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Book Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

Published by Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot), 2nd January.

The Almost GirlGoodreads Synopsis (condensed): 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.
My Review: The Almost Girl was a book I was really interesting in reading just by the synopsis. When I saw the gorgeous cover, I was even more excited! The Almost Girl is a Sci-Fi, epic adventure, that I had really high hopes for. It was a great read, but there were a few faults that I had with it. The world building is absolutely brilliant: I think that was definitely my favourite part of the novel! The idea of a technologically advanced, parallel universe, had me really intrigued. I haven’t read much like that before and loved the concept that a girl from this Sci Fi world had travelled to our Earth, to conduct a search. I loved the Vectors, too: Almost like zombies- re-animated dead bodies programmed to be killers. Terrifying. It was all really vivid and real.

I thought it would be very action-packed (and it was, a lot) but there were also contemporary themes of teenage rivalry, tension, etc. I wasn’t really expecting that, but liked that addition at first. I grew to dislike slightly, further into the story. Riven’s been explained as this ruthless soldier, but suddenly, about halfway through the book, she’s developed all of these complex emotions and… I didn’t really get it! She was a great character a lot of the time, but I found her personality pretty confusing. Another thing that confused me a lot was the whole Cale/Caden thing. Two characters, completely alike, with similar sounding names? So hard to keep track of… It made it hard for me to understand their relationships with Riven. That made me enjoy the story less, which I’m really sad about. If i’d found it explained better, I think I would’ve liked it even more.

I found the story hard to get into. The prologue really drew me in; Amalie’s narrative hooks and air of mystery in her writing had me really curious! After the first few chapters, to about 175 pages in, I found I wasn’t that hooked anymore. I decided to leave the book for a while and come back to it later. I did so, and  found the next parts much better! I became completely engrossed in the story and addicted to Amalie’s writing. Then, in the last fifty pages, I didn’t feel that anymore. Maybe I wasn’t entirely in the mood for a sci-fi, maybe the plot was just at its best in the middle… I’m not sure!

Overall, The Almost Girl was a fun read. It’s an epic Sci-Fi concept that really interested me. I really couldn’t get into some parts… This book took me about a week to get through. However, it did definitely have its action packed, engrossing parts, so I did enjoy a large amount of it. The characters, and their backgrounds and ties with each other, were pretty confusing to me. They were hard to follow at points! However, some of the genius plot twists in the middle and the world building definitely made up for it. A complex read, but also really original. I think a lot of Sci-Fi fans will love it.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Almost Girl from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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