In 1952, as UFOs appear across the nation, 16-year-old Allana Odette Blair is visited and marked. Still suffering from grief after accidentally killing her twin brother on December 7, 1941, she is considered unstable. Disbelieved and diagnosed with the Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome - after all, anyone claiming to have encountered small grey creatures and who continues to see an ever changeable dead is unable to separate reality from fantasy - she is lured into a relentless game that takes her through portals to other dimensions. Allana struggles to find her place in a world threatened more by human frailties than alien strength.
In this allegorical tale of grief, Allana discovers all is not what it seems, not in the universe, politics, science or religion. A psychological fantasy, this novel is based on actual events.
On Tuesday morning, I downloaded "Changed in the Night". By Friday night, four and a half days later, I had finished, not because I am a fast reader or listener (I'm not) but because pressing pause was just not something I wanted to do! On the surface, "Changed in the Night" is a moving story about lots of things we humans deal with--growing up, sibling rivalry, and family dysfunction. Death, guilt, and regret. Staying sane in an insane world. Carefully developed characters (Great Aunt Grace, Mr. Zee, Eiichi Nakamura) and vivid descriptive details engage you at every turn and make the story work very well on this level. But that's only one level. The human level. Below the surface, the layers are many, running deep and wide. At the core is science. Real science, not junk science. Not science that pulls you away from the narrative and takes you off on long, too-technical tangents. But science skillfully and imaginatively woven into the fabric of the story. At times, you sense the best elements of Hitchcock, the Twilight Zone, and Star Trek. The great questions of life and the universe keep popping up and leave you wondering what's real and what isn't, what's normal and what isn't, what's possible and what isn't. For Mary Ann Easley, this is a triumph, one that will not only entertain and satisfy you, but one that will really get you thinking. Repeated listenings promise new revelations. I love how her story, set in 1952, anticipates all the chip-based technology that permeates today's world. Young readers (and young-at-heart readers) are bound to like that. The quotes from science giants that lead off each chapter are very well-chosen. Also very well-chosen is narrator Kristin Knox, who manages to sound exactly like you would expect Allana Odette to sound. She strikes just the right tone, start to finish, and drives the narrative forward with just the right balance of tension and wonder. What started as a triumph becomes a tour de force! "Changed in the Night" has it all!
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