Official Review: Altered Reality by Joel Knox

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Vickie Noel
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Latest Review: Altered Reality by Joel Knox
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Official Review: Altered Reality by Joel Knox

Post by Vickie Noel » 10 Aug 2018, 19:25

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Altered Reality" by Joel Knox.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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If you love Avengers, X-men, Justice League and the likes, welcome aboard! I can definitely see Altered Reality by Joel Knox evolving into a blockbuster motion picture. The book is classified under the CTMH genre with elements of urban fantasy. Despite being a sequel to “The Alter” in the Alter series, Altered Reality can be read as a stand-alone comfortably. In my case, it has made me curious to meet the Alter at the same time its body companion did in the first book.

The story starts with the air heavy, danger brewing close by. The keen observer scans the area, calculating his precise steps. I feel my heartbeat increase as he approaches his target. The man is James Hyde, possessing an uncanny “creature” inside of him. It is addressed as “The Alter or Rakshasa.” In looks, The Alter brings to mind the picture of “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Thing” in the movies Avengers and Fantastic Four respectively. Perhaps due to the protagonist’s name, I couldn’t help remembering the old story, "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," wherein James is the good guy while his Alter is bloodthirsty. The difference is that the latter pair worked together, relinquishing body control at appropriate times, while the former did not. This made “them” really grow on me.

The temple in Hong Kong is the home to all alters- people born with supernatural abilities. The key players include but are not limited to: James Hyde a.k.a The Alter, the most physically dominating of all; Marcos Mansilla, who can pass through any surface; Sergei, whose body could metamorphose into rocks of any shape or size and Cora, who controlled electricity in the atmosphere. Life isn’t all cupcakes and chocolate at the temple though; a storm is brewing, bringing with it divisive factions. James, at the opening scene, is on a mission to gather information about fellow alters and the covert collaborations certain private organizations were making with government officials to their detriment. This is when we first get a glimpse of his unusual abilities, brought to life by his personal rakshasa.

Maurice Street is a top government official working with the CIA who happens to know Hyde and his alter after personal encounters with “them.” Maurice shows up at a crime scene a few minutes after James did. There has been a massacre at St. Martins Detention Center, carried out by an assault team with a sole purpose: abducting Samuel Barkley. Samuel is a fifteen-year-old boy who uses his powers to bully the boys at the detention center. But as the story unfolds, he is much more capable of bigger feats. Yod, the spiritual leader at the temple, had a vision regarding Samuel standing “upon a pile…of bodies. A mountain of bodies.” James is entrusted with the responsibility of finding Samuel and helping him harness his power for use in the appropriate way. But the teenager has different ideas, being particularly averse to receiving instructions.

The antagonist, known simply as “The Man,” is a rich and powerful entrepreneur who has his own concept of “the nation’s best interests.” He aims to capture alters and use them as lab rats to achieve his ultimate goal. Will James be able to convince Samuel to join them before The Man gets him all twisted up? Can the temple survive its internal storm? Does Yod’s prophesy concerning Samuel come true? Will The Man accomplish his terrible objectives? What about Samuel’s father, who gave his son up to life at varying detention centers after tragedy struck his home? Who is Mei Ling and how does her power come into play? All these questions and a whole lot more are answered in this fast-paced thriller.

Racing through Asia and America, the characters are always on the move, especially James, Maurice and Samuel. The major themes are of greed, exploitation and self- sacrifice. Sam’s greed for power and absolute control leads him to exploit people by means of his abilities, bending their minds against their will. James’ self sacrifice shines through when he refuses to allow Ivan and Cora accompany him in his fight for Hope. Noy and Phillippe stand at the front line of the temple battle to help the others make a clean break for their lives.

I can’t complain about this work. Altered Reality is full of unexpected twists. Although the “whodunnit” characters and those having friction are revealed halfway through the story, there are several other small connections gradually being pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle as the plot speeds along. The writing style is simple yet rich, doused with occasional humorous descriptions. Most of these are of individual character reactions to seeing the alter at work during a power tussle. The introduction of new characters is done in a clear manner such that there are no mix-ups or complications. Aside from a few insignificant errors involving singular and plurals, wrong or omitted words and one omitted scene break, the book is professionally edited. My only issue with Altered Reality is the author’s penchant for violence. Knox seems to relish the gory details, dishing them out in varying styles ranging from severe gunshot mutilation, sword/knife fights and body dismemberment by the alters when in battle. Any who is perturbed by such vividly-described sensitive material should head in the opposite direction or, at the very least, be prepared to skip a lot of pages.

On this final note, I rate Altered Reality 4 out of 4 stars.

******
Altered Reality
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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 12 Aug 2018, 07:47

I like how this book has the resemblance of X-men movie but I have a problem with the gory details and it bothers me so much. I have to pass this book and I believe those who enjoy crime and thriller genres will surely find enjoyment in reading this book. Thank you for your detailed review of this book.
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Post by CambaReviewer » 12 Aug 2018, 11:49

Thanks for an insightful review! I like the idea of a jigsaw puzzle being pieced together towards the end of the book despite the whodunnit being revealed earlier on. I will like to read this!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 12 Aug 2018, 14:34

I'm not a fan of the gory details described, but I appreciate your candid review.

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Post by Taekwondoqueen » 13 Aug 2018, 09:44

This sounds like a very enticing book. I must say, you did a wonderful job at describing it and I think that you will go far with your wonderful writing. I have put this book on my to read bookshelf, so I hope that I enjoy this book as much as you enjoyed it! Thank you so very much for writing this review, I will look for some more of your work.

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Post by OloladeO » 16 Aug 2018, 05:25

Cover looks really spooky! I'll definitely skip the pages of violence as I am not a fan. Thanks for the review.

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Post by JuliaKay » 23 Aug 2018, 18:02

This book does sound like it would make a great movie, and I would be interested in reading the first novel as well. However, I am not a fan of too much gore, so I'm not sure how much I would enjoy that aspect of it. Thank you for the review.
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Post by LV2R » 23 Aug 2018, 19:02

Thank you for your very thorough review of Altered Reality. The book cover looks quite scary, but as you described James and the others of their special abilities, comparing them to The Hulk and The X-men, it may not be so scary. It sounds like there are a lot of characters that the author introduces clearly. You also gave a good introduction to the characters.

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Post by JudasFm » 23 Aug 2018, 19:41

I don't mind gore so long as it's not gorn, and the concept is very interesting! I'd definitely like to read this one! Thanks for an excellent review!

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 23 Aug 2018, 21:31

Thank you for your descriptive review! I have a question to ask! When u compare this read to Marvals and DC comics I believe it belongs to sci-fiction genre why did you put it to C/H/T/M genre?
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Post by Yolimari » 24 Aug 2018, 01:03

Sounds like a great book for fans of superheros. I am not into books with extreme gore and violence, though. Nice review!
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Post by Vickie Noel » 24 Aug 2018, 01:39

ParadoxicalWoman wrote:
12 Aug 2018, 07:47
I like how this book has the resemblance of X-men movie but I have a problem with the gory details and it bothers me so much. I have to pass this book and I believe those who enjoy crime and thriller genres will surely find enjoyment in reading this book. Thank you for your detailed review of this book.
Thanks a lot for reading! It's important to stick with what you're comfortable with, in this our large world of books :lol:
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Vickie Noel
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Latest Review: Altered Reality by Joel Knox
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Post by Vickie Noel » 24 Aug 2018, 01:40

CambaReviewer wrote:
12 Aug 2018, 11:49
Thanks for an insightful review! I like the idea of a jigsaw puzzle being pieced together towards the end of the book despite the whodunnit being revealed earlier on. I will like to read this!
You certainly will enjoy it in that case. Thanks for stopping by!
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Post by Vickie Noel » 24 Aug 2018, 01:41

Cecilia_L wrote:
12 Aug 2018, 14:34
I'm not a fan of the gory details described, but I appreciate your candid review.
Thanks for patiently reading it :tiphat:
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Never be bullied into questioning your own credibility. --- Vickie Noel

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Latest Review: Altered Reality by Joel Knox
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Post by Vickie Noel » 24 Aug 2018, 02:00

Taekwondoqueen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 09:44
This sounds like a very enticing book. I must say, you did a wonderful job at describing it and I think that you will go far with your wonderful writing. I have put this book on my to read bookshelf, so I hope that I enjoy this book as much as you enjoyed it! Thank you so very much for writing this review, I will look for some more of your work.
Wow, I'm deeply touched by the depth of your gracious words. I feel spurred on to do more and I'm grateful for the encouragement. I would love to know the outcome of your read when you do get around to checking out the book! :tiphat:
Stop waiting for what you WANT, start working with what you HAVE. --- Seth Cain
Never be bullied into questioning your own credibility. --- Vickie Noel

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