By Gennifer Albin

October 29, 2013
Ages 12 and up
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Reviewed: ARC from Publisher

Life. Possibility. Choice.
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.

ALTERED is the second book in Gennifer Albin’s Crewel World Trilogy. It’s a sequel that goes above and beyond the premise of the first book, Crewel – taking the action and the intensity of the plot to a whole new level. So much happens in this book, you may have a hard time wrapping your mind around it all. For me, that is a very, very good thing. ALTERED kept me on the edge of my seat – with endless WTF?! moments constantly catching me off guard. I enjoyed it immensely!

Warning: This review may contain spoilers of the first book, Crewel. (Which leads me to ask: what on earth are you doing reading a review of a second book in a series if you haven’t even read book one? If you haven’t read Crewel yet, you might want to stop reading now and either pick it up or jump ahead to the giveaway at the bottom of this post!)

Ok, well then… How exactly can I describe ALTERED? I compared Crewel to The Matrix when I reviewed the book last year. That comparison still applies in ALTERED, but this time you are given some insight as to what life is like outside of the Guild’s grasp. The world is nothing like I had imagined. ALTERED is a little bit of Divergent, meets The Walking Dead, meets the French Revolution, meets… honestly… to tell you more would be to spoil the biggest WTF?!…JKSNFIWNGIWU!!! details behind the complex plot.

Remember that love triangle from book one? It’s still there, but this time Adelice will be forced to make a decision… Or perhaps there really was no decision to begin with? (Side note: I found it refreshing to see Adelice focus more on her abrupt lifestyle change and the state of her world rather than her romantic complications. I do despise love triangles. And, although one does exist here, it is resolved as a “side item” and not as the central plot. There just too much else going on, guys… Too. Much.)

In ALTERED, timelines are toyed with and the world as we know it is turned upside down. Lost family members will be reunited and emotions will be played with in the process. Characters that I thought I liked in book one will confuse and confound me in ALTERED. Those whom I hated will become the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. The reader will be swayed by tempting propositions, disgusted by unbelievable lifestyles on Earth and watch in horror as the truth of the world that Adelice grew up in will come to light. Wow. This plot… I can honestly say I have never read anything like it ever before. Seriously, you will just have to let your imagine go while you read. It’s the only way you will twist your mind around this plot. As intricate and completely out of this world the plot may be, if you try to find holes, you will fail over and over again in the process – Gennifer Albin really thought this one out.

Although ALTERED kicks off to somewhat of a slow start (given the hugely climactic scene in which Crewel ended), once you are fed a few details about the state of Earth and the truth about the Guild, you won’t want to put the book down – at least, not until your curiosity is sated. Yet, not even reaching the end of the book will accomplish that… ALTERED does not (I repeat: DOES NOT) suffer from second book syndrome. If anything, the complexity of her story grows tenfold in ALTERED. At the very least, it is a much more exciting book than its predecessor.

I have decided that the Crewel World Trilogy isn’t exactly a “dystopian” story as it is science fiction at its best. After everything I’ve read so far, I am definitely looking forward to seeing how Gennifer manages to stitch up her individual threads and conclude the series in book three!

Plot: 10
Characters: 8
Setting: 10

Grade: 95