Published January 7th, 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.I was pretty afraid of suffering mass disappointment from this title due to reading quite a few not so positive and overall "meh" reviews. This worried me a bit, as Strange Chemistry is known for publishing some of the most intense, thought provoking, action-packed stories out there. Discouraged, I put this one off foe a few weeks, only to finally push aside the negative reviews and give it a try myself. The Almost Girl was just like any other title published by Strange Chemistry: different, action-filled and super duper awesome.
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?
Riven (love the name!) is a teenage girl, but she isn't like anyone from your average high school. She's from an entirely different world, one ravaged by war and disease, filled with danger lurking in every corner. Due to these harsh living conditions, Riven is understandably tough, as well as pretty damn calm and collected. On the exterior she seems cold and heartless, completely devoid of any love and emotion. Though this is an area she struggles with, I was happy to see that she actually did have feelings, and she did have her own unique weaknesses. Without these things, Riven would have been a character that was hard to relate to, but the author did a nice job of making her just real enough, just human enough for me to enjoy and really relate to.
Her latest mission as a general is to travel to Earth in search of a boy named Caden, who is rumored to be the clone to the prince of Nesposes, the city that Riven resides in. However, things get a bit hairy, and it takes her longer than anticipated to locate this target. Everything changes along the way and she finds herself drawn to this boy who makes her feel things she tries desperately to push aside, things that make her feel weak and inadequate. I really enjoyed the character of Caden and how he brought out both the best and worst in Riven. Their relationship is far from insta-love, which pleased me greatly. It's a slow burn with many bumps along the rode before the could finally be together, but the chemistry between them was intense, even if Riven tried to deny it being there.
The Almost Girl was an intense read, and lots of blood was spilled throughout the pages. Things got real and shit hit the fan fast, everything moving at a gallop. I loved turning the pages as fast as possible, trying to keep up with all that was going on in these two worlds. There is politics, treachery and tons of lies and betrayal, with everyone in one huge power struggle. Needless to say.. this book rocked my world and blew me away, and I ended up really enjoying it despite some of the not so grand things I had heard about it. Just goes to show that not everyone will look at a story in the same way.