Sunday, 29 December 2013

Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

Title: The Almost Girl (The Almost Girl #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Release date: January 7th 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 238
Source: NetGalley

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 great sci-fi novel with cool action, a tough protagonist and some really intense secrets. I've always loved the concept of parallel universes, so it was great seeing that in this book. However, though I did enjoy reading this one, I had a few issues with it as well.

Riven is sent to Earth by her liege lord, Cale, in order to find his brother. She was a Legion General before she left - meaning she controlled the Vector soldiers. But after defecting to Earth, Riven is no longer in Neospes' good books. She has to watch her back for Vectors as well as try to find Caden before it's too late. Except when she does find him, she realizes he's nothing like what she expected. And Riven finds herself becoming more human that she ever thought possible.

I expected things to start off in Neospes, but all we get to see is Earth for the first half of the novel. I wish we could've seen Neospes in the beginning, because I felt that would have sparked more interest. We don't get much of a backstory either, and I need that especially with sci-fi or dystopian novels. But regardless, the latter half of the novel (which is based in Neospes) was really great. It just unfortunately didn't completely make up for the dismal first half.

I loved Riven's character initially. She seemed like just the kind of protagonist I like - tough, smart, takes no crap from anyone. I found it so amusing how unfamiliar she was with everyday Earth stuff! There were a couple of things that bothered me about her, though. She seems like the opposite of curious. Someone would tell her something and ask why she never questioned it before, and she'd ask why she should have. It felt unnatural to me, that such a headstrong person would obey orders without questioning anything. I get that curiosity is a human trait, but Riven's lack of it hindered my connection with her. Also, I didn't like how she treated Caden throughout the novel. One second she'd treat him like crap, and the next second she'd want to throw herself at him.

Speaking of Caden. He's kind of like the sunshine in a dark cave. He's honest, open, vulnerable, and everything Riven's not. And she's immediately intrigued. Caden knows nothing about his origins, so I can't imagine what it was like for him to find out everything in one go. He's a little soft in the first half, but in the second he really steps up. His character development is great, and he gains confidence and courage. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how he develops further in the next book!

I wish we could have seen Cale in the beginning as well, because the Cale we meet towards the end of the novel is a far cry from the strong, caring boy described by Riven throughout. I was a bit disappointed with that since I'd conjured up my own image of him as Riven talked about him, and it completely shattered later on. But maybe in the next book we'll find out more background on everything.

There are a lot of surprises in this book - some predictable, some you'll never see coming no matter how far you look. As I've mentioned, I really liked the sci-fi aspects of The Almost Girl, and the suspense is heart-pounding. I loved the climax, which was written amazingly well, so of course I'm looking forward to the next book. Especially after that ending! If you like sci-fi, I think you should check this one out - even if it's just for Caden!

*Thank you to Strange Chemistry for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. I'm starting this one tonight so I'm glad to see you enjoyed, despite some issues. I have loved all of Amalie's books in the past so I cant wait to see what she does with this one. Great review!

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