Title: The Altered
Author: Annabelle Jacobs
Pages/Word Count: 209 Pages
At a Glance: I really liked the introduction to a new world of shifters, one that breaks some molds while staying true to some others.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Twenty years ago the UK’s water supply was contaminated with an experimental pathogen, Lycanaeris, causing widespread panic across the nation. Terrorism was suspected but never proven, and when nothing happened–no epidemic, no unexplained illnesses–the whole episode was written off as an elaborate hoax. But Lycanaeris was selective. Only those of a certain age, and with a specific gene in their DNA were infected. Time would reveal the pathogen’s true nature, when those susceptible grew up Altered.
Daniel is one of thousands forced to hide his altered status by living a quiet life. He’s not like the others, though. Daniel can’t help looking so distinctive or being able to see every altered for what they really are. To those abducting altereds, that skill makes him valuable.
For Jordan, shifting from human to wolf means living under the radar to avoid unwanted attention. Meeting Daniel complicates matters. Daniel’s existence is a threat to Jordan and his friends, but Jordan can’t seem to shake the strange connection between them. When danger threatens, there’s little time for Daniel and Jordan to work out their feelings before lives are at stake.
Review: Annabelle Jacobs’ The Altered is cross-genre Urban Fantasy with a Sci-Fi element that throws some new twists into shifter romance.
A lab created pathogen introduced into London’s water supply some twenty years ago has created a division of species amongst the city’s population, as well as within those who are called the Altered. The humans who remained immune to the pathogen now live, mostly unaware, among those who are full or partial shifters, and those rare altereds called seers, labeled so because they can see shifters where humans can’t, which makes Daniel Fellows an asset, or a liability, depending upon whom one asks. Daniel has had to work hard to hide what he is, and has successfully done so in large part with the help of his best friend Matt, who is himself a partial shifter. I was immediately drawn into the concept of this story (I’ve read The Stand more than a few times, thank you. What’s scarier that a lab created disease gone viral?); the hubris of man playing God, messing with the laws of Nature… So full of horrific possibilities.
There are no packs established among the altereds, but there is a sort of hierarchy which takes the place of the familiar Alpha, Beta, Omega roles. If the world building allowed for those labels, though, Jordan Cole would be an Alpha male. His introduction in the story happens with a fair amount of tension, as Daniel gets a brief flash of Jordan’s wolf form. And, while there is no established “fated mate” canon in the story’s plot, there’s also no denying the pull Daniel and Jordan feel toward each other; though the author thankfully foregoes the instant soul bond and makes these men work through the trust issues between them, as Jordan is the shifter to Daniel’s seer, and Daniel is someone who could deliver no small amount of danger and betrayal to Jordan and his chosen family.
The Altered in some ways reads like a three act play—the Urban Fantasy, which leads to the paranormal romance and the building of Jordan and Daniel’s relationship, then ending in an action/thriller complete with the mad scientist who is bent upon resuming what was started twenty years before. The story is a mix of both the new and the familiar, with some great supporting characters, a couple of whom will be getting their own story. I hope?
Ash is Daniel and Matt’s human roommate. Sam is part of Jordan’s chosen family, and has a special set of issues of his own. I loved the introduction to their relationship and am eager to get their story, if one is coming. They both have things in their pasts that have informed who they’ve become, and the little we learned about them in The Altered made for the buildup of some intense curiosity.
Having read Annabelle Jacobs’ Torsere series, I can’t say it was a risk for me to jump into this book. I really liked the introduction to a new world of shifters, one that breaks some molds while staying true to some others. And, while I’m the weirdo who liked the Sci-Fi/Fantasy elements just as much as, if not more than, the romance, I can say I loved Daniel and Jordan together and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend reading The Altered.
You can buy The Altered here: