Posted in Post-apocalyptic/Dystopian, Science Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

YA sci-fi must-read: The Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles #1)

AlmostGirl_coverThe Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles #1), by Amalie Howard (May 2016, Sky Pony Press), $9.99 ISBN: 978-1510701717

Recommended for ages 13+

Seventeen-year-old Riven isn’t your run of the mill high school student. She’s not even from our world; she’s a soldier from Neospes, a world in a parallel universe, devastated by war and catastrophe. It’s a world where children learn to kill as soon as they can walk, and Riven is one of the best. She’s a Legion General, sent to Earth by her best friend, the Prince Cale, to find his long-lost brother and bring him back to Neospes. After a long time searching, Riven’s found Cale and is getting ready to move him out when Vectors – the undead soldiers created by her father – attack, forcing Riven into an uneasy alliance with her sister Shea, who she’s been at odds with. Riven will discover family secrets and lies that have been hidden from her for most of her life as she and Shea work together to bring Cale back to Neospes – and Riven begins to doubt everything she thought she stood for.

The Almost Girl is a fast-paced, well-developed sci-fi adventure for teens. It’s got a bit of a Terminator 2 vibe, but it’s entirely its own story. Riven is a complex, thoughtful character at odds with what she’s been raised to believe versus what’s truth. She’s the cold-hearted soldier who runs far deeper than an ice-cold killer, and her journey through the book keeps the pages turning. Cale finds himself in the damsel in distress characterization, but he’s not completely helpless, so it makes for a solid, interesting story. There’s solid sci-fi elements: gadgetry, android-human hybrids, space travel using technology rather than vehicles; there’s also space-opera factors that bring the drama and thus, the story: betrayal, family secrets, several missions intertwined.

Give this to your teens that like a good sci-fi adventure with a touch of romance. The sequel, The Fallen Prince, is newly released, so keep an eye on this blog – I’ll be getting to it shortly!

Amalie Howard has a fantastic author webpage with updates, contests, and an event calendar with appearances.


Posted in Fiction, Humor, Middle School, Science Fiction, Tween Reads

M.E. Castle’s The Clone Chronicles concludes with Game of Clones

gameofclones_3 Game of Clones: The Clone Chronicles, #3, by M.E. Castle. Egmont USA (2014), $15.99, ISBN: 9781606842348

Recommended for ages 8-12

In M.E. Castle’s third installment of the Clone Chronicles, seventh grader Fisher Bas and his clone, Fisher-2, put aside their differences to team up and fight Three, the Fisher clone created by the evil Dr. X. Three’s gone rogue, with plans for world domination on his mind, and he’s on track to make it happen – will Dr. X make an appearance? Is the enemy of Fisher’s enemy a friend?

The book is a fast-moving action-adventure series that should appeal to both middle grade boys and girls. Fisher and Fisher-2 have allies in their classmates, Amanda and Veronica, both of whom serve as the boys’ crushes and as intelligent, strong females in the series. Fisher tends to be an overthinker, and Alex struggles to define his own personality despite being a Fisher clone. This struggle runs throughout the book, and mirrors many a tween’s burgeoning identity and personality clashes and crises; where Fisher-2 is a clone, a tween pushes back against being merely “the son” or “the daughter”. Three wreaks havoc in Fisher’s neighborhood and school, forcing him to think of creative solutions and seek help outside of his gadgets; he realizes the power of friendship and of reaching out to ask for help, and it makes him a better person.

Overall, it’s a fun book in a popular series that tweens will enjoy. Game of Clones is part of The Clone Chronicles series; the first two books are Popular Clone and Cloneward Bound.