[BLOG TOUR+REVIEW] ALTERED BY VICKI STIEFEL

Altered

Title: ALTERED
Series: THE MADE ONES SAGA #1
Author: VICKI STIEFEL
Genre: ADULT, FANTASY, ROMANCE
Publication Date: AUGUST 12, 2019

ABOUT THE BOOK

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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My reviewRating: 4/5

I thought this book was about werewolves, but oh, how wrong I was! But no worries, this book was still brilliant and amazing. I find it so enjoyable. Glad that I read it!

A 58-year-old Kitlyn was transported to another realm called Eleutia and suddenly she woke up in her 28-year-old body. Everything was new to her and she had a hard time trying to make sense of the changes. She met Rafe, a commander from the Wolf Clan who rescued her. Through him, she finally learned something about this new world and why she was named the Made One.

I’m not 100% sure about the concept of the story. I admit that I liked it due to the unique thing that happened to Kitlyn herself, which was the transformation of her body. I never read anything that involved your body being altered, how you were actually old and suddenly turned young. So, this is all new to me but I kind of digging it. The thing that I wasn’t sure was that, the whole Kitlyn being the Made One and why The Alchemics from Eleutia was experimenting on female from Earth and bringing them to Eleutia as the breeding stock, since the female population in the realm is decreasing. Kitlyn being the Made One and her only purpose is to breed a baby girl was totally off to me. I didn’t like how her character was viewed as the breeding stock, it was like she doesn’t hold a higher value there and that her importance is mainly to breed. I understood the desperation of the Eleutians male for wanting more female in their world, but bringing someone from another world to their world was a bit cruel to me. I feel bad for the women from Earth, it was like they don’t have any choice and all their choices was made and decided by The Alchemics and the Eleutians.

I didn’t put my hopes up for magic to appear in this type of story, but the little moment where Rafe was using a magical spell was shocking to me, but it was truly a special moment. To me it was special because this type of story doesn’t usually use/have any magical elements in it, and to see at least one character used it was really amazing. The magic that Rafe used was not like what I expected at all. He was using some sort of a magic spell and the effects it had on him and those who was using it along with him was a bit scary. Magic was forbidden in their world, but the moment Rafe break the rules, I was totally amazed by him. It just makes me adored him more than I already is. I get to learned the reason why their magic was forbidden and who forbid them from using it. I find the reason to be a bit lame.

The world-building was unique and just amazing even though it wasn’t as epic as I imagined it to be. The author did a good job at trying to make it unique and different from the other fantasy world that already existed. It sure does surprised me a lot, especially with all the different and more advanced technologies that existed in Eleutia. Flying cars? Check. Flying horses? Check. Wolves that can talk to humans through mind? Check. Eleutia has been described as the parallel of Earth, it’s not a planet, but instead it’s a realm. But it was more advanced than Earth. Also, learning more about the different clans that lived in the realm makes the whole thing more enjoyable to read. The differences between the clans was shown clearly. For example, how the Wolf Clan was like compared to the Cat Clan and the Falcon Clan. And what was the WolfHome looks like compared to the CatHome. Also how the Wolf Clan acts and fight compared to the Cat Clan and the Falcon Clan. I get to see the differences of these clans and what makes them unique.

The book main focus was on the Wolf Clan and the Cat Clan, so the Falcon Clan doesn’t appear much in the story. I get to learn why the Wolf and the Cat was fighting over Kitlyn and why both clans are so possessive of her, which is another thing that annoyed me! I was so mad at how the alpha of the Cat Clan—Gato—was talking to Kitlyn about why she was important to him. Gato knew Kitlyn is part of the Wolf Clan since Rafe already marked her, but Gato forcing Kitlyn to accept that the choice he made for her really makes my blood boils. I hated how he told her that she will be the one to breed his baby girl, it was like he want to force her to sleep with him when in reality she doesn’t want to. I was glad it doesn’t come to that moment where she was forced to give in. Rafe’s father already said a couple of times that the Cat Clan always won the Made One challenge before this, so the way I see it, Gato is a selfish man. It was like he wants to have all the Made Ones, and I find it annoying.

The Wolf Clan is the most respectable clan and to me they are the best compared to the Cat Clan. The Wolf Clan respected Kitlyn and her choice. They also made her feel safe, especially Rafe. The Cat Clan loves disrespecting women, while the Wolf Clan give their full respect to the women. Both clans gave Kitlyn different treatments, but to Kitlyn being at the CatHome makes her feel like a prisoner, while being at the WolfHome makes her feel like she’s one of them, and she always roam freely and get the best protection there. From Kitlyn’s POV alone I can totally see why the Wolf Clan is the best. From what I’ve seen, it was undeniable that the Wolf are better than the Cat. I didn’t get to see much of the tradition and culture of these two clans, but learning about them from a different way makes me see things clearly about these two clans.

The setting of the story was pretty interesting. Especially the one that takes place at the WolfHome. I imagined the WolfHome is bigger than the CatHome. I have my own imagination of what the WolfHome looks like and I’m sticking by it because to me it just look so majestically amazing, while the CatHome was just a simple place and there’s nothing special about it. I think Eleutia as a whole is beautiful, and there was a place which Rafe called as the moving city, the one where The Alchemics lived in. From the description itself I can already picture it being the most intimidating place. The Alchemics living in the city that moves around since the city is in the air, no wonder they can easily move from one place to another. But I was wondering how it works, like who moves it and how they did it? I was so curious about it, but the little description of the city itself makes me hope to see more of it in the future books. There wasn’t much detail about the moving city, so hopefully the next installment will address it.

The writing was pretty good, and I gotta admit that there was a time where I find it hard and complicated to understand some of the things that happens in the story, but I gladly read it repeatedly until I can understand it, which doesn’t took me long! The writing was a bit smooth, and even with so many bumpy road, the story was still great nonetheless. I didn’t find the whole story to be predictable, and thanks to the author’s writing for not making anything so obvious. There are so many great plot twists that I didn’t see coming, it was mega surprises to witnessed the shocking truths. And I was left satisfied by how everything turns out to be. The whole secret spies and untrustworthy people makes it more interesting, because at first I didn’t expect them to be a traitor since they were so good with their attitude, mannerism, and they didn’t look like someone who would betray their own clan. After finding out the truth, it was honestly the biggest jaw-dropping moment ever! So unpredictable.

The whole story does make a lot of sense once you get to the part where everything was revealed. And it does flow so well too! I truly appreciate the amount of actions this book had. There are so many great actions that makes the whole thing so intense until I can’t sit well while reading it. Truthfully, this book put me on the edge the whole time! I can’t even let myself relax and rest a little bit due to the situations are all so dangerous and things are getting so intense pretty quickly. I was scared and worried the whole time, scared and worried for Rafe and Kitlyn’s situations and their future. The feud between the Wolf and the Cat played a major part in making me panicked! The author knows how to make her readers feel such emotions while reading her book, and she did it so well too.

The story was told from both Kitlyn’s and Rafe’s POVs. All the time we’re inside their heads and view the whole situations from their eyes. This also helps me to understand their feelings better, and know what type of person they are. I was glad Rafe gets his own POVs too, and not just Kitlyn. Dual POVs always been better than one, I wouldn’t mind if it only has one POV and that it’s from the female lead aka the main protagonist of the story, but dual POVs is more better. It gives the readers an access to connect with both characters more and also understanding the deeper aspects of the story from their views.

The pacing was just fine for me, not too slow and not too fast. And as for the dialogue, I loved that the characters were given great dialogues, especially Kit’s character. She had the best dialogues ever, it just makes her character more bossy and sassy. All the dialogues does flow well, nothing that make me cringed, and it wasn’t cheesy either. I loved the story and the plot, and the ending was just perfect, because it was a great way to end the story arc for Rafe and Kit’s characters. The happy ending fit them well.

There are so many ups and downs with the characters that present in the story, not all of them are perfect because everyone makes mistakes and everyone has flaws too. The female lead/main protagonist, Kitlyn, she and Rafe has the best character development later on considering Altered is their story. Some other characters were also cool people and I’m so happy to be able to meet them in the story.

Kitlyn is a strong female lead for a story like this. Since Eleutia doesn’t have much female population and she’s part of a clan that has many male members than female, Kitlyn is the most standout member, she’s a great and strong female character. There are other female characters too, but they’re not as tough as Kitlyn. Kitlyn was confused as to how she was back in her youth body when in fact she is actually an old woman. I was hoping for her to overreact finding out about the sudden weird change in her life, but also glad that she didn’t. For someone who experienced such thing, she surely knows how to handle it and not freaking out over it. She was also being patient in trying to find out everything else, I know there are times when she nearly lose her patience and made an unwise decision, but when she comes to think about it, she knows she needed to wait. There are so many things that I liked about her character. She wasn’t written as an annoying, unbearable, and weak heroine. I admit that she was once making an unwise decision, but that decision alone put her in a situation where she get a time to shine and show what she’s capable of. She has a lot of strong potential for her character, and I’m glad the author put it to good use and didn’t waste Kitlyn’s potential. Also, I was happy that the author included The Made One Challenge in the story, as much as I hated it because it just shows how desperate the Eleutians men are when it comes to women, it also shows Kitlyn’s strength and what she can do to gained her freedom and made her own choice. The challenge isn’t my favorite part but without it, I might not be able to see Kitlyn’s ability to set herself free. I know she can fight and has great skills too due to her time in the Circus back in the days, but seeing her participating in the Challenge, it makes me proud of how far she has come. She was told that women can’t fight and won’t be able to participate in a war, well let’s just say she was too stubborn to follow the rules and make her own where she decide what’s best for her and what her fate will be. That moment was gold, the shocking expression people gave makes me want to laugh, it was finally time for them to know that they can’t mess with her and that she needs to be respected more. I was sick of how the Eleutians male only sees women as the breeding stock, and I was glad that Kitlyn showed them that women can do a lot more than just giving birth and that women shouldn’t be treated like they doesn’t hold any importance at all. The Made One Challenge showed how much she can do and it brings out the genius in her. Aside from that, Kitlyn also has great personality, and she’s a fun character. I was able to learn more about her character, especially about her life back on Earth and what was the accident that caused her a major injury. Despite her being all strong and tough, she also has some flaws. She had to deal with her anxiety and PTSD all by herself, but her confidence and strength makes her stronger and she was able to fight it. Getting over what haunts her won’t be easy, but I admired her ability for being brave enough of facing her own demons.

Rafe is the perfect hero for this story. As much as I want to believe he doesn’t have flaws, I know that he does actually. His character was a little bit complex, and sometimes it was hard for me to read him since he doesn’t always showed his weaknesses. He and Kitlyn are both the well-written characters who gets a great character development. There are times when I disliked him a bit, it was when he couldn’t see the importance of women other than seeing them as a group to give birth to female babies. I got annoyed a lot when he thought women can’t fight and can’t handle basically anything on their own. I admit that he was the worst at first even though he rescued Kitlyn and helped save her life. But I was happy with how the author developed his character later on. I was very skeptical by how the author will try to make his character more likable. Don’t get me wrong, he was pretty likable in the beginning where he was all loving and caring toward Kitlyn and his friends, but it was the part about his perspective towards women that I was feeling so unsure on how the author will change that. I have come to adore him more ever since he changed his perspective about the whole women thingy! I was glad that he finally seen the light and accepted that women can also fight in any battle, and it was thanks to Kitlyn for proving it to him. I liked that he understood her reasoning behind her own action. Rafe might be a bit stubborn and made an awful decision, but he also proved to be a great leader and deserved to become the next alpha of his clan once his father step down from being their leader. What I disliked the most about his character was how he always pull a vanishing act on Kitlyn without leaving a single word for her. I just wanted to scream at him, but there’s always been a reason why he disappeared without a word sometimes. Aside from seeing him guiding Kitlyn and protecting her, and doing his job as a commander, I also get to see his soft side, the one that loved and cared for his own animals. He has a big heart and just awesome in a lot of ways despite all his flaws.

The Alchemics are the main villain of the story. Even though they didn’t showed the evil side of them, but their actions alone proved just how evil they are. They keep experimenting on humans and altering the human’s body—like how they did to Kit—and has sinister agenda. They don’t have any magical powers/abilities, they are just genius scientists who had done a lot of bad things. The fact that they had to forbid the clans in Eleutia from using their own respective old magic makes me laugh. How petty and jealous can they be to forbid those clans from using magic in order to help save the lives of others! The way I see it, The Alchemics didn’t like it if there are others who were powerful than them, they want to make themselves look scary and superior so they forbid everyone from using magic. The ending clearly showed what their motives are, and I get a feeling this won’t be the last of them that we’ll be seeing. The Alchemics remind me of the Dread Doctors from the Teen Wolf tv series a lot, except here The Alchemics doesn’t have supernatural ability that can help them magically appear and disappear. The Alchemics was a well-written villain, they’re not scary, but their agenda makes them awful and looking scary.

The romance in this book was truly beautiful to witnessed, I mean we’re talking about Rafe and Kit over here. These two really moved from being strangers to lovers so fast. The first kiss they shared was a bit awkward and out of place to me. I was worried that there will be zero development for their relationship since they have a little build up, but I was happy to see the author gave them a proper development for their relationship. They do have great chemistry since the beginning, and anybody can see that they belong together. Even though they spend too much time together, at least their romance didn’t overshadowed the plot. I was a bit worried about that for a second there. They were a great pairing. I was just glad that there are no love triangles at all and that both of them are loyal to each other. Their relationship was something that I admired.

The book wasn’t too long or too short, it was just perfect as it is. I truly enjoyed it from the very first page, and I definitely recommend it. If you love an adult fantasy story full of great and lovable characters, amazing heroine, a caring hero, and intense actions, then I suggest you to try pick up this one. And lastly, the snippet of the sequel showed it will focus on Kitlyn’s other sister, so I’m looking forward to see what her adventure will be like.


AUTHOR BIO

Vicki‘s fantasy romantic suspense series, The Afterworld Chronicles, launched with Chest of Bone, followed by Chest of Stone and Chest of Time. She is currently pounding the keys on her series’ fourth novel, Chest of Fire, and the first in a new series, The Made Ones Saga: Altered.

Her mystery/thrillers include Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Bone Man, and The Grief Shop, a Daphne du Maurier prize winner. All feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte. All are available as ebooks.

She co-wrote with Lisa Souza and photographed the 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. With her late husband, William G. Tapply, she ran The Writers Studio workshops in creative fiction.

Vicki taught fiction writing and modern media writing at Clark University. She loves both a well-crafted sentence and unlocking the doors of a student’s imagination.

She grew up in professional theater and planned to become an actress, with a bent for song and dance. She didn’t. Instead, she’s been a professional photographer, a high-school teacher, a hamburger slinger, a scuba-shop manager, and an editor. She’s Blake’s and Ben’s mom, her favorite role of all.

Her passions include scuba diving and fly fishing and knitting, photography and movies, vinho verde and bourbon (not together), Maine lobster and chocolate (also not together), and musical comedy scores, which she sing in the shower, unfortunately not an Equity venue, and a fascination with people in all walks of life.

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5 thoughts on “[BLOG TOUR+REVIEW] ALTERED BY VICKI STIEFEL

  1. xpressoreads says:

    Lovely review, Deekay! This sounds like such a well written read – the world building especially. And with a lot of excitement overall! Glad you liked it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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