Release Date: Already on shelves
Publisher: David C. Cook
Lisa Tawn Bergren's new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn't have to fear a vampire's bite but must still fight for her life.
In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in sixteenth-century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the sixteenth-century—and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.
You know those books that make you lose all sense of reality and you literally fall into the pages? And you feel such a huge disappointment when the story comes to an end because you don't want to resurface? Waterfall is exactly that. It is such a thoroughly engaging read! I loved everything about it - the 14th century setting, the characters, the plot, even the language. I caught myself slipping their dialect into my own thoughts so many times.
Sisters, Gabriella and Lia Betarrini find themselves being transported through time after finding handprints that match their exact own in an ancient tomb. But when Gabi jerks her hand away, Lia is nowhere to be find and Gabriella finds herself in the middle of a deadly battle between knights. Dressed in skinny jeans and tank top emerging from a tomb directly into a bloody warfare between opposing sides - not exactly ideal. Thanks to her archaeological parents, Gabriella is well versed in the Italian language, fencing and has some knowledge on their history. Which are all incredibly vital to her from the moment she is found. Thankfully it's the good guys who offer her shelter and safety, but Gabi's journey is only just beginning.
Desperate and determined to find her sister, Gabriella has to try fit into the Forelli's way of life. And pretend she's been living that way for the past 17 years rather than in a world of internet, hair conditioner and girls showing skin. While she does manage quite an admirable attempt at fitting in, it doesn't take long for her to become quite an oddity among the others. A girl who likes to wear down her hair, hates riding side-saddle, can wield a sword and isn't afraid to scale down a brick wall in order to escape into the night and find her sister. Not exactly your standard fare for 14th century prim and proper ladies. So it's not surprising that the men have taken an interest in her. Particularly Marcello Forelli - m'lord, what wonderful men we have in this era! Yes, I say men. These knights are FAR from boys.
The romance that develops between Marcello and Gabriella is fantastic and very believable. He is betrothed to another woman and the marriage will form a vital alliance. It may prove dangerous if something comes between their union.... say a time-travelling girl who just happens to be taken by the hottie just as much as he is her. Despite the consequences a relationship between them would cause, you're totally cheering them on to come together!
I also need to mention Luca, Marcello's cousin and most trusted - he is such a charmer! He's flirtatious, friendly, badass with a sword (and might I add, his fists) and such a genuine kind of guy. They all were - they're men who burst into battle with the intention of defeating the opposing side no matter what it takes, because really, it's either fight or die. But on the flip side of their manly badassness, they're such genuine, honest, loyal, sweet gentleman. A girl can't help but grow smitten with these men. Marcello, Luca and Fortino are more than welcome to develop their own love square with me in the centre. Everything about them and the book makes you want to do some time-travelling of your own.
Throughout the book you're swept away in the politics, the mystery, the romance and the complicated drama's and dangerous everyday living. Knights brandishing swords, arrows, daggers and axes - not something you want to get mixed up in! But oh, does Gabriella get mixed up in it. She is such an awesome heroine.That girl knows how to kick some serious butt, but at the same time she is just as vulnerable as she is headstrong. She's so easy to relate to - determined, stubborn, not to mention insanely worried about her sister, but just like everyone, the girl makes mistakes and stupid decisions in the heat of the moment. Which result in her ending up in some sticky situations.
Waterfall offers so much - such a rich, fascinating landscape with characters who breath life from the very pages. Lisa balances the historical and modern vibe perfectly - the whole world around Gabriella is hundreds of years in the past, yet she adds her own modern touch. This book did not fill my appetite. Instead, it made me hungrier and left my imagination gnawing for more the minute I turned the last page! I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel and dive head-first back into this world, I'm so intrigued to see what happens next for these characters!
I've no doubt this is going to become one of my favourite series! Bring on Cascade :D