Book Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard!

The Almost GirlThe Almost Girl by Amalie Howard
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published: January 7th 2014 by Strange Chemistry Review Copy: Provided via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon -- Barnes & Noble

Description From Goodreads:
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?

My Review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Almost Girl took me awhile to read when I read it back in December. It wasn’t that it was a bad read, because it wasn’t, but it was slow. It seemed like the story would go slow, then a few action scenes would happen, and then the pacing would slow again. And in the slow moments, I found myself struggling to connect with Riven. She was too closed off – too cold. But I’m glad that I kept reading because, once secrets are revealed, the story definitely gets interesting. (Somewhat Spoiler: Although it’s obvious what Riven is from the beginning, the blurb and title kind of give it away.)

What I really liked about The Almost Girl:
1. It’s different from most of what is available in YA fiction. The plot is great, and the setting is interesting and well thought out.
2. Caden and Shae: Even though I think the entire relationship between Riven and Caden developed way too quickly, I still liked him. He was the complete opposite of Riven, so it was a good balance. And Shae, well, I liked her from the beginning.
3. The technology: Howard has clearly thought everything out in this world. The technology was interesting, and I liked reading about it.
4. The relationship between Riven and her mother: The scene when Riven learns the truth is wonderfully written. I enjoyed watching their relationship develop over the course of the story.

While I did enjoy The Almost Girl – and I did – I found myself struggling with the romance. I get that certain relationships were meant to make Riven appear less closed off, but really, the romance with Caden just never seemed believable to me. The “L” word was dropped way too soon, and in all honesty, for me, it took away from the story because it seemed to become the central arc of the entire second half of the book. With such an interesting concept, and a character that’s so different from other YA heroines, the focus on the romance just seemed unnecessary. There’s such an interesting world at the center of this story, I would’ve loved to have seen more focus on that.

I know that I pointed out a few reasons why I didn’t love The Almost Girl, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a book worth reading. I still enjoyed it, and I have every intention of reading any sequels. Would I recommend checking it out? Yeah, if you like science fiction it is worth a read.

Actual rating: I'd probably give this 3.8 stars. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

View all my reviews

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