Published by Strange Chemistry on January 7, 2014
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.
Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.
Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?
“The Almost Girl” is a richly imagined story of defiance, courage, and heart. It is the tale of a girl who finds her own way on her own terms, a girl who won’t let what she is define her, and a girl who will sacrifice everything she is for the ones she loves. It is a story of someone who eclipses her predestined fate to become something more … something extraordinary.
With that awesome cover, a sci-fi story and a kick ass heroine, it was hard not to resist The Almost Girl. Sci-fi seems to be the next big thing on the YA front at the moment, and with words like “android war” and “parallel universe” I had to pick this one up.
If you want a strong heroine, Riven is as tough as they come as a Legion General, sent to Earth to retrieve her target. She has quick healing abilities, super awesome fighting skills, plus endless speed and stamina. Riven kicks major ass, and in this book, she showcases her skills from defeating fearsome Vector soldiers, reanimated corpses who are designed to be soldiers.
Of course things never run as smoothly as expected, as Riven runs into Shae, her sister who is protecting her target. With a complicated past and betrayal in the mix, the two have a lot to sort out the get Cale back to the planet Neospes. Riven also finds herself attracted to Caden, who looks exactly like her lord Cale, and insta-love happens and they are both suddenly in love with each other. I wasn’t really convinced of the romance, especially as Caden’s girlfriend is the blonde mean girl type and Riven is an ice queen with blue/green hair. The two pretty much fall for each other right away, and all of a sudden they are in love which annoying.
The character development also left a bit to be desired and I found myself confused some of the time. I was not sure why Caden was suddenly kicking ass with all these fighting skills that he learnt from Shae, and how easily he accepted Riven and Shae’s explanation from being from a parallel universe. His role further in the book is even more difficult to believe but somehow there was no difficulty accepting it. From the way Shae and Riven were hostile with each other, they were suddenly working together and it seemed like I had missed something again. Riven herself seemed inconsistent, on one hand she’s beating the Vectors but she literally faints 3 times in the book.
What kept me reading was the kickass action and the fast paced sci-fi plot, with the concept of Vectors who are basically reanimated humans being really fascinating and also how they ‘evert’ to another planet. There was also a lot of betrayal, backstabbing and complex family relations between Riven, her family, and even her lord Cale.
After being attacked on Earth and trying to escape from Vectors, the two “evert” to the other planet and the story begins from there. We are then brought to Neospes in the second half which is full of twists and turns. Some I found significant, and others seemed to be randomly thrown in, without any build up of them earlier in the text. I was surprised to find out what an asshole Cale turned out to be, after endless doting and loyalty from Riven.
Overall, The Almost Girl featured some awesome sci-fi world building and kick ass action scenes with a strong heroine, but the inconsistent character development and confusing plot left a few things to be desired.
I received a copy of The Almost Girl from Netgalley and Strange Chemistry in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
About the Author:
A rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, “Bloodspell,” in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers.
A bookworm from the beginning, Howard grew up on a small island in the Caribbean with her nose buried in books. When she was just 13 years old, her poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal, marking a sign of great things to come. Howard immersed herself into other cultures, globetrotting through 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After moving to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and French from Colby College in Maine. She also holds a certificate in French literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Traveling around the world, Howard has lent talents as a research assistant, marketing representative, freelance writer, teen speaker, blogger and global sales executive.
Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.