We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Paranormal
In 1995, a lab created lycanthropy pathogen was put into the water supply in Great Britain, with varied results, some people were not affected at all, some became full shifter wolves, some partial while still others gained the ability to see the altered, but could not shift themselves, they were labeled seers. Daniel is a seer, who has spent most of his young life trying to hide that since shifters see his kind as a threat of exposure while there are scientists who see his ability as something to use so they can catch and experiment on the altered. Daniel’s bestfriend and roommate, Matt, is a partial altered, he has wolf tendencies, but cannot shift into one. Out one night, they meet Jordan, who is a full altered that can shift into a wolf form.
The story is told from the alternating points of view of Daniel and Jordan.
First off, if you like and have read shifter stories, you have to find a way to disconnect with any previous readings of shifter books to really appreciate this one! I say that because I had to do the same – unlike most shifter stories, the characters here have no family history of shifters or know anything about packs, pack behavior, honor amongst wolves and any other aspect that is normal in a shifter story. For one, that is why they refer to themselves as altered, because they were, just by being exposed to someone else’s experiment. At first, there was excitement over the discovery, which was followed by the inevitable fear. Most altered try to keep to themselves and not bring attention to themselves or their differences and sadly, most of them have had to move away from their families, for safety reasons or, in some cases, because they were no longer wanted anywhere near their families.
So, while The Altered is a shifter story of sorts, it is quite different, which I very much enjoyed, once I separated my assumptions from previous stories!
Daniel was 5 when he was exposed to the pathogen, which changed his hair colour from his natural brown to a silver blond. Now 25, he has been hiding himself and what he is for 10 years. His bestfriend Matt, who was also 5 when exposed to the pathogen, moved with Daniel as his bestfriend and flatmate, although a partial altered, he does not see Daniel as a threat to him and instead, feels he is his protector. Ash is their other flat mate, who was once homeless when his parents decided to kick him out for being gay, he is human, but knows what Daniel and Matt are.
They encounter Jordan and his friends, Keira and Charlie one night at a bar in a situation that could have gone terribly wrong, but Daniel wants to believe it was a close call, nothing to really worry about and wants to go back to what has become his regular life. As you might expect, his 10 years of hiding is likely at an end.
As I said, once I stopped thinking in terms of “what a pack should do and don’t they know that….” because no, none of these people knew what to do as wolves and altered, I really enjoyed the story! It had a great pace to it, how it came full circle when they learned more about the experiments going on, how sometimes those who seem the strongest still need help, which can come from unlikely sources. Great characters – the lead characters as well as the supporting characters, with even a bit of humor between Matt and Jordan constantly wanting to leave their scent on Daniel for the other to find, even though Matt is not romantically interested in his bestfriend! There is definitely a story to tell for Sam, who is Keira’s brother, and Ash, who Sam is immediately drawn to when he usually just keeps to himself and what has become his family. As I understand it, the author is writing a sequel that will be their story, which I will definitely be looking forward to.
I would recommend this for paranormal and fantasy fans since it is a cross between the two, not purely either one. This was the first I’ve read of this author but will be looking for more as a result!