Author: Amalie Howard
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for the advance copy of this book.
I should learn not to force myself to finish books if I am not enjoying them. There’s a part of me that says “Well, may be it will change its tune and get better.” I always try to give the benefit of the doubt if it’s an author I’ve never read before.
The Almost Girl‘s premise is misleading, and with good reason: the book is completely all over the place. It never finds its set tone and has such convoluted world-building. Truthfully, I never understood even as I was reading why I should care about the high school aspects in what was labelled a very futuristic story. The problem is, the futuristic side of the story is just so messy and all over the place that its hard to tell really what kind of story Howard was trying to tell.
A lot of what happens in this novel, despite being confusing sometimes, is also strangely familiar and easily predictable. Riven is special, then not special, then special, and the cycle simply repeats itself. In fact, I had a lot of problems with Riven. She comes across flat, one dimensional and just plain boring to read through the eyes of. She also suffers from insane melodrama based on everything she comes into contact with. I’m fine with melodrama, but we get so much back and forth with macguffin reasons behind her sister’s “death”, the relationship she has with her and her family, and Howard gives too much of the run around without good reason for it.
I struggled because these characters didn’t make me care about their causes. In a lot of situations I found myself shaking my head at all the insta-love and forced flaws on the characters. They never felt genuine, and if anything they were boring and uninspired. I didn’t care about Shae and Riven’s relationship, I didn’t care about the romance, I was mad that the story gave me nothing to get invested in.
And then there is the writing. It’s flat on all sides, no matter which way you slice it. I’ve heard great things about Howard’s writing, particularly her description, but this book made me feel so lost sometimes, and to the point where I was frustrated more than anything. I wanted more from this world and these characters! The pacing in this book moves at lightning speeds though I felt lost when one minute I was in high school and the next in futuristic-land. There’s no ease in the change of scenes which bothered me as well.
This cover is so beautiful, yet the contents inside are for a special kind of reader. One who’s okay with suspension of disbelief. I’m usually fine with that, but this book never felt like it had a genuine stride and I never found myself caring about the contents within it. I just can’t recommend The Almost Girl — the writing is dull, the characters are flat, and the plot is too messy to make sense of.