The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Series: The Riven Chronicles, #1
Seventeen-year-old Riven comes from a world parallel to Earth, a world that has been ravaged by a devastating android war. As a Legion General, she is the right hand of Prince Cale, the young Prince of Neospes. In her world, she's had everything: rank, responsibility, and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to rescue his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.
Armed with the mindset of a soldier and racing against time to bring Caden home, Riven must learn how to blend in as a girl in a realm that is the opposite of all she's ever known. Will she be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?
This book was provided by Strange Chemistry through NetGalley for an honest review.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Amalie Howard's The Almost Girl. I went into reading this with no expectations, good or bad, and was caught unaware as it sucked me in by the very first page. I've always loved the idea of parallel universes so reading a book which uses the concepts as well as moving between the two worlds was right up my alley.
"The slight figure is lithe and quick, a shadow of a shadow in the darkness. It runs along the edgy gloom of the halogen-lit streets, flying over electric fences and scaling walls with the practiced ease of a skilled athlete. One would never suspect that it was being chased by an entire army of soldiers, but it was, several hundred of them."
Riven is the most feared soldier in all of Neospes, where she is Legion General, the right hand of the crown prince Cale. When Cale falls ill, she is tasked with going to the Otherworld--Earth--to find his brother Caden and bring him home as quickly as possible. However, she wasn't expecting it to take two years to find him. Or to find him insanely attractive when she does. She has one mission: to get Caden back to Neospes. Even if that means becoming a traitor.
I found Riven's story to be quite an entertaining one. She is incredibly fierce and kick-ass. She could take on anyone and come out on top. You don't become Legion General at the age of fourteen by being a wimp. Her entire life, all she's known is fighting and training and being taught how to stay alive in a world that's constantly trying to kill you. Because in Riven's world, letting your guard down, even for a second, means imminent death. While her world is more technologically advanced than ours, it is also harsher. It is a world where all creatures are out for survival. Kill or be killed. It is a world where dead bodies are reanimated into beings called Vectors.
"The Vectors are one of the most-feared and worst creations of my world. They are engineered creatures, made from human corpses ... reanimated dead beings with one purpose. To hunt and to kill."
One would see why adjusting to life on Earth is so difficult for her. I loved watching her grow from the person she was when she first meets Caden to the time she returns to Neospes because it's such a transformation. To go from being this cold and calculating "machine" to someone who can actually show her feelings and not consider them as a weakness but a strength.
"I'm death in a girl's body. It stands to reason that people will hate me."
The only thing that bothered me about The Almost Girl was how in the beginning Riven would briefly mention something important to the story, but she would never elaborate on it so you had no idea who Cale was or who Caden was or what exactly her mission was and why it was so important. You just knew she had to find this Caden guy. And she would mention Vectors, or things about her home but she would never go into any kind of detail and that really bothered me. If it's mentioned, I need some kind of explanation as to what it is or what's going on. I hate being left in the dark for seemingly unnecessary reasons, and as I read on, I realized that there really wasn't a point to her never telling why she was there. It was just this big mystery without a purpose to it. I do realize that the copy I read is an ARC so perhaps in the finished copy that was cleared up, however, I'm reviewing the ARC so I'm going to mention it.
Amalie's writing style is very easy to read. It flows so well. Normally while reading, I'm constantly thinking of how sentences could have flowed better, or been written differently, but I didn't really do that with The Almost Girl. It wasn't repetitive, but very detailed and descriptive. The ending however did feel a bit rushed and I thought it could have been drawn out more. Again, that could be different in the finished copy but I would have loved for the moment between Caden and Riven to have been longer. I didn't really feel much closure at the end. I know it's a series, but it could have been tied up a little more neatly than it was.
Oh yes, I haven't mentioned Caden. He is definitely on my fictional boyfriend list now. He's one of the better book boyfriends I've seen in a while. He's just got this swoonworthy sweet-natured, boy-next-door-but-I-can-kick-your-ass-if-I-have-to personality that I adored and I can't wait to read more about him. I'm really curious to see what happens with him after the ending. His life is about to become turned completely around and I'm interested in seeing how he handles it.
Overall, The Almost Girl was a compelling read, drawing me in from the very first page and keeping my attention all the way through with action and romance intermingling. I'm excited to see where the next installment takes us.
The Riven Chronicles
About Amalie Howard
AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead.
She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.
Quotes"I don't get it; why dead bodies?"
"Easier to control than live ones, I expect."
"Everyone is an enemy until they prove otherwise."
"Life is for the living, and death is for the dead."