Top critical review
I was expecting something better....
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2014
When I initially finished reading Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren, a book that I had my eye on for sometime, I had mixed feelings about it, and hopefully this review can help you understand why.
Two sisters are spending their summer vacation in Italy with their archeologist mom and it sucks. I mean, who in their right mind would want to get up at 5:00 am and go and search for old Italian ruins?! Not Gabi, that's for sure. Bored and disappointed with her summer, Gabi and her sister Lia decide to go and look at their mom's most recent discovery, an old tomb from like the 1300's or something. Inside the tomb they discover these two handprints painted on the wall and, even though Gabi knows it could compromise the whole site, she decides to put her hand against one of the handprints.
*gasp* OMG. It's warm. Well, that's weird. Rocks are supposed to be cool, right? But it's a perfect match with her hand. Gabi is struck with an idea and tell's Lia to put her hand on the other print and that too is a match! But before they can think too hard about it, the world starts to spin and before she knows what's happening, Gabi finds herself thrown back in time. Lia is missing and when Gabi leaves the tomb to find out where she is, she discovers that she's smack dab in the middle of a battle, where her eye catches this "serious hottie". Serious Hottie rescues her from an attacker and she is taken back to his home where Gabi trys to make sense of what is happening. She tells Serious Hottie that she was traveling with her sister to find their mother when they got seperated and lost in the woods.
As Gabi trys to find out information about where her sister could be, she struggles to fit in at Serious Hottie's home. I mean, let's be honest. Showing up in the middle of a battle wearing skinny jeans and a cami isn't a sight that men from 14th century Italy are used to. Or women who wear their hair down wield swords, and let's not forget to mention women who ride astride a horse and not sidesaddle. But it makes Gabi all the more intriguing, and she is swept away in a story of politics, romance, and war.
Gabi is the main character of Waterfall and the story is told from her POV. I didn't like her, honestly. 14th century Italian? Not a problem, she's fluent. Have a sick brother and don't know what's wrong with him? Gabi's got you covered! What about Latin..Can you speak that? Oh come on, we're talking about Gabi! She's a frigging superwoman.
She was just way too perfect, I felt. Any problems that arose could be solved by simply involving Gabi. I like to feel that I connect to the MC of a novel and I honestly didn't get that connection with Gabi.
Lia I liked much better than Gabi, even though we didn't get much of an oppurtunity to fully discover her character. From the little interaction we did see with Lia, though, I really enoyed. She seemed to be handling the whole time travel thing a lot more realistically than Gabi and she didn't have an answer for everything like Gabi either. I found her character much more likable and relatable and I honestly wished that she was the MC and not Gabi.
Marcello aka Serious Hottie is Gabi's 'one true love' and, oh did we mention he's hot? Because that seems to be what Gabi always notices about him, and in turn, I feel like that's what readers only see about him as well: just his looks. He's in line to become a lord or something because of his elder brother's ailing health, and let's not forget he's engaged to another woman, and yet, he falls in love with Gabi.
Luca is Marcello's right hand guy and he honestly saved this book for me. He's charming and insolent and adorable and everything I would like in a male protagonist.
THE LOVE STORY-
...You know the love story is going to be cheesy when the first thing Gabi thinks when she see's Marcellow is how much of a hottie he is. And the love story was a bit cheesy and at times, I felt, immature. I realize that this is a young adult novel and not only that, it's fiction, so cheesiness is (unfortunately) expected. But sometimes I couldn't take their relationship seriously, and it moved quickly.
However, I think there's a beginning of a romance with Luca and Lia blossoming, and that is something that I would love to see develop, should it happen. And speaking of Lia, I would just like to remind you of how awesome she is, because she doesn't become distracted by all the handsome hunks that seem to surround her and Gabi. No, she instead keeps her eyes ahead of her, focusing on the goal of getting back home to their own time. How refreshing it is to read about a character who for once isn't concerned about falling in love and can keep her head on straight!
I was slightly disappointed with this book, but only because of Gabi. This book might become something of a guilty pleasure for me, because honestly, it's cheesy. It's lame, at times. But it kind of just sucks you in. I will continue this series, but only for Lia and Luca. They are what saved this book for me.