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Waterfell (The Aquarathi) Paperback – October 29, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Aquarathi Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Nerissa has been sequestered among humans, protected by her handlers, Echlios and Soren, and their teenage son, Speio. The evil Ehmora has disposed of both the king and queen of Waterfell, Nerissa’s parents, and is ruling the underwater kingdom by default. Once Nerissa comes of age, she is obligated to return to Waterfell to challenge Ehmora to the death. If she wins, she will become queen of the Aquarathi people, never to revisit her human form. Nerissa, however, is loath to return. She’s happily ensconced in high-school life with best friend, Jenna; a spot on the championship field hockey team; and a strange but exciting relationship with new guy Lo Seavon. Yet Ehmora draws menacingly closer, causing Nerissa to wonder just whom she can trust. Howard has crafted a page-turning blend of magical realism and fantasy, set in an American high school starring a main character who morphs from sea monster to gorgeous sixteen-year-old with ease. Plot shifts, surprises, and a love affair not yet fully realized sets readers up for the second in the trilogy. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn

Review

"A fantastical surf-and-turf romance." -Kirkus Reviews

"Howard has crafted a page-turning blend of magical realism and fantasy." -Booklist
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Product Details

  • Series: The Aquarathi (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373211058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373211050
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Waterfell was such a fun and unique journey. It is not what I expected at all, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is young adult as it should be done. It's full of angst and drama and of course life altering situations. There is craziness and betrayal and it all makes for a fun journey.

Nerissa is not the kind of heroine I normally take a liking to. However with her it just works. Nerissa is a bit spoiled and bratty and she can be selfish at times. I'm not gonna lie, it grated on me in the beginning. But then I realized that she is a teen and she is acting like a teen. I feel like we get used to these kickass selfless teens who take on the world, but really that's not always going to be the case. Teens are irrational and bratty and can be selfish at times and that is realistic. Then throw in that she is a princess and of course she is going to be a bit spoiled. Once I realized this, I came to love her because she is real, aside from the paranormal, she reacts like any teen would and I loved that. She also learns from her mistakes and reflects on her actions to become a better person. She grows and becomes incredibly strong and lives up to her responsibilities.

Then there is Lo, who is all kinds of funny and sweet. I will admit that I guessed his secret early on, but that didn't keep me from hoping I was wrong. I really liked Lo and I'm sure girls will swoon all over him. Another character I have to mention is Speio. Speio needs a smack! Man he drove me bananas.

Now I need to take a second to mention Jenna. I absolutely loved this girl. She was such a great friend and everyone deserves a Jenna in their life. So many times the BFF turns out to be mean or catty or jealous under the facade, but Jenna was just great. I love that she is a friend through and through.
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Format: Paperback
Sixteen-year-old Nerissa Marin, daughter and next heir of the Aquarathi's High Court, just wants to be normal. She goes to a normal high school, has normal friends, and does normal girly things like shopping and surfing and field hockey, but when her father is murdered for reasons she knows are beyond political, she is forced to face her greatest fear: sacrifice her "normal" life and return to the kingdom of Waterfell to serve as the reluctant queen. However, Ehmora, an evil and spiteful lower-ranking ruler, wants to take over the fallen kingdom, and is even willing to challenge Riss for the throne, which won't only make her transition to ruler even more difficult, but may reveal secrets about Riss's family--and about Riss--that are beyond her wildest beliefs.

Even though Waterfell is about supernatural beings that live underwater, it is a far cry from your typical mermaid romance. In fact, the species here aren't even mermaids; they're Aquarathi, a vividly created variety of alien, who look more like Loch Ness monsters (but can take on human forms) and reside at the bottom of the ocean.

The alternate Aquarathi world Howard constructs is stunning and really elaborate, but that's where my praise for this book ends. As detailed as Nerissa's universe is and as original as the story was, everything is painfully predictable, from the character twists (I guessed Lo's "deep dark secret" the moment we meet him), to the final battle against Ehmora, which isn't only predictable, but also anticlimactic. There are random curveballs thrown into the plot--which I'll refrain from giving away out of respect for spoiler-phobics--and these are unexpected, but none of them are particularly shocking or significant to the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I finished reading Waterfell in about one day, and then life got crazy - so here I am a week later, trying to get my thoughts down before bringing children to school. I am sorry if this review is a bit chaotic, but here goes:
I had an opportunity to read an early version of this book (its called an ARC?) and was delighted to see some changes, and most of book remaining the same. I loved it!! The relationship between the two main characters moved in a believable arc, and I loved that they weren't just an automatic happily ever after - they're 17 (and 18) for goodness sake! I truly enjoy Jenna's character as I think she really draws out Nerissa's humanity. The whole "love over fear" thing is too important a theme in the book, and her humanity represents the love part. The Aquathari can be a bit calculating in their machinations (or what we've seen so far), they seem to forget. There is even an element of "greater good" in Soren and Echlios (sorry if I'm spelling wrong - I don't have the book in front of me) - so the love/humanity part is even more important. So far, Jenna doesn't seem to have any flaws - but I don't think I want her to have any. I don't know if Nerissa could handle it, honestly. Jenna is the one she can count on. For all of her "alien" strength, I think Nerissa has great fragility emotionally (which makes for a wonderful story/character depth, but will allow her to shatter if something goes on with Jenna).
Not sure how I feel about Lo right now. Is he only coming to the "good" side because of his bond with Riss? Was he good before, but more lost? I know he was trying to protect his foster father, but will we get to see of who HE is in the next book (yes, I am already desperate for the next book in this series!)?
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