Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: January 7th 2014
My Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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? (from Goodreads)
The Almost Girl was an enjoyable read, and though I had a few issues with it, I'm invested in the characters and will probably be reading the next book.
Riven was a pretty interesting main character. There was a lot we didn't know about her at the start - the first time we were introduced to her was in the prologue set a few years before, where she was running from some kind of compound and everyone was referring to her as "General". I was impressed that a fourteen year old had managed to achieve "General" rank already, but we didn't really find out what the prologue meant until a bit later on - so that kept me intrigued. I did think she had a lot of issues she needed to sort out - she was definitely too judgemental and I didn't like the way she just labelled other people sometimes. But I think a lot of her problems stemmed from her horrible childhood - the death of her mother, her separation from her sister and her despicable father who was obsessed making her a perfect soldier, and now a mission to save her best friend Cale... She sort of had to become harsh and cynical and unfeeling in order to survive. As the book went on, she did start to express emotion more and became more accepting of herself.
I wasn't too impressed by Caden, who was the love interest. I didn't like the way he treated his girlfriend, he said "you're not like other girls" to Riven, which to me is not a compliment and just insults all other women for no reason, he barely questioned anything that happened and I just felt like the whole relationship was a bit insta-lovey They literally knew hardly anything about each other. Caden wasn't a terrible person and I didn't hate him, but eh. I feel like he should have been a bit more "what the HELL is going on right now" instead of just following everyone. And why was he with his girlfriend if he didn't even like her? I get that we were supposed to see her as someone "not nice", but did he not feel the slightest bit of guilt for going after Riven when he was still with someone else? Just ugh.
Plot-wise, I liked the settings and the different structures of the two worlds, but I found a lot of things were very predictable. I guessed about Cale from the start and how he and Caden were truly connected. I guessed the purpose of Riven's mission very early on. Even though I was intrigued by Riven's mystery and secrets, I pretty much had it figured out way before it was revealed. There were a few interesting twists, but most of it wasn't hard to work out. It was a bit of a shame, but at least the book was still fast-paced and pretty action-packed, which helped make up for it. I did feel like things were resolved a bit too quickly at the end, though I am intrigued to find out what happens in future books. I still have a few questions, such as (spoiler: why Caden was cloned) which will hopefully be answered.
Overall, The Almost Girl was a decent read with an interesting premise and a lot of good action scenes. The romance was a bit cheesy for me, but if you can ignore than, then definitely give this book a go.