Title: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot imprint)
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. 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 to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory. She 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. 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.
The Almost Girl is a fast-paced science-fiction tale with many layers, layers of motives, missions, and truths. A soldier from another world is on a dangerous mission, one she can't fail, one she won't let herself fail. One that will reveal what she never thought could be true.
Riven has one purpose, one job. She must find Caden somewhere on Earth and take him back to Neospes. Cale needs him, and Riven will do anything for Cale. She's a soldier, harsh, unyielding, strong, skilled. She will not fail. But certain people appear, some from her past, some with questions and answers, and Riven begins to question what she knows. Is what she knows to be true still true? Is Caden just a mission? Is she just a soldier?
She's pulled in multiple directions at every turn. Her mission for Cale, her best friend. The similarities and connection she appears to have for Caden when she knows he's just a job. The reappearance of her sister, how they both trust and hate each other. She has doubts about almost everything and everyone right up until the end, until she learns something rather specific about herself. Until she then doubts herself.
I found the story to be interesting, but I found something missing that I think stems more from my own reading experience (reading this on an e-reader as opposed to reading a physical book). I think that's why this book didn't grab my attention as much as I thought it would. I still found the pacing to be good, it kept up with the action. Going into this book, I didn't know it was the first in a duology. The ending was left open for the second book, but I was hoping this would be a standalone. Still, I'd like to know what happens to Riven in the next book.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Angry Robot through NetGalley.)