Release date: January 7, 2014
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 first thought that comes to my mind after reading The Almost Girl is that it had really good story-building. Alternate universes, with one technologically far ahead of ours, from where a duty-bound soldier girl comes into ours. Also, in that world, children are brought up differently, and basically are trained from birth. Riven is one such kid – strong, warrior type – and taught that love is weakness. So, she basically stifles all emotion inside and is constantly at war with herself. She comes off as cold most of the times and while that was frustrating, it was also heart-breaking.
The plot-line was intricate, with a few surprises but also some expected tropes. Also, the name pretty much gives away Riven’s secret and Caden’s role is one I suspected from the start, considering the other unethical (for our universe) developments in Neospes. Character development was excellent and the flow of the story was fast-paced but smooth. The story was riveting, and I stayed up until 4am to complete it because, damn, I wanted to confirm my suspicions. *wink* The canon was genius, with the Guardians, Eversion and Vectors. Is it just me or Riven’s dad seems like Dr. Frankenstein? Ending was good, quite unexpected and I loved the twist at the end.
Emotionally, I would say I wasn’t much invested in the book – there was still a bit of disconnect with the protagonists and the characters. Even though it was well-written, it did not feel so real. Also, I felt a bit of discrepancies with respect to the timeline, especially when her sister ran away. For a fast-paced read, it is quite good and the ending leaves you wanting for the next one.
Received a review copy from Strange Chemistry via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review