3 out of 4 stars
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Changed is book two in the Made Ones Saga and takes place in a wonderful fantasy world dreamed up by Vicki Stiefel. We briefly meet Breena and Gato in Altered and are now treated to a book dedicated to their romance and challenges. Like her sister in the prior novel, Bree is reborn on the planet of Eleutia and is taken under the protection of the Cat Clan Alpha, Gato. While remade with a younger and healthier body, Bree still retains some of her inner demons from her prior life. Likewise, Gato must deal with a deep secret he has been hiding as the Alchemic Clan holds the life of his brother over his head.
Changed does more than pick up where Altered left off; for a while, the two books parallel each other, showing the same events from a different perspective. The reader is still a party to the efforts of the Wolf Clan to discover why the female birthrate has been plummeting on Eleutia. We also get more glimpses into the whereabouts of the third sister and a broader understanding of the nefarious plans of the Alchemic Clan.
Stiefel does an artful job dovetailing the two stories, making me wish I had read the two books in quick succession to catch all of the nuances of the synchronization. Gato was presented in such an antagonistic light in the prior novel, and I was thoroughly impressed by the fluid way the author justified his behavior and demonstrated his true character in this sequel. Bree is written as a strong woman with a mouth that could make a sailor blush, making it obvious that she isn’t a cookie-cutter copy of her sister.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the superb level of world-building I’ve come to expect from Vicki Stiefel, aspects of Changed seemed a bit rushed. There were a few scenes that appeared to come out of left field, leaving me to wonder what precipitated the overly sudden turmoil. I also noticed more than a handful of typos and a few issues that seemed to come from a rush to meet a deadline. Knowing the care that this author takes in her work, I’m certain that they will be addressed in a subsequent release. These issues did not diminish my enjoyment of this novel.
There is only one thing better than finding a book that allows you to completely lose yourself in its pages: Finding out that it is the first in a series. Changed immerses you in the same wonderful world of Eleutia, full of symbionts, strong heroines, and intrigue. And yes, there are still flying horses. While the characters are different, the same thread of mystery is woven throughout the book. My fingers are itching to get a copy of the third book so I can meet the last sister and find out how the clans will overcome the obstacles placed in their path by the Alchemics. Much like Altered, lovers of romance and fantasy will devour this book with glee. This was another thoroughly enjoyable book by Vicki Stiefel, and I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. Once the grammatical errors are addressed, it will easily garner a perfect score.
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