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Altered Destiny by Shawna Thomas
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Altered Destiny

by Shawna Thomas

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I was really in the mood for a fantasy romance when I picked up ALTERED DESTINY, but it didn't quite satisfy my craving - the romance between Selia and Jaden is intense and prominent in the novel, but they spend an awful lot of time apart. Likewise, the fantasy universe of ALTERED DESTINY contains a few fascinating fantasy elements - I especially loved the White Forest and the radioactive Wastes - but there's more sword than sorcery here by a long shot.

Personally, I would have liked it if Thomas had dialed up the romance and the fantasy elements a little higher. The remainder of the plot ended up being sort of distracting to me for an odd reason: I became increasingly convinced, as I read, that the human/Svistra conflict was a fantasy re-imagining of the Israel/Palestine conflict. For example, check out this little snipped of dialogue from Altered Destiny:

*****

"At one time there were great friendships between Svistra and human."
"How is that possible? The Svistra are no more than animals. Rabid dogs that must be put down to protect the innocent."
"We are what you made us."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Nathan's voice rose.
"Humans took our land, our dignity and our way of life."

*****

There are humans named Oren and Ari, which are common Israeli names. The Svistra are divided into tribes and adopt dishonorable guerrilla tactics. One of the Svistra was named Ledid, which means "delicious" in Arabic (though I think it also has the same meaning in Hebrew). The climax of the novel involves the reparation of territory there's all this discussion about what to do about the settlers and returning to old borders...all I'm saying is, once I had this bee in my bonnet, I couldn't swat it away.

I will stay that this conflict, with it's contemporary resonance, made the star-crossed romance between Selia and Jaden all the more tragic. I really believed that they would be shamed for choosing to love one another no matter where they went, and the deep resentment that the humans feel for the Svistra and the Svistra for the humans is sharply and painfully evoked.
( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
In Altered Destiny, the author, Shawna Thomas, has created a rich fantasy world with warring races. Humans believe the Svistrans are savages, bent on destroying all human life. Tales are spread of the horrific slaughterings and beastly ways of the Svistra. Then Selia rescues Jaden, a Svistra who doesn't quite fit the image she's held all her life of his people.

This story brings to mind the conflict between the colonies and the Native Americans in early America. The Svistra's lands were taken away just as the Native Americans' lands were. The settlers saw the Native Americans as barbarians who thrived on the kill and rumors flew, exaggerating them as monsters. Ms. Thomas shows the same thing happening to the Svistrans. It was an interesting analogy, though it wasn't explored extensively.

The characters were great. Selia is a little spitfire, perhaps a bit too stubborn for her own good. Jaden is strong and patient, with a lot of sexy thrown in for us ladies. Oren, Selia's brother, is a total sweetheart that I just wanted to hug!

Altered Destiny is a good read for fans across the genres. There's fantasy, action and adventure, and some romance thrown in for good measure. A little something for everyone to enjoy!

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. ( )
  NCRainstorm | Nov 25, 2011 |
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