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Title: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Publication Date: January 2, 2014
My The Almost Girl Pre-Reading
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. But 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?
Review: I love when I stumble across a good sci-fi book. One of those that makes you think and opens up new possibilities for the not-so-distant future. Or maybe even a different spin on the present. The Almost Girl was definitely one of those kinds of sci-fi books, and I'm so glad I read it!
Riven's home world is similar to Earth, but further advanced technologically and pretty much a total wasteland due to the Android Wars. Things outside the city are terrifying, and the "animals" are not totally animal anymore - they're a really scary mix of robot and flesh, and they will kill anything they can find. The temperatures fluctuate drastically during the day, and that alone could kill you. I mean, I would never want to live in a world like that. Just the thought of it, that all of it was caused by an AI uprising, kind of makes me wary of the increasing AI technology we have today. the world building for Neospes is really interesting, and even when Riven isn't there we still learn more about it, which was pretty neat.
The beginning of this book started kind of slow for me. We jump right into Riven's search for Caden, several years after she's been on Earth. It's a little jarring, but I think it all works out because I don't really think starting at the beginning of her search would have added anything. We learn the important parts of those years through Riven's memories and thoughts, and that ended up being good enough. Probably better, even. So if you think it's a little slow or something like that, just give it a few chapters. The pacing picks up, and I really enjoyed getting to know Caden through Riven.
I felt like there was a little bit of instalove going on, but I can't really be too mad about it. Riven and Cale are best friends, so it kind of makes sense that her feelings for Caden develop more quickly than they would for someone else. And Riven is unlike anything Caden has ever seen, so you can't blame him for being interested in her. I enjoyed Riven's inner dialogue and conflicts regarding their relationship too - she goes back and forth between being a soldier completing a mission and being a teenage girl. I loved both sides of her!
There are so many twists and turns that I totally didn't see coming, and Amalie kept me on my toes the whole time. I didn't want to put this book down, and I can't wait to read the next installment. Because the ending of this book... I totally felt for Caden and Riven and I want to know how things work out for them! And also if Riven finds what she's looking for. I totally recommend this book for anyone looking for a fun sci-fi read with excellent world-building, mystery, adventure, a little romance, and all of that jazz. 4/5!