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Fantasy Romance Review: Altered by Vicki Stiefel

Altered: The Made Ones Saga (Book #1) by Vicki Stiefel


ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.


Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

7.5/10

* * *
  I always read Vicki's books with great pleasure. They are so vivid, original and incredibly cinematic, I can almost imagine them on the big screen. Altered is no exception.


 Other people already noticed that Altered is difficult to categorise: fantasy, sci-fi and a bit of steampunk together. There are parallel worlds, technological advances, genetic experiments and at the same time, flying horses, floating islands and clans of people with an affinity to different spirit animals.

We meet Kitlyn, one moment crippled by Huntington's along with her two younger sisters, suffering from old injuries in her late 50s and slowly dying, and next moment she is rescued in a parallel world possessing a young, strong body in peak condition and freaking out, not knowing what's going on.

She goes to live with the Wolf Clan to which her rescuer, Rafe, belongs, and slowly finds out why she was transported to Eleutia and how messed up that world is.

Eleutia is pretty torn between two directions. The Alchemics possess all knowledge to the technological advances and share it sparingly with the clans. They are hated, feared and pretty much rule Eleutia, especially because this world is dying due to the birth rates drastically falling in the last hundred years. The Alchemics' solution is to bring dying women from Earth to periodically bear children to men from some of the clans.

The clans (the two we interact with here are Wolfs and Cats) are a bit like Highlanders, chafing under The Alchemics rule and forbidden to use their old customs and magic. They are warriors, and their world is getting more and more narrow under the Alchemics constraints.

Kitlyn and Rafe slowly become entangled in each other's lives and caught into a major intrigue which will probably continue developing throughout the rest of the books. By the way, Kitlyn and both her sisters are transported at the same time, so we can only assume, that this series will have at least three instalments.

There are plenty of very interesting characters, which I'd have loved to see more fleshed out. Rafe's father, for example, or his friend. Kitlyn herself is a fascinating woman with much-hidden depth. She went through major trauma, she grew up as a circus performer. she's been abused and she is well-versed in the art of self-defence. She is a true survivor and a formidable one at that. 

Altered is fast-paced and juicy, and it will definitely make you want to learn more about its characters and world-building. This is perhaps my only complaint: the storyline needed fleshing out. There were so many small details which were only mentioned in passing and left me hungry for more. Otherwise, don't hesitate to try this author, she has a unique writing style and vivid imagination, and the originality of her storytelling hasn't disappointed me so far.

* * *
 Я всегда читаю книги Вики Стифель с большим удовольствием. Они такие яркие, оригинальные и необычайно кинематографичные, их так легко представить на большом экране! В этом плане Altered - не исключение.

Другие читатели уже заметили что жанр Altered тяжело характеризовать. Она и фэнтези и роман и научная фантастика и даже немного стимпанк. Здесь параллельные миры, новые технологие и генетические эксперименты сосуществуют с плавающими островами, летающими конями и кланами людей, связанных с определенными животными душами.

В один момент мы встречает Китлин, умирающую от Хантингтона и страдающую от старых травм. Ей за пятьдесят лет, и она вместе со своими двумя сестрами поднимается в гору. В другой момент она перенесена в параллельный мир Элютии, ее тело в пиковой форме и разум пытающийся осознать что же с ней произошло. Рэйф, ее спаситель, забирает ее в клан Волка, где перед ней потихоньку вырисовывается картина того, что происходит на Элютии, и почему она туда попала.

Элютия разрывается в двух направлениях. Алхимики управляют всеми технологиями и берегут их секреты. Около сто лет назад уровень рождаемости в кланах упал и они решили переодически доставлять умирающих женщин с Земли кланам, чтобы хоть как-то новое поколение пополнялось. В то же время, кланы построенные наподобие воинствующих горцев, тяжело переносят тиранию Алхимиков и запрет на использование их природной магии.

Рэйф и Китлин оказываются вовлечены в романтические отношения и в большую интригу, которая будет разворачиваться по крайней мере на протяжении трех книг этой серии, так как Китлин и обе ее сестры каждая получат свою книгу.

Китлин - очень интересная женщина, бывший цирковой акробат, прошедшая через много душевных и физических травм, владеющая многими боевыми искуствами. Она - по жизни борец. Да и вообще, много здесь интересных персонажей, о которыхмне хотелось узнать побольше.

Altered - книга сочная и быстрая, и она очень разогреет ваше любопытство. Скорее всего, ее единственный недостаток, это отсутствие масштаба. Очень много интересных деталей, о которых бы хотелось узнать подробности, но их нет. В остальном, это автор, которого читать стоит, она очень оригинальна.


 
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