Altered, Book Review, Cait Sidhe, Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Netgalley, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, The Made Ones, Vicki Stiefel
The Eleutians are dying out, one female at a time. To save their species, the powerful Alchemic Clan conscripts women from parallel worlds, altering them into the perfect breeding stock.
Kitlyn, a retired circus equestrian broken in both body and spirit, awakens on a strange world in her own much-younger body. She has been transformed into a Made One, but the gift of youth and the promise of a new life come at a terrible price.
Rafe, the Wolf Clan’s warrior champion, vows to find the cause of the species’ decline. He’s certain the Alchemics’ bid to save the Eleutians is but a thin veneer masking a dark purpose.
That vow becomes hard to keep with the threat of an inter-clan conflict and the arrival of the proud Made One named Kitlyn.
To save herself and those like her, Kit must carve a dangerous path in this new reality and make a choice that may cost her her freedom, her life, and the life of the Eleutian warrior she’s come to love.
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The Wickedcoolflight Crew
**Cait Sidhe’s Review of Altered**
Altered is such a unique story. I’ve truly never read anything like it. Kitlyn is 58 years old, with a vibrant history of training and riding horse, until an accident and Huntington’s takes that away from her. She’s out walking with her sisters when suddenly the world falls away. She wakes up in another world, in a younger, perfect body, one free of the disease taking her life. This new realm is not like Earth either. Rescued by Rafe, the leader of the Wolf clan, she’s taken back to their home and all is eventually explained to her.
It was such a strange book. Altered has so many indicators of multiple genres. It was almost as if a paranormal romance was having an identity crisis! It has paranormal elements, such as the “real” wolves that the Wolf clan can communicate with and the other clans, such as Cat and Falcon that can do the same with the corresponding animal. It had elements of science fiction, like the parallel worlds and the Alchemics’ genetically altered “Made Ones”. Technology that is doled out by the Alchemics that essentially rule this world. There’s land crusiers like in Star Wards too. It also had a dystopian vibe, given that the women are zapped from their world into Eleuthia to essentially be broodmares and save the diminishing population. Then there were fantasy elements: horses with wings, floating cities, and magic.
I almost quit Altered a few times. I had a really hard time liking Kitlyn sometimes. For someone who is middle-aged, she acts remarkably like a 20 something or even an older teen. She’s not self-confident at all and instead is full of fears and doubts. Sure, some of that could be explained by the fact that she just woke up on another planet, but it felt more ingrained. It was a bit annoying at times. Of course, then there’s the fact that someone feels like it’s a good idea to steal women to populate their planet. Yes, the women are treated like queens instead of prisoners, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Then, of course, the way everyone seems to hate the Alchemics and realize that they are but pawns in their games, but no one seems to want to do anything about it and blindly follow whatever they say! Also, there is the fact that they say farking. Ergh! If you want to cuss, just cuss and don’t conceive stand-in words.
Yet, there was still something about Altered that kept me reading when I thought I was about to give up. It’s a beautiful world that is described to us and I enjoyed the world-building. I enjoyed the many side characters and there are many! The romance was a very slow burn, thank goodness, considering Kitlyn’s “purpose” for being there. The plot is well thought out and had a lot of twists and turns to keep things interesting. The dialogue was fun. Kitlyn is sassy and it was fun seeing her reference things that the others had no clue about.
I give Altered 3 of out 5 propellers for imaginative world-building and a complex storyline. Hopefully, book #2 will iron out some of the issues I had with Altered.
About the Author
Award-winning author Vicki Stiefel’s romantic science fantasy series, The Made Ones Saga, launches with Altered. Vicki continues work on her Afterworld Chronicles, which began with Chest of Bone, the first in the five-book series. Her award-winning mystery/thrillers feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte, and Vicki tapped into her love of knitting to produce Chest of Bone The Knit Collection and co-write 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters.
After running The Writers Studio with her late husband, William G. Tapply, Vicki taught fiction writing at Clark University for six years.
She grew up in professional theater and planned to become an actress. Instead, she slung hamburgers, managed a scuba shop, and became a college professor. She’s a mom to two wonderful humans and a furry pack. Her passions for scuba diving, fly fishing, and knitting pop up in her novels, as do chocolate, bourbon, and lobster. Currently, she’s playing with her pup, Penny, going wild in L.A., and pounding the keys on the second book in the Made Ones Saga, Changed.