Friday, August 16, 2013

Goodbye Crewel World, Hello Earth

Expected Publication:  October 29th, 2013
Altered (Crewel World # 2)
By: Gennifer Albin
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-13:  9780374316426
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.
     At the end of the first book, Adelice, Jost and Erik found themselves in a place they'd been told no longer existed - Earth.  When they discover that Earth is still inhabited, with a stronger connection to the past than Arras could have ever hoped for, their lives are thrown into deep turmoil.  Standing on the brink of destruction and with little time left, the trio must get beyond a number of obstacles and find their way back to the very place they sought to escape.  With the horrifying new additions of the soulless, cannibalistic people known as Remnants, complicated family secrets and extreme romantic tension, it's not long before things explode for Adelice.  Not everyone is left standing in one piece, but will they find their way back together in the end?
     So, unlike in the first book where Adelice was a strong protagonist who did what seemed like minimal whining and where the love triangle was far from in-your-face-pushy, this book took things to another level.  Being set on Earth, things were obviously going to be very different from Arras, the home world of Adelice, Jost and Erik.  The dynamic between the three of them has shifted and their roles in each other' lives are becoming different while they fight for survival.  The main focus of Jost shifts away from Adelice, towards getting back to his daughter.  Especially when they find out that time passes differently on Arras and one Earth month is equal to about one Arras year.  This makes for an interesting plot line in regards to a mysterious guy named Dante, who has a much deeper connection to Adelice than she ever imagined. 
     I did feel like Albin managed to world build with the destroyed, but not dead shell of Earth just as spectacularly as she did in Crewel.  The descriptions were gorgeous and I really felt like I was seeing it as I was reading it.  That is the best kind of reading, though I do like being able to imagine things as well.  But having them given to you for inspection is just as nice to me, as a reader.  The creepiest character award goes to Kincaid, a young-looking guy who is cheating death and is basically the revenge obsessed counter-part to Cormac.  Adelice left Arras looking to get away from Cormac and Kincaid is just as twisted, if not more so.  The scene that left me cringing with it's grotesque brilliance was the one where he puts on a play for Adelice and the boys, but does it with actors who have had their life threads altered to look like famous 1940s film stars.  I enjoyed all the action, and the fast pace of the plot.  I think where Albin lost me was the search for the "Whorl" and the identity of famous scientist who led the 'rebellion.'  I just felt like the revelation of his identity came completely out of left field.  Nothing else really suggested to me that she was going to use a real historical figure and I found it really jarring.
     One thing I will say is that with the developing of the love triangle, and Adelice's inability to make a coherent decision I got pretty annoyed as a reader.  I really dislike the love triangle trope and ESPECIALLY dislike the whole two-brothers-and-one-'perfect'-girl thing.  It makes me gag.  But I did like that Gennifer put a lot of tension and drove a believable wedge between Adelice and one of the guys, before easing her towards the other one.  At least the complications were believable, if really eye-roll inducing and overall annoying to me.  Plus it made for some swoony romantic action between Adelice and my favorite brother (no, I won't say which one!).  Overall, a good follow up to the first book in the series.  I would recommend it to those who enjoyed Crewel, but advise them to expect a major shift from almost straight fantasy, with a little sci-fi to the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  It makes for an interesting read!
VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is October 29th, 2013.*

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