Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

March 22, 2014 3 stars, Book Review 15 ★★★

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 falls into a middle ground for me. One where I can’t always put my finger on the reasons why I only just liked or ok’d it. With a gripping prologue and a suspenseful sounding premise the progression of the book was a bit uneven for me. But then on the flip side when action scenes appeared they were well written and engaging.

Character development!
Again I experienced this flip flop reaction when it came to the characters. Riven was such a strong female lead and a General in the military on her own world, that I found some of her behavior incongruous with what I was expecting. I know, I know I shouldn’t expect a character to behave a certain way, but I’m sure we all have those moments. I did love her character development and how she seems so rock solid in the beginning to being more vulnerable and human towards the end. I’m going to lump my romance thoughts in here and say…It’s there. I’m usually a hit or miss person on the romance in the ya fiction that I read. I love reading young adult books but for some reason I only enjoy about half of the romances that in the ones I read…and if you don’t know already, almost every young adult book features a romance.

Thoughts on editing.
Keeping in mind that I read the advance reader edition of this book, some things may have been changed in the published version. But in the bedroom I read I really felt the book needed more editing. I don’t mean there were typos or anything like that, I just mean a plot or character nudge here, a removed scene there, providing more varied ways of delivering world building information – those sorts of things. I think it had the potential to have been a much smoother and gripping read. I can’t really complain tho because I’m not a writer or editor and wouldn’t know how to accomplish that perfect balance.

World building!
Once we get away from our reality things get good. I struggled more so with the portion that takes place in our reality, but once the characters make it to Neospes my interest was definitely peaked. What a world! The technology and the creepy vector android zombies?, the technology, pretty much everything there had my sci-fi itch jonezing.

Fans of strong young adult heroines and alternate worlds may very well find The Almost Girl to be a winner.

The Almost Girl ( #1)

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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15 Responses to “Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard”

  1. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Eh, don’t you hate it when you feel like books need more editing? I have a bit of trouble with that because I’m USED to editing things on my computer/kindle. So when I’m reading a book on my kindle my brain is like “oooh, let’s find all the mistakes”. Gah. Shut up brain. I’ve kind of half had an eye on this, but, meh.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Things you DIDN’T know about the Notebook SistersMy Profile

    • Pabkins

      You know I don’t even know if that was it, It’s so hard to know what should stay and go or be added. Heck I could never be a writer or an editor. The strain would be too much for me! Its still a good book, i’ve just read some other sci fi ya books lately that I have absolutely loved.
      Pabkins recently posted…Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie HowardMy Profile

  2. Jen- At Random

    It’s like you’re reading my mind lately. You keep reading books that I’m curious about. So thank you! 😛

    I don’t think I’m going to rule this one out. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that some of the plot issues etc were corrected.

    • Pabkins

      Yeah totally! I really try to still read the books I’m interested in because it occurred to me today, whenever I make pacing comments they could be completely different for another reader. Because I read a review today on a book that I had loved and adored the pacing but the other reviewer didn’t like the pacing at all. So its totally not a comment Ill look at mow when considering a book from a review I’ve read that mentions that as a neg.

      It’s awesome I’m hitting up books you’re interested in too! I do need to mix in more old titles too tho!!
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    • Pabkins

      No I didn’t read Waterfell. I don’t have any plans to either. I recognize the name but I guessed it must have never hit my radar much, or I must have passed it over for some reason. I hadn’t realized she wasn’t a debut author until I looked at her author page. 😛

  3. Mogsy

    Ah, another SC book that was middle ground for you, eh? That’s not too bad, still. But here’s hoping your next one will be a decisive win book!
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Well I wouldn’t say ‘meh’ – a 3 star rating in my opinion is still a good book. It’s just average you know? When I think 3 star I think enjoyable but not memorable. how do you consider your 3stars cause I think everyone thinks of them differently.

  4. Pamela D

    I always wonder how different the ARC and final copy are going to be, especially when I get the ARC months and months ahead of schedule. I hope that this book is a bit stronger in the final print.
    Pamela D recently posted…Sunday Update – 3/23My Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I wonder that pretty frequently myself. I’m actually second guessing myself for even putting that editing thoughts comment in there since it was an ARC I mean…I just don’t know. I can’t help thinking that lately though.