Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review:: Waterfall

To Gabi and Lia Betarrini, summers in Italy are nothing new. The girls are used to spending time in exotic places while their archaeologist mother digs through ancient rubble. It was a typical day in Tuscany when Gabi and Lia place their hands atop a hand print on a tomb wall and are transported to the fourteenth century.

Once there, they're separated and find themselves in the castles of feuding families. Lia with the ruthless and brutal Parratores and Gabi with the kind and strong Forellis. At first, Gabi's main goal is to locate her sister so they can together get back to their time, but then she finds herself falling in love with the handsome knight Marcello, future Lord of the Forelli family. Not only does Gabi have to decide whether to go home or stay in the fourteenth century with her true love, but she has to find a way to survive during the harsh and bloody Medieval times.

Okay. Obviously this is not a book I would have chosen for myself. This was the first pick for my new book club and it is very YA. The story is somewhat flat, the characters aren't developed very well, and the editing seems to have been done a bit lazily. For instance on page 265 the word "massive" is used twice, two sentences apart. There are the "massive numbers of horses rumbling towards the gate" and then a "massive, rusted metal beam." The author definitely could have benefited from the use of a thesaurus.

Thee author of Waterfall mentions being inspired by the Twilight series and I can definitely see the similarities between the two. Both have female main characters who seem to inexplicably hold some sort of power over the handsome guy that everyone wants. Both stories also have a main character choosing between two worlds-the world they know or the world where they think their soul mate is. Waterfall is only the first book in a series of three and I'm curious to see how the author will tie all the loose ends together. (Not curious enough to read the other two books though.)

The biggest difference between Waterfall and Twilight is that where Bella was weak, helpless, and constantly needing to be saved, Gabi is a strong chick. She can wield a sword and isn't afraid to fight. The fact that there is a strong female main character is probably the best I can say about this book. All in all, the story itself wasn't very compelling.

I had mentioned last week that I was worried this book would have a lot of religious overtones because the publisher is known for its Christian material. In actuality there ended up being very little mention of God or Christianity at all. In fact, the times they were mentioned, it almost felt like an afterthought. (Examples: Gabi voices some not-very-heartfelt prayers during times of distress, asks if 'The Big Guy" is listening to her, etc.) There are also a few times where Christian tidbits are thrown in as a way of describing something. For instance, the age of a tomb is described as being "built three or four hundred years before Christ came to earth." These descriptions felt forced and unnecessary, because Gabi even describes herself as not very religious and as having read only the children's Bible her Grandma gave her when she was little. It felt out of character for Gabi to be tossing such descriptions into casual conversation.

So should you read it? I'd say no, it's pretty much garbage. BUT, in looking at Goodreads, I found that a lot of gals loved it. So if you enjoy YA literature this may be the book for you. As for me, I just found it silly and not very engrossing.


Pam said...

Sorry to hear that the first book for your new book club was less than stellar. What book was picked for next time?

Daphne said...

I love that you describe it as garbage. My book club, which has been together for... 14 years? has read our fair share of garbage too. Hopefully you'll get some good ones too!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

It's funny because as I read this I kept thinking this doesn't sound like a book Tammie would read. Then of course I got to the part where you mention it was a book club pick. Don't think I'll be reading this anytime soon.
Do you all get a turn to pick a book?
Have you chosen your pick yet?

KiltiMcManus said...

This sounds like a complete ripoff of the 1980'd Diana Gabaldon series "Outlander"..only her story was set in 17th century Scotland with the clan fueds.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually read YA adults books, but I'm on Book 3 of the Hunger Games series and am loving it!!!!


Tammie said...

pam: i think next month is either the hunger games or the lace reader. but im not sure.

peggy: im not sure what id choose.

kilti: yeah, someone else i know mentioned the same thing. i dont think the author of the book was very original.

micki: hunger games is next for me to read, book club or not and i cant wait. ive heard nothing but good things about it.

Visty said...

Ha--your review was fun to read, and I didn't even have to read the book!