Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard





Arc provided by Netgalley

DNF at 43%

I once read that when writing a less than positive review, one should always start by pointing out the positives of said story.
Okay the positive of this story is:

The synopsis

As you can see, and read, it seems amazing!

The problem?

Well, as it happens with the latest trend in YA books, a promising synopsis doesn't imply an amazing story. The imagination is there. But the outcome is nothing less than a mess of stereotypes come together in another mess of literary genres.

I can't say that I'm surprised that I wasn't able to finish this, because the beginning was terrible.
Excessively verbose, it never captivated me. The fact is, the characters are shallow, egocentric, vain, obnoxious and full of prejudices ( and as far as I can remember, the only female character that got away with prejudice was Elizabeth Bennett... something that Riven is not).

So, let's say you're from a different planet. And you have a mission. A very important mission...
Now as an accomplished  General what do you do?
A) Study the habits and culture of the majority of the population, trying to pass yourself as a native while trying to accomplish your mission
Or:
B) Adopt an aggressive attitude. Refuse social interactions. Paint your hair green and blue, because obviously we are all Smurfs and there's nothing better than playing the "bad girl act" to get yourself ignored... by the rest of your peers in High School.

Riven, our fearless and aggressive main character went with alternative B.
Now, as someone who comes from a different Planet, that is going through a war, I was expecting someone less... stereotypically YA.
Unfortunately not. Riven was the complete YA package.

She plays the aloof and silent type. The bad girl "don't mess with me" scene..
But of course since she's in a YA book, clichés have to be used.
There's slut shamming in this book. "Girls will be girls", so of course the blond one will have to play the "B" role.
It's sad, that in a book that I thought would have some sort of YA female terminator character, I ended up with a character like Riven.
She's pathetic.

Her mission, Caden, the boy she was sent to capture, unfortunately isn't better...
When Riven calls his girlfriend a bitch, he agrees.
Great, isn't he?
Amazing... now that's what romantic memories are made of...
"Hey honey, remember those times in high school when I used to call you a bitch?? Ah, good days!"

The plot... well there were a LOT of convenient resolutions. In fact, the totality of what I read is a BIG, OUTSTANDING combination of  good luck and plot holes.
This my friends, is what allows the development of something usually named "Mary Sues"...
Mary Sue is this common weed that develops itself on the rich soil of YA... ah, wastelands.

Riven is a Mary Sue.
Three years on earth (we are told of course, because otherwise it would just involve a lot of work) and she doesn't have a clue of basically... anything!
She doesn't know where her target is.
She doesn't know how to blend in the background... high school student with a Ducatti? Really? 
She presents herself as Riven... because that's what we, normal boring people do. Can you imagine if her last name were SMITH?
The horror!

And she's a General. Taught from the moment she was born.
World building... well like I said, in her Planet there's a war going on, and AI (Artificial Inteligence) is no longer seen with good eyes.
Terminator much....
Also there's the mad scientist plot. The mad scientist, in case you are wondering, is Riven's father...
And so on, and on...
I'm probably forgetting something, but by now I just want to be done with this...

Oh, yes, the phrase that finally convinced me that I shouldn't bother with this anymore, was (Yes, This Is An Arc. So Maybe, it could have been removed. I honestly hope that it was):

She shoots me a look that would incinerate a building. “Well, you should stick to pants. Dresses don’t really suit dykes,” she says nastily.
I bite back a grin and shrug. “Takes one to know one. And I’d rather be a dyke any day than look like a frosted cupcake without any imagination.” (The blond girl who is normally called by the B word talking with  our intrepid General)

Honestly, i thought that this was the author's first work!
 Turns out it isn't...Honestly *i don't compute*.
That's why this gets this rating, instead of a half/one star. 
By now, the author should know better than to use this language.


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