I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Strange Chemistry on January 7, 2014
Source: the publisher
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 was such an amazing read, I couldn’t put it down. I basically read the entire book in one day. Right away, the prologue pulled me into the story and refused to let go. Amalie Howard does an amazing job of jumping right into the plot, keeping a fast-pace from start to finish. The second half, especially, has revelation after revelation! Some I saw coming and some caught me completely by surprise!
I absolutely adored Riven. She is a tough-as-nails character with a spunky attitude. She is very determined and strong – definitely NOT a damsel in distress. She can take care of herself and protect herself. We need more characters like this in young adult fiction! Riven definitely goes through a LOT in this book. She grew up in Neospes, a place that is the polar opposite of Earth. She had a rough childhood – and childhood is very different in Neospes to begin with!
The revelations Riven deals with in the second half of the book are pretty insane, but Riven holds herself together well, considering. Two revelations, in particular, really threw me for a loop. I definitely had my suspicions, but it’s still nice to get that confirmation.
Caden was an interesting character. I was a bit indifferent towards him in the beginning. He was sarcastic and playful, if not a bit cheesy. But about halfway through, he really began to come into his own. I loved that he was a fencer (I’m not sure why, but I find that to be a fascinating sport and I love when authors have it in their books) and I loved how that helped him later in the story. He took everything he learned in stride.
I can’t stress enough that the revelations in the second half of the book were insane! And the revelations Caden faced were no exception! I thought I had everything figured out – and then Howard pulled the rug out from under us and I was completely mind-blown by what we found out.
I loved the banter between Riven and Caden. I enjoyed the slow-build up with their relationship. There was definitely insta-attraction, but it took awhile for Riven to come to terms with her feelings for Caden.
Another character I loved was Shae. She was hilarious, strong and always prepared. I loved her relationship/banter with Caden and I loved seeing her and Riven interact. I don’t want to give too much away, so I can’t say much more than that. I also loved June and Mrs. Taylor – the revelations with them were pretty crazy, though I definitely had my suspicions about them. I hated Sadie, but that was to be expected, since she was the “mean girl.” Also, Riven’s father? Insane. Riven describes him as a “madman,” and that’s definitely accurate.
I know I keep using the word “revelation” and it’s probably a little repetitive at this point, but there were just so many revelations, especially from the 50% mark until the end. It was literally one after another! It definitely keeps you on your feet! They made the ending pretty crazy. Some of them ripped my heart out, though, and I CANNOT wait for the second book (which will be out later this year, I believe) because I need to see what happens next! I definitely, definitely recommend this book!