Monday, January 20, 2014

ARC Review: The Almost Girl

Monday, January 20, 2014
Title: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Genre/s: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action
Released Date: January 7, 2013
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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?

My Thoughts:

With intricate plot, astounding world-building and bad-ass fight scenes, Amalie Howard's The Almost Girl is an un-put-down-able read that will make you gasp, swoon, scream and cry. 

Riven was one of the best soldier of Neospes. She proved that by being a General at the age of 14 and by being the Prince's personal bodyguard. But because of a secret mission, she has to become a defector, leave her world, and find the Prince's long-lost brother, Caden who was in Earth. Fast forward to three years later, Riven was running out of time - her body was slowly deteriorating and showing the side effects of evertion, jumping between two worlds. But just when she thought her luck was running out, that's when their paths collide. 

Riven instantly intrigued me the moment the story started. She was a tough and kick-ass character but she's as cold as an iceberg. As I got further into her story, I felt so much sadness and sympathy towards her. Riven has been through a lot of hardships while she was growing up - she endured a lot of rigorous training, killed a lot of people in cold blood and became a Legion General to an army of super reanimated corpse soldiers called Vector. As a soldier, it was instilled to her that emotions are useless, that she should never let it affect her judgment and her duty. She has to grow up quickly in order for her to survive in a tought world like Neospes. But living in Earth for three years changed her a lot, not just physically but also emotionally. It was amazing to see how her character developed from a cold-hearted soldier, who obey orders like a Vector, to a compassionate individual, who will fight for what is right.

But of course, I have to give Caden some credits for Riven's development too. He was a charming guy and he used those charm of his to slowly melt the ice that enveloped Riven's heart. I wasn't in love with their romance, though but I like their chemistry a lot especially when they banter. Aside from Shae, who caused me to tear up a bit with her letter, the other characters were not memorable enough for me to mention and was like chess pieces that can be sacrificed anytime.

The world-building was really impressive and well-thought out that I can picture myself living in it. I also fell in love with the technology of Neospes like the highly-advanced Vector suits that has built-in 3D hologram map and has thermo-responsive capabilities, able to adjust to any types of weather to maintain constant body temperature. The fight scenes were also amazing and for an action-lover, it's a two thumbs-up for me. The surprises and revelation from almost every chapter also makes this book a lot more engaging and interesting. It's like breaking down walls after walls of lies and secret, and finally finding the truth hidden behind them. The complexity of the plot and how everything was inter-connected was really well-done. I can't wait to read what will happen next to this series.

Overall, The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard is an awesome book that sets a pretty high stardard for this year's YA sci-fi novels. I'd highly recommend this book to sci-fi enthusiast and to everyone who likes parallel worlds, clones, nanobots and a jampacked action read.

My Rating
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange of honest review. (Thanks, Strange Chemistry!)
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