Author : Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher : David C. Cook
Source : Bought
Pages : 369 (Paperback)
Summary from Goodreads :
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.
When I saw Waterfall and the rest books of River of Time series, I was totally being hooked by the pretty and graceful covers and interesting premise about 2 teenagers who accidentally travel the time and are trapped in a place set long time ago. Then I have to say I'm so glad I decided to follow my instinct, made this series as one I had to get, because I loooooove like every single thing about this book; it's such a very good reading about love, family and adventure mixed with a sudden time-traveling to the past, meets Medieval Italy Era stuffs like castles, horses, elegant and gorgeous dresses, swoon-worthy Italian knights; whoa, such a perfect pack of my favorite things! The romance is sweet and clean but enough to make you dream about having your own knight. The action scenes are so tensing, so real like I read something did really happen. I also found Bergren has a very deep knowledge about Italy's social and politic condition in 14th century and exquisitely mixed it with her imaginations and slightly Christian views, created one fantastic story I've ever read!
What would you feel if one day, out of curiosity, suddenly you; and your sister or brother, or friend, whoever; were thrown back to the very old, lost time, the one that used to be a history in your time now, moreover you lost your companion too in that middle of, not exactly 'nowhere' but 'great battle'? Me, of course I'd completely FREAK OUT, I couldn't imagine how my freaking-out was, even prayed to God not letting that happen to me. That's probably what Gabi thought, before she and her sister experienced that themselves. And it seems like everything happen here simply because she's a family-oriented girl, a quality I love from some one. Gabi has a sister; like me; and lost her, so it's very rational she eagerly tries everything she can to find her back. But she never know her simple aim gives a big adventure and consecuences.
I didn't find any difficulties to love our main heroine here, Gabriella or Gabi. When I read this book, I felt so easy to put myself in Gabi's shoes, saw everything from her eyes and felt like I experienced what Gabi got, thanks to Bergren's amazing skill to draw something so real. Gabi's freaking out and depressed, yes, but what makes her more awesome, she is tough, strong enough to keep moving forward while also keep searching her lost sister and finding a way back to her own time. I was so glad she's not a whiner although her condition deserve it, on the contrary she's brave, very smart and adaptable (can talk comfortably in ancient Italy language, play fencing well too, how cool is that xD) and often throws some sarcasm jokes to herself. I found what Gabi feels is also realistic as a teenager. At this ancient Toscana she's admired for her 'unusual' (or modern) smartness and beauty, and she draws quite attentions from almost all guys she met there. Never before in her own time she felt that way, beautiful and special and gets important role in society. Those are enough to make her think she might be destined to be there. Then more complicated she's falling in love with Marcello, who is impossible to be loved, because 2 big reasons, literally he's 700 years older than her and already became a history and he also already betrothed to another girl. Yet one thing I loved from her, she's not easy and begging for love although Gabi likes him so much.
Marcello.... ah what should I say about him...
He's a different one, while a lot of YA books out there have bad type as their dream guys (don't get me wrong, I love bad guys too =D), Marcello is far from bad. Since he lives in an ancient Italy era and involves in many battles with high stakes and responsibility, he is raised as both a gentleman and warrior, well-mannered, kind-hearted, mature in his young age and very very handsome. Moreover he seems attracted and cares about Gabi more than it should be. I can't blame Gabi though, who would not fall for an ITALIAN knight like Marcello (Lol did I just capitalized ITALIAN? xD). So it's not just Gabi, Marcello also stole my heart almost completely.
The other side-characters are also delighting too, like Lia, Gabi's sister and her exquisite ability using bow and arrow; Luca, Marcello's cousin and best friend, a funny, cute, flirtatious and another swoon-worthy guy who seems attracted to Lia, me myself like him quite much and hoping to know him more; and Fortino, Marcello's sickly brother who is resilient and as kind-hearted as Marcello. I was really happy Bergren created a lot of good and awesome people like them, then the bad people, the Paratores, who is awesomely wicked and frightening; I even could imagine how scary Paratore is *shivered*; each of them along with Gabi and Marcello get their own stories which enrich this book as well.
As stated, this book is also categorized as a Christian fiction and that was one reason why I both excited and worried about this book. I'm a Christian, yes, but I admit sometimes a fiction reading with 'heavy specific religion content' somehow is 'uncomfortable', because you know this series won't be read by only Christians. But I gladly was wrong and I dare to say this series implicitly teaches simple but important Christian points about love, sacrificial, and how some circumstances are already set by the Creator for another bigger plan, and those make you moving closer to Him. Things that can be approved by everyone, I assumed =D. Big applause again to Bergren.
Okay, I'm blabbing again, but I hope you get what I mean upthere =p.
Overall, this book is a beginning but already so fantastic. Since I have read all of books while I wrote this review, I can assure you have to at least give this series a try. It's beautifully written, very detail and and set in a beautiful place and time (Medieval Italy) with swoon-worthy and wonderful characters. If you can enjoy history, clean romance, sword-battle action, handsome knights and brave girls, this series is definitely HIGH RECOMMENDED.
Happy reading! =D