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Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series) Paperback – February 1, 2011
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“Lisa Bergren has stirred up an exciting and memorable tale that teen readers should thoroughly enjoy!”
-Melody Carlson, author of the Diary of a Teenage Girl and True Colors series
T.D. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
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This is book one in the River of Time series. First, my few issues with the book. One, why is it titled Waterfall? I never made the connection. None. Whatsoever. Gorgeous title. Gorgeous cover. The first two things that drew me in until I read the intriguing synopsis, but I still, even after having finished it, cannot make the connection. Perhaps it'll click later on in the series? Two, I did find a few minor grammatical errors, which could have been caught by the editors. There were a few incorrect commas and then three or four dialogue issues that were "holes" for lack of a better word. But, nothing so serious as to jerk me from the reality that the story cocooned me in. Three, I know the MC was as twenty-first century seventeen year old American girl, but Lord have mercy the number of times I saw the phrase "hot" associated with men. Kay, I'm in my early twenties and my younger sister is midteens, and neither of us speak that way. I know there are masses of girls out there that do, so it wasn't unrealistic, just too much. Yeah, I'm an old soul. And, yeah, I've thought guys were great looking, but I have not gone on and on about how "hot" they were. This, however, did seem to ease up as the book went along. First impressions, I get it, so this is a light critique. That said...I have no other complaints.
The MC, Gabriella, was stinking awesome. :D I loved her! I loved her sister and I really hope we get to see more of her in the future. I loved the way she narrated the story and her personality. I could relate to her. I liked her daring nature, which came mostly from her twenty-first century upbringing and ignorance of the current period. I liked how her skills translated to the fourteenth century and I liked how she adapted to the world around her. She wasn't all head strong, know it all, I can do this! She had moments of doubt and fear. She had questions and something that gave her caution. She was also pretty stubborn, but not in a cliche way. I very much enjoyed the rich historical world that Mrs. Bergren built. I'm finding more and more that I like historical fiction and nonfiction, which I never would have imagined as a child. The world was intricate and it enveloped me wholly. The relationships between the characters were dynamic, round, and complex. I loved the moments when Gabi thought back to her father and when Rossi shone through to be more than she first appeared. I loved, and I do mean loved Luca and Marcello! I cannot wait to see more of those two! Oh, and Fortino. God love Fortino. I am definitely coming back for more of him. So, as you can see, I am entirely enamored of the cast and the setting. The plot was intriguing. It drew me in, and though at times some of the names took a second to process, I soon got the hang of it and felt right at home in the little Italian world. The language was beautiful and I almost wish there had been more of it. I was very much invested in the story by the end of it and would heartily recommend it to others who enjoy a story alive with intrigue and just a hint of forbidden romance!
As for my three strikes: no language, clean romance, and mild violence. It's a plus on all sides!
Waterfall was full of history, humor, and hormones. You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this time traveling adventure story. It was easy to relate to the bond between sisters and the way Gabi longs for her first kiss to come from a brave and dashing knight. The way the girls tried to mask their true identity (being from the future) provided a good deal of lighthearted humor.
There was some violence - castle storming, sword fights, and medieval torture. Additionally, there are implied perils for unprotected maidens, but nothing of a graphic nature that would prevent me from recommending this story to friends with teenage readers.
Others have complained that there is quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. Well... obviously. It's a time travel novel, not a nonfiction novel. It was clear from the get-go that this would be a lighthearted read, not to be taken too seriously. Since I knew that from the beginning, I was able to adopt that mindset and enjoy the read.
I adored so many of the characters too. I think one of my favorite things was how Romana was written. I loved that it was made clear that she wasn't a villain; she was simply making do with the hand dealt to all ladies of that time. I'm so tired of books making every woman except the heroine out to be some evil psycho. It's not realistic, and it's juvenile. I'm glad that wasn't the case here. Hopefully it will continue to be that way in future books. I loved the main characters, but I also really loved Fortino.
Some reviews complain that it's too convenient that our heroine spoke the appropriate languages. Well, it's not so shocking given her upbringing. I didn't find it far-fetched at all.
Another thing I liked is that the problems of the past weren't ignored. Smelly underarms? Yep, she noticed. Crappy bed? Yep! I was waiting for her to start her period and freak out about no tampons (which I would have LOVED to read about and die laughing, I'm sure).
The Christian/religious parts flow with the story. I'm actually Christian myself, but I avoid religious novels because they are SO. AWKWARD. AND. PREACHY. This wasn't though. It was very natural.
All in all, this is a fun read, and I recommend it.