Title: Waterfell (The Aquarathi #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Acquired Via: JKS Communications
Release Date: October 29, 2013
THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN
Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father’s betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?
Waterfell by Amalie Howard has one of the most imaginative premises that I've read in a young adult novel in quite some time. However, I need you to throw the summary completely out of the window because very little from it happens until about halfway through the novel.
From the start I could tell that Nerissa Marin was not the average teenager. Okay, I'll grant that it was a given from the first pages in the novel that she wasn't human. That being said, she was different from most kids her age. While she had the typical selfishness that we expect from teenagers, she also had a great awareness of her responsibilities as a leader and of her potential of bringing danger to her friends. While she was standoffish to Lotharius "Lo" Seavon, she had a healthy relationship with her friends and "foster" family because she had no hesitation in talking about her problems or confiding in them. I liked that a lot. What I did not like was the instant lovey feelings that she felt for Lo, though she kept pushing him away. *sigh* I'll grant that she's a different species, and I know that instalove is a real thing with teenagers, but... *takes a deep breath* It's not my thing. Moving on!
You know what was awesome about Waterfell? The world-building. See, I went into the book thinking that I was reading about mermaids. Did you think it was mermaids? Look at the summary of the book again. No mermaids there! I will say that the Aquarathi are water creatures, but I'm going to leave it at that. (You aren't going to be reading Of Poseidon or The Little Mermaid.) I want you to be just as surprised as me when you find out what they are. While my mind was not exactly blown, I gave Amalie Howard the slow hand clap in my head for coming up with such a neat concept.
I did not care for how long it took for the groundwork for Waterfell to be laid. I enjoyed the world-building and getting to know the characters, but the plot that was hinted upon in the summary did not come about until well into the book. Waterfell read like a contemporary novel with just a dash of paranormal for a long time. There was a lot of focus on Nerissa's issues with high school drama, things going on with her friends and family, and pushing away the cute new boy at school for dumb reasons. The parts about the Aquarathi were the most interesting, but they did not pop up nearly enough for my taste. (What can I say, I love me some full-on fantasy!)
Overall, Waterfell was a good book with a very unique world. Nerissa is a great heroine and the Aquarathi are an interesting race. If you're looking for a "mermaid book" that is completely different than anything you've read before, then this is the book for you.
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About the Author
A rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, Bloodspell, in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers.
A bookworm from the beginning, Howard grew up on a small island in the Caribbean with her nose buried in books. When she was just 13 years old, her poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal, marking a sign of great things to come. Howard immersed herself into other cultures, globetrotting through 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After moving to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and French from Colby College in Maine. She also holds a certificate in French literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Traveling around the world, Howard has lent talents as a research assistant, marketing representative, freelance writer, teen speaker, blogger and global sales executive.
Howard is a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society award, an international youth writing competition. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Howard’s first book, Bloodspell (June 2011, Langdon Street Press) earned rave reviews and was named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. Readers will hear more from Howard as she releases a pair of two-book series, Waterfell (November 2013, Harlequin TEEN) and The Almost Girl (January 2014, Strange Chemistry), as well as Alpha Goddess (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) over the next two years.
Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.