WARNING: If you haven't read Waterfall, book one in the River of Time series, then it would probably be a good idea to stay away from this review.
Cascade (River of Time #2) by Lisa T. Bergren
Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”
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.
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Next: Torrent (Sept. 2011)
So if you happened to have read my IMM post for this week, you'd have an inkling as to how much in love I am with this series. I'm serious. Like, deeply in love. I've been sweatin' for this book for some time now. And I did not appreciate seeing all these reviews crop up, when I still hadn't read the book. But now, not only can I say that I have, but I was just recently WOWed, people. Maybe my missing these characters, this story, influenced my total and complete absorption with this book, but I could not help it. As soon as it was in my hands, and I turned onto that first page, whatever plans I'd had that evening were shot to hades. Big time.
Major credit to Lisa for just picking up where everything left off. I felt like I hadn't even stopped reading or that I'd never had to wait for this next book. And I send more love to her for including some parental action here. I have yet to read a YA book that doesn't push aside parental involvement one way or another. As a result of Lisa's genius, I got to watch Momma She-Wolf not only fly back in time with her daughters, but actually make an impact and kick some ass! I liked the fact that their mom went back with them, was there for Gabi and Lia in all of their upcoming decisions. I mean, foregoing all of our 21st century advancements and advantages to stick around in 16th century Italy sounds like something Mom should be present for! Plus, if I were in Gabi's shoes, I'd want my mom there if I found myself deeply in love. It's just one of those things. Even better, though, this family time-travel helped establish a better connection between Mom and girls, kind of like a long-awaited reunion, of the emotional sort. Instead of acting as a restraint, like I first feared, Mom brought something amazing to the table.
And more than anything I missed my girls! Gabi and Lia are like the best sibs anybody could ever read about, I swear. Their bond is so enviable, and made me adore them more for it. I love that Gabi is so head-strong and stubborn, that she is unwilling to settle back and let the boys do all of the work. No, rather she's more likely to take up a sword and start swinging, even in the face of throngs of enemy soldiers. But Lia is most definitely not chopped liver, I assure you. I have had, like, the biggest girl-crush on her! Her way with a bow and arrow... Man, not only do I wish, but I'm fascinated! She's so freaking cool. I mean it. Her precision with those weapons, her unwillingness to back down amid a fight is so... unreal, but in a totally realistic way. If that makes sense... ? Anyway, these two more than deserve to be known as the She-Wolves of Siena. They are just too cool, too kick-ass, too blindingly amazing not to be!
And boy, did the boys get hotter or what? Or maybe it was the romance. I've got it! It's a devastating combo of both! Gabi and Marcello... they will never get old! Even after I'm done with this series, I'll always remember this addictive, soul-searing love between these two. Watching them fall deeper only served to leave me breathless. Thankfully, no annoying love triangles or tragic, deadly separations in sight! Even when the gorgeous Lord Greco was introduced, there was no sudden development of attraction, for which I'm terribly grateful. Otherwise, I'd've been forced to reconsider my opinion of this book... Instead, it's just Marcello and Gabi, dealing, enduring their war-plagued setting, trying to work around the element that will potentially set them apart. And oh, Luca, I missed you so! His comedic demeanor does not just make me laugh and smile tons (or induce heavy eye-rolling). No, if anything, it just makes him eminently sexier. Let me just say, though, that I've been rooting for Lia-Luca romance since they first laid eyes on each other. Hell, since I was first introduced to Luca. I just knew these two would go great together! And for any and all Lia-Luca fans, there are some really really sweet scenes to look forward to...
The problems in this installment were even more nerve-wracking this time around! With the Black Plague drawing nearer, and actually effecting some people, I'm more than a little scared for my fave 16th century peeps! When is it going to sweep the country? How long before people just start dropping dead? And I did not appreciate that people have already begun contracting it... And WHOA goes that epic-battle scene heading toward the ending! I'd been itching for some major combat-action and oh, man did I get it! But the price of ensuing events... I really wish that some of the deaths hadn't happened. Yes, I'd trade a totally engrossing battle scene over the deaths of some of my beloved knights...
I think the only thing that got me a little POed was Gabi's shift in voice. She sounds more teenagery this time around, and I didn't like her narration as much as before. Funny, right, considering I'm a teenager meself?
Besides that, I'm just nervous. Positively, absolutely nervous. Does anyone else have a bad vibe about the result of that ending? The ramifications of the ending... I'm so nervous. Not to mention the time spent making that ending happen... How much time apart has Marcello spent away from Gabi this time? Plus, the Black Pague scare is not acting as a balm to my uncontrollable nerves. I don't know if I'm gong to make it until September, you guys. After this amazing bout of awesomeness and anxiety, I don't think I can take the wait for round three... Oh, who am I kidding? Of course, I'm ready to take on Torrent. Bring it on, Lisa! Just keep the awesomeness coming.
Like time-travelling? Great. Because I've got some neat suggestions for you! If you liked Waterfall and Cascade, you could try Timeless by Alexandra Monir and/or Warped by Maurissa Guibord. As to whether or not this book is for you, I can't exactly say, BUT the romance is not exactly sedate (because it's smokin'!) but more like... nonsexual and the fighting scenes aren't really bloody. The Christian references are hardly bothersome. They actually suit the time period, if anything. So, basically if you liked/loved the first book, then you shouldn't even be worrying because Cascade is just as great, if not better! And if you haven't read this series (and read this review anyway), what are you waiting for?
[Greco] glared back. "Many men loyal to Firenze have died at the end of your sword, your sister's arrow."
"Forgive me for not relinquishing my sword and allowing myself to be slaughtered as a woman ought. Forgive me for helping to free my sister from the dungeon of Lord Paratore and then attempting to make certain he could never imprison, torture, or threaten another of us again. Forgive me for not dying at the hands of your venomous doctor, sent to poison me." I glanced at Lord Foraboschi, who hovered in the background with few other nobles, looking askance at my outburst. I shook my head with a sarcastic little laugh. "You ask far too much, m'lord, from me. From any woman, any woman with a pinch of courage in her heart." I thumped my chest. "That is what my father taught me. Courage. Standing up for what is right. For who is right. And in this case, it is clearly my Sienes sisters and brothers" (254-255).
FAVORITE SCENE EVER!