Friday, May 20, 2011

Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren - A 2-in-1 Review!

Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Bentarrini 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 touch handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves transported back in time.

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead. But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

My Review:
Rating: 10 out of 10 stars
Ages 15 & up

Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time series was highly recommended to me by my reading companion, Katy. When I read that it was fantasy and set in medieval times - and that Katy was recommending them because she LOVED them - I knew that I had to check them out because Katy doesn't like fantasy. I do, on the other hand. 
So when I was in my hometown last week, I borrowed it and read them both in 4 days - and that's between hanging out with my friends and preparing for graduation! They were both awesome. Everything Katy said they were. I was immediately enraptured by this interesting and gripping story. They are easily in my top 10 favorites!!

In Waterfall, I immediately liked Gabi. She was fun and adventurous - she reminded me SO much of my friend, Katy!! On the other hand, I am a perfect replica of Lia - a little quiet at first but as soon as you get to know her you find her just as fun as Gabi - though a little more reserved. In Waterfall, I was left wishing I had gotten to know Lia more...but these longings were put to rest when I read Cascade. The same with Marcello - while I liked him in the first one, I didn't feel a connection with him. In Cascade, I got to know him a lot better and really began to like him - though Luca still was number 1 in my mind(funny, since I am most like Lia. ;) ).

Gabi was so adventurous and outgoing - she made me laugh on more than one occasion! I thought her and Marcello were perfect together - Marcello strong and serious, Gabriella bold and courageous. They made quite the couple and I ached for Gabi through some of the decisions she had to make. While I never did fall completely in love with Marcello(and only because I like the more outgoing type generally), by the end of Cascade I really liked him. Luca, on the other hand...

I fell head over heels for Luca - at least as much as you can with a fictional character. ;) I loved his personality and found him quite charming, which is funny since him and Lia are an item. ;) They were so funny - I loved how Lia refused to admit that she liked him yet in times of peril and uncertainty it was quite obvious that she did! I liked how I got to know these two characters better in the second one. 

Lia was, well, me with a bit more shyness in her. Other than that, she was exactly as I am. As I read through Cascade, I remember repeatedly telling myself "Oh wow, that's something I would say/do!". She was an expert with the bow and arrow - something I have wanted to learn for as long as I can remember! And she got Luca - my favorite hero in the series! ;)

What amazed me most about Bergren's novels was that she managed to execute the first person writing to perfection. I have read more than my share of books that were in the first person and they were horribly written. Bergren succeeded greatly in capturing my attention and holding it from the beginning to the last page - and then leaving me craving more! I felt as if I were in the book - was Gabi. It was amazing! I greatly commend Bergren on her writing.

As for content, there is a bit to warn about. Some suggestive remarks are made about Gabi dying her skirt up so she could ride a horse properly, making Gabi wonder if they thought she "slept around".
There is a part in Waterfall where Gabi is nearly forcibly violated during a battle. Nothing happens but intentions are clear. For the time it was in, Bergren handled this excellently and I was happy with it. Also, towards the end of Waterfall one of the men - obviously very bad - threatens to do evil things to Lia, his captive, if Gabi did not carry out her end of the bargain, saying things like "Let the men have fun with her", etc. This is obviously suggestive but nothing more descriptive was said along those lines.  In Waterfall, other than that there was just kissing and hugging in moderate amounts.
Talks about Gabi breathing in Marcello's scent, occasionally, and she is obviously physically attracted to him, as well as emotionally. She calls him hot, several times.

In Cascade, there is a scene were Gabi is captured and the bad man from before in Waterfall rips her shirt off. She does have cloth wrapped all around her torso and chest because her ribs were broken before, but it is a suggestive scene and it says that the guy looked toward the belt of her pants. The scene ends there and nothing happens, but once again it is suggestive. Gabi was also pretty beat up and a doctor had to look her over. Nothing descriptive, but we do know he had to heal her thighs and ribs. 
Also, Gabi is put in a cage and is hoisted many feet into the air. It is dark outside and she has to pee, so she goes. It says some of the men hooted, but since it was night and she was so far up we know that it was only because either 1) one of them got peed on, or 2) they could hear it hitting the ground. Either way, it does say that. 
Another thing in Cascade is that one of the men is carried through a city naked or barely clothed - I don't remember. In fact, I don't remember it at all but Katy said she remembered something like that in there when she read it. :)
Other than kissing and hugging, that's all.  Reading this all may make you think "wow, that's a lot of stuff 'bad' in this book", but really Bergren handled it all exceptionally well. I was amazed about how well she handled it all. :)

All in all, these two books are incredible and I recommend them to teenagers and adults alike. But be warned - once you pick up these books, you will not be able to put them down! 
Review of the third book in the series - Torrent - to come! :D


Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

Great review, Jane! Thanks for reading not one book, but two--I really appreciate your time! And I tell moms this is a PG-13 series. If they can watch PG-13, they can probably handle these reads...but I do appreciate you telling them exactly what to expect. Lastly, thanks for the TORRENT counter up on your site! I sincerely appreciate the support.

Beth said...

I CANNOT wait to read these books!!!! They sound so great. I have entered every giveaway that I can for them, haha. :) But I might just cave in and have to buy Waterfall!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More