The Modified by C.A. Kunz is another book on my #UtopYA2014 reading list.
Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions.
After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen year old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life.
This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project, undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams.
As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training.
With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction.
The Modified had everything to be a great dystopian novel, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. I felt like there were a few key things missing that would have really put this book on the map.
First, this book was written by a Mother-Son team, which is so unique and I have to give mad props for that kind of passion and coordination. However, that may be the reason this story felt a little disjointed.
I loved the premise for this novel. The idea of a war with an alien race and recruiting the best of the best to train for battle was compelling. I really enjoyed the different kind of powers they were given, which made for an action-packed story. The world building around the characters was spot on. It’s when you get to the relationships between the characters that it fell short.
Kenley is a strong, female heroine. The way she missed her brother who was killed in battle was a believable and heartbreaking characteristic. However, her relationship with Joey, the guy best friend, and her love interest, Landon, who were both alive, seemed too forced. For example, Joey only seemed to be in the picture if he was needed for the scene. Nothing is really done to grow his character, the reader is just informed as the story goes on. With Landon, there was no chemistry between Kenley and Landon. Their stolen kisses seemed awkwardly placed and lacked description to capture the emotion of the moment. I feel like if these relationships were better cultivated it would add a whole other dimension to the story.
I did enjoy the story itself, but I felt like an outsider looking in, not as part of the story or characters. The story had chronological momentum that had edges that needed to be smoothed to prevent the “and then..and then” type of story telling, where it always jumps to the next set of actions without stopping to check in with the feelings or status of the characters.
The Modified is the first book in a series. I’m not sure if I’ll read the next book, but we’ll see.
STARS: 3 out of 5