Watch out for teen cyborgs in ‘The Almost Girl’

17397481The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard
January 7, 2014, Strange Chemistry (Young Adult, Sci-Fi)*

My Rating: Beach vacation.

The Almost Girl is an interesting teen sci-fi thriller. It’s got a little bit of everything: aliens, cyborgs, alternate world, rebel uprising and helping of romance. From the ending, I can only assume that this is the first in a series, of which I will be tuning in for.

Riven is a young woman from an alternate world. She’s been sent to Earth to find Caden, the apparent clone of her ruler, Cale. Riven has always counted on Cale as her friend, especially as her life slowly fell apart after losing her mother, her sister turning her back on her, and her father’s mental instability. So when she, a high-ranking official in the army, is ordered to go to Earth and bring Caden back, regardless of his wishes, she accepts the mission. Of course, when she meets Caden, matters are much more complicated than she ever anticipated. She doesn’t count on actually having feelings for Caden, since she’s never really had them before. The question becomes whether she will exchange her loyalty to Cale for Caden.

My favourite part of The Almost Girl was Riven. Generally, I really enjoy sci-fi so when I heard about this book featuring an emotionless girl who may or may not be a cyborg, I was completely sucked in. And Riven did not disappoint. She really was emotionless and she has a terrible history and has killed. She’s not your typical nice-girl heroine. This brutality is partly expected in her world, but she’s aware that she is different from everyone else in that she does not really feel. It slowly becomes clear why and how she is different but the journey to that point was well plotted. I really enjoyed reading how Riven slowly connected with the more human side of herself.

For me, the least engaging part of the story was Riven’s relationship with Caden. There seemed to be too much of a juxtaposition between the two of them, and I’m not really sure that I buy a relationship between the two of them. Riven was a hard character. She’s done some bad stuff. Caden was so apple-pie compared to her. He was all softness and emotions. In some ways, this was a real reversal of stereotypical gender roles. That facet I liked. And I liked how Caden made Riven more human. However, I’m not convinced that a romantic relationship would really work. How is Caden ever really going to understand Riven and what she has done? I’m not convinced that they have enough in common to make it work. On the flip side, because Caden doesn’t know Riven’s history, he’s the only one really willing to give Riven a chance and actually get’s to know her as a person. Ultimately, I’m undecided about the relationship and I only think a second book will answer the questions I have about Riven and Caden.

Overall, I liked The Almost Girl and I’m happy to be seeing more and more sci-fi titles in upcoming teen fiction, and I would be interested to see where Howard takes the story next. I liked the world building in The Almost Girl and the ending leaves a lot of doorways open, and I’d very much like to learn more about this alternate world.

*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Similar Reads

Reboot (Reboot, #1)Rush (The Game, #1)Acid

Reboot: For another unfeeling heroine, check out Wren here. Like Riven, Wren’s pretty emotionless, but also like Riven, she finds someone to look beyond that fierce exterior.

RUSH: Aliens have come to Earth – and Miki Jones has just been recruited to fight them. She’s probably more of a Caden character, but she has quite a bit more backbone.

Acid: I haven’t actually read this one, but it sounds pretty awesome. And it’s heroine, Jenna, sounds like she could be similar to Riven was a tough as nails personality.

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