Altered came to my notice with only the highest recommendations from Amber (and Judith), and thus there was a considerable amount of hype and expectations built up for me. Did the book meet those expectations? Not entirely. However, all the same, Altered is an action-packed thrill ride with some pretty awesome characters. I did enjoy it immensely.
One thing really kept me from finding this the "asdfjkl; awesome" book I thought it would be, and that would be... Anna and Sam. Both characters, to me, were rather boring. Anna, as the main character, didn't really have that spark to make me love her. Though she certainly did prove she was strong enough to fight when necessary and wasn't a Mary Sue character at all, her - freaking - obsession - with - Sam drove me up the wall. It's not really instalove, since they have a history, and there is, admittedly, a reason for at least part of their undeniable attraction to each other, but the way she was constantly thinking about him just made me shake my head.
And why Sam anyway? Of the four boys, he is terribly boring. His personality can be summed up to the natural leader of the group with tons of drive and motivation and some recklessness. Other than that... sure, he's a bit mysterious too. But whyyyy is Anna in love with him? Seriously. I don't understand. Although, sure, Anna, you can have Sam, and then I can have the other three boys. Yeah, you know what, that sounds like a much better plan.
Because the remaining three boys were awesome and my main reason to keep reading. Cas is hilarious and charming. I love funny guys and every time he spoke he managed to put a smile on my face. Nick is the dark, skeptical one (and okay, I seriously ship him and Anna, despite wanting to keep him for myself). Trev is Anna's best friend, the rock, the intelligent, thoughtful one. The whole time I was reading I kind of felt pressured to choose a favorite and all three kept impressing me so much that I still have absolutely no clue who my favorite would be. (Probably Nick. I dunno.) But anyway, I loved the unique characterizations of each of the boys and how they supported each other throughout the book.
The plot was pretty darn great. It is full of action, constant motion, reminiscent of The Bourne Identity. Plot twists galore. Though they may not have completely shocked me at any one point, there were a few I didn't see coming. It made for a great reading adventure (quite literally, because it's like a scavenger hunt). This is the kind of book you keep feverishly reading because you want all your questions answered. I'm still a bit underwhelmed though, probably due to the hype and my high expectations. It was a good plot, but it didn't exactly wow me.
Altered hit a lot of highs and lows for me. I loved the action and the mysterious plot. I loved the secondary characters: Nick, Cas, and Trev. But I felt nothing towards Anna and I disliked the romance. At parts I also felt like the plot could have been improved. Overall though, I did enjoy it and I'll probably check out the sequel too. But not liking the main characters and their romance is a massive stumbling block. So here's to hoping that Sam dies in Erased and Nick and Anna can happen! Can I get a what what? (JK. Though that would be cool. I almost want a love triangle right now, what is this?)
Full disclosure: I think I may have liked this more if I wasn't still on the coattails of my All Our Yesterdays high.
People looking for an action-packed thrill ride and awesome boys.