Author: Lisa Bergren
Details: ARC, 352 pgs (published in paperback)
Published: Feb. 1st, 2011 by David C. Cook
isbn: 1434764338 (ISBN13: 9781434764331)
Reading Level: Young Adult
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 Fourteenth-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 Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.
This book was so full of goodness I'm not sure where to start. It was completely refreshing with an awesome take on time travel and to one of my most favorite time periods and places, medieval Italy! And it all seemed very authentic to me. I mean, it didn't have a sci-fi feel, I completely felt like traveling back in time could be possible. Gabi was also very realistic feeling. From her personality to the way she reacted to things, to the things she said. Sometimes authors can't nail that one and we tend to overlook it, I think. But I can say I noticed that Lisa did a particularly fantastic job with that in this book.
This book had amazing characters. The MC, Gabi, had a great personality. She was extremely headstrong. She knew what she wanted, and she'd do whatever she needed to do to get it done. She was so headstrong and brave that she'd put herself in quite dangerous situations. But you have to remember~ she's from NOW, we don't have bandits hiding in the woods, or neighbors out to kill us (hopefully!) so she wasn't use to dealing with, or thinking about, those kinds of things. She knew what she needed to do and she was determined to do it!
Gabi isn't the only fantastic character in this book though. Talk about some fabulous men! Lisa did such a fantastic job in making men that you couldn't help but fall in love with. They were brave, they were heroic, they were... oh dang it, they were freaking HOT! And they had amazing personalities. There were just a few we got to know fairly well but you can't help but fall in love with them.
And we can't forget the bad guys. There were some serious villains in this book and they played their role perfectly. Each scene with them was very intense and completely believable. Some of the villains we didn't even know were villains. Actually, there's still some loose ends at the end of the book, but not so loose that it's a cliffhanger.
And the romance, oh the romance... the sweltering looks, the hidden smiles, the constant need to be sure the other was safe. All those little things added up to some tension! It was fantastic, just waiting for them to figure it out. It wasn't instant romance, they had the attraction, but it was more of a thing that grew as they spent time together. Which I think is important.
This book was a fast read because it's impossible to put down. Gabi is constantly running off into dangerous situations and you just have to know if she survives, which keeps you turning those pages. This book was full of action and there wasn't one moment I felt bored. Sometimes with historical fiction the history weighs it down. But this one wasn't like that at all. We only got background on the history from Gabi, mostly when she was wracking her brain trying to remember things from history class or her parents. The historical details in the story felt real to me, but I'm no historian.
This is a clean read. There's a little tiny bit of kissing, but nothing else. No bad language, no sex. It's aimed at the older crowd, I would think. Maybe 14 and up. But it would depend on the readers maturity. I would have LOVED this book when I was 10. So it's hard to put an age on it.
This is a series I'll definitely have on my preorder list. The thing is, there's no long wait! The next book, Cascade, comes out in June. Then the third one, Torrent, comes out in September.
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Disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from amazon as a part of their vine program. I was not paid or influenced and all opinions expressed are my own.