The Fallen Prince (Riven Chronicles #2), by Amalie Howard, (April 2016, Sky Pony Press), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1510701700
Recommended for ages 13+
The sequel to The Almost Girl starts out about a year after the first book ends. Caden has assumed the throne of Neospes, and Riven is hunting for her father, to bring him to justice. But Caden’s new rule is threatened by Cale – the imposter prince – who’s joined forces with a deadly army. As Neospes tries to forge new alliances while fighting Cale’s forces, Riven finds herself called back to Neospes, where she needs to aid her people again – and this time, accept help from the very man she was hunting: her father.
The Fallen Prince is a good follow-up to The Almost Girl. I’ve enjoyed reading The Riven Chronicles, and feel sad that the series seems to be concluded. Maybe there will be more adventures down the line for Riven and Caden, but for now, The Fallen Prince provided more sci-fi action with a tough, smart heroine who experiences very human emotions for all her cyborg programming: she feels jealousy and pain at the realization that Caden may need to take a bride to seal an alliance; her rage toward her father demands an outlet, and she gets one, in a brutal and brilliant fight that leaves her companions very aware of who they’re dealing with. There are good supporting characters and a couple of nice plot twists that keep things moving and interesting. I’d also like to thank Amalie Howard for personally assuring that I’ll never look at a stretch of moss the same way ever again.
Great science fiction, just enough romance to keep the drama moving, and conflicted personal relationships everywhere you look. The Riven Chronicles is such a good sci-fi series, and you don’t need to be a teen to enjoy them – just love good writing.
The 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.