The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard
Author: Amalie Howard Website|Twitter
Published: 2 January 2014 (Strange Chemistry)
Format: Kindle e-book (ARC)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Source: Received free copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Strange Chemistry!
Plot Summary (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.
The Almost Girl follow Riven who has been sent to Earth to track down one of the heirs to the throne of her home planet Neospes, only when she meets Caden she discovers that all is not as it seems.
The book started out okay for me. There's a snappy prologue which features a chase scene set three years before the main story, and it did a great job at hooking me in with the action. Then it jumps into part one which is three years later and sees Riven taking up her place in a new school on Earth. I did like the beginning because it had me intrigued. I wanted to know more about that world we'd been introduced to briefly in that opening to the book, and how that related to what Riven was doing in her present situation. Usually if a book has me asking questions that early on then it's a good sign.
Soon, however, what started off as curiosity turned into plain confusion. I quickly felt like I was rushing to catch up with the story. It seemed like every character wasn't what they seemed or who they seemed, which made it hard to keep track of who they really were and what their relevance to the story was. I also had problems with the world building and exposition. Even up to 80% into the book things were still having to be explained and new people introduced so I never quite felt settled in that world.
I think one of the problems I had which made it difficult for me to follow what was happening is that Riven herself is so knowledgeable and smart, which means everything described from her point of view is done so as if it's really obvious. I mean at times I really admired her as a character because she is intelligent and is great in those action packed fight scenes, but I couldn't warm to her when the self-assured nature turned started to come across as cocky and arrogant.
The main focus of the story is that Riven must find Caden and return him home. When I reached Part Two of The Almost Girl I started to warm to this plotline a bit more, because we get to see Riven and Caden bonding. Up until that point I had been struggling to connect with the characters at all which was really starting to spoil my enjoyment of the story, but the survival element of this part of the book did give me something to cling onto.
Whilst there were bits of The Almost Girl that I liked, I spent most of the book feeling confused about what was going on, and then that confusion lead to disinterest as I struggled to keep up. There were plenty of plot twists, but instead of drawing me back into the story I found a lot of them to be over-dramatic and one step too far. It felt a bit like a soap opera trying to keep up with who was really who and whether they were good or evil or just what ridiculous twist would happen next.
I think this book would appeal to certain readers for example people who like their books action packed with lots of fight and escape scenes. And I think sci-fi fans will love some of the ideas in there, for example I liked the idea of the Vectors, reanimated human slash drone things that Riven spends a lot of her time escaping from. Overall I just don't think enough things clicked for me and it couldn't really hold my attention. This is the first book in a duology but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this one enough to carry on with the second book.
What to read next: Waterfell by Amalie Howard
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