and I would argue, a lot more bitter after having to deal with the machinations of the Guild in the previous novel. However, even as she lands on a foreign land with two bickering brothers and a newly-defined set of rules – quite literally, in some cases - Adelice keeps her head.
She’s able to keep her cool, deal with some seriously unexpected obstacles that are thrown her way, while learning more about herself and continuing her quest to counter the Guild at every turn.
I really can’t say anything else about Adelice or the secondary characters without giving away spoilers, but I will say: I felt immensely connected with Adelice and her journey. She isn’t always the most likable or admirable character throughout the course of Altered, but she’s tough and practical in a way that readers will absolutely root for.
* The world-building
I thought Albin’s world building was already beautifully detailed and layered in Crewl, but that was before I read Altered.
Albin amps up the background and details in this book in a way that made me feel like I was reading a history book – in the best way possible! – of events that have impacted both Adelice’s earth and Arras.
Every detail has been considered, every question has been answered, and every inevitability has been thought of.
* The writing/plotting
Altered takes place almost immediately after the events of Crewel, which means that:
1) New readers won’t be lost or confused coming into the series for the first time, and
2) Readers will be experiencing the same sense of confusion/discovery/anticipation that Adelice experiences, as she discovers the truth about her new world.
Outside of writing, the pacing in the book is, in many ways, explosive. Albin drops revelations big and small in the book that will make readers gasp, and dig into the book even more.
* The incorporation of counterfactual history
Gennifer Albin incorporates counterfactual history in Altered, a.ka. a version of history that attempts to answer the what-ifs scenarios – e.g. what the world would be like, if there had never been a World War I.
A lot of the plotline pivots on the idea that certain global conflicts and historical figures have chosen a different path in life, and Albin does a beautiful (and arguably, poignant) job of explaining just why these events have happened and why these paths have been chosen.
I’ve read plenty of novels that have incorporated counterfactual history in my time, and Albin’s ranks right up there with the best.
Things that didn't work (for me)
However, I do think that Gennifer did do a fantastic job of emphasizing why the triangle would exist in the first place, and balanced a nice showcase of each sibling’s greater attributes.
Albin proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she definitely doesn’t have to worry about the much-dreaded sophomore slump. This is a novel that contains all the best elements of science fiction, continuing with elements that worked in the first book and also introducing new, more thrilling plotlines.
I recommend this for fans of the Crewel series, but also for readers who are fan of more old school sci-fi elements in fiction.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Altered from Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!