Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren: Everything a First Book in a Series Should Be

What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

I’ve read a lot of good books these past few months. I’ve discovered Julie Kagawa, Kathy Reichs, Cristin Terril, Kasie West, Michael J. Sullivan and many others. The thing about the books I’ve been reading recently though, is that I LOVE the first book. I get completely immersed in that world, those places, those characters, everything about the author’s writing. But more often than not, because the first book in that series is so satisfying and complete, I don’t find myself wanting more. I’m content just to leave it at that first book.

This book left me wanting, and not in a bad way. Personally, I think this story is the prime example of exactly what the first book in a series should be.

Beautiful, exciting, awe-inspiring, well-written and original. WIth amazing characters that you want to know in real life so badly–and bad guys that you hate to love. World-building almost worthy of Narnia. And last but not least, an ending that leaves you satisfied, pumped up with the adrenaline-fueled dumbness that leaves you staring out into space, and yearning for the next book.

That’s what the first book in a series should be, and Bergren has delivered it.

I came into this book not expecting much. Don’t get me wrong, I was exactly intrigued by the blurb and really wanted to get to know more–but alas, like many stories, the blurb doesn’t do the book justice, as good as it is. You can’t summarize pages and pages of built-up awesomeness in a few sentences. It would definitely be really hard for me to be a blurb writer…

I really liked the Christian aspects to the world-building here, not exactly C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, but still–I really appreciated those parts to it. Another thing, characters. Oh my…

Through the animes Reborn! and Arcana Famiglia, I became fascinated with Italy, and yes, I do admit, the mafia. What can I say? Reborn! is on my top five. But even Luca in Arcana Famiglia does not compare to the Luca in this book. And the other characters, Lia, Cook, Marcello, Romana, Fortino, all of them, even the supporting characters, were impressive and well-done.

*sigh. It appears as though blurb writers and I have something in common, and it is not what I would like it to be. It’s the fact that both of us try to do this book justice, and we both fail. As I said before, this book is, in a word, impressive. I cannot wait to go get my copies of the next books. 4.5 stars.

There’s a good chance it could make my five star list!

pg count for the paperback: 369

Series: The River of Time

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