Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cascade (River of Time #2) by Lisa Bergren

Cascade by Lisa Bergren

June 1, 2011 by David C. Cook
*I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Read my review of Waterfall (River of Time #1)


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. (courtesy of Goodreads)


An excellent follow-up to Waterfall. Cascade escapes the pitfalls most second books fall into. There's no love triangle. It never drags. The happy couple remains, for the most part, together and happy. It's refreshing to see an author who didn't feel obligated to stick to the formula for a second book.

Lisa is a masterful plotter. There is never a lull in the action in Cascade. The She-Wolves of Siena return to a hero's welcome (with their mom in tow). But the opportunity to bask in happiness is short-lived. There's two enemies brewing against Siena: plague and the Firenzes (sp?). Gabi, Lia, Marcello, Luca, and the rest of the crew are soon in the middle of impending disaster. While Cascade is action packed, it also flows smoothly. Too many books either have long periods where nothing happens or shifts from adventure to adventure so quickly that it feels choppy. We ride the wave up to the action scene, but have enough (but not too much) time to recover before the next adventure arrives.

The romance between Marcello and Gabi is perfect. They're happy, incredibly passionate, and selfless. Marcello is wonderful in that he lets Gabi shine. Too many heroes are so terrified that their ladies will get hurt that say lock them away (*cough* Edward *cough*). Marcello tries to protect and shield Gabi from danger, but he is quick to realize that it's best if she stands up and fights alongside him. That said, their relationship doesn't do it for me. I like both characters, but I don't swoon at Marcello and I don't get googly eyed at their (well-written) passion scenes. I can't figure out why. It's everything I should love.

Now Luca and Lia...that I love even though there's only inklings of romance. Luca is always upbeat and good for a laugh. Lia plays a much bigger role in Cascade. I admire her precision and skill with the arrow and bow. I also like how she puts forth rational thought and caution to dampen down Gabi's tendency to act without considering the consequences. It's almost like she's the big sister.

Another intriguing new character is Lord Greco. I love the uncertainty and tension of a character who seems evil but may be good. I expect great things for Lord Greco in the next book.

I mentioned in my review for Waterfall how well Lisa established the medieval Italian scene. This continues in Cascade. We see the dark beauty of the castle as well as the color and vitality of Siena and Firenze. We even see the contrast between the wealthy and poor. Gabi and Lia do a wonderful job of cultural adaptation. They embrace the idea of "When in Rome"...except for the dainty ladylike parts. Lisa doesn't skimp over the violence and danger of this time. Gabi and Lia are willing to do things like kill, main, and impart justice that would be unimaginable in modern times. Similarly, both girls are subjected to terrifying, dangerous experiences. There's no skimping on the violence.

A few complaints. It bothers me that Marcello and Luca have a pronounced lack of curiosity. Call me crazy, but if two people showed up at my doorstep from 600 years in the future, I'd have a few questions for them. Marcello and Luca don't seem to wonder about the world that Gabi and Lia come from. Or if they do ask questions, it's off the page. Also, Gabi is a great kick-butt, passionate, act-and-think-later character. Kind of like Rose from Vampire Academy but without all the anger. It's exciting to view her from the outside, but rather boring having to sit inside her head throughout the whole book. Her thought process is dull and doesn't make me feel connected to her.

Cascade is not a perfect book, but it is thoroughly enjoyable. It has great plotting, great character, great references to history, and great issues of faith. Yes, the Christian aspect is still there. I like that it's more geared toward a gradual building of faith than any great miracle or endless prayer. I highly recommend Cascade.

Rating: 4 / 5

Check out the book trailer for Cascade


  1. i've seen this book/series around but yours is the first review i've read for it. interesting--i love action-packed stories and yay for no love triangles. i'll keep this series at the back of my mind. thanks!

  2. The first book is in my TBR list. :) Great review Alison :)


  3. Yay for no love triangle! *happy dance* Interesting that even though their relationship has everything you think you should love, it's still not blowing you away. I love that he's not the uber protective type who tries to keep her safe for her own good, and even more glad that she wouldn't stand for it if he was:) So looking forward to reading these books!

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  5. I love this series! Totally can't wait for Torrent! Loved the review!!

  6. I loved this first book and I can't wait to read this one too. I love how strong Gabi is as a character and I'm glad to hear that Lia and Luca are in this novel as well.

  7. I have this series on my tbr pile and with each great review I read, I'm really looking forward to it. It's refreshing not to have a love triangle, it's very rare for YA books nowadays.

  8. You said everything I thought about this one, only better. :) I hadn't really thought much on the fact that Marcello and Luca don't ask much about the future, but you're right. A couple of scenes with them pestering the girls for answers would have been fun!

  9. Wow--that sounds really intriguing. I like that there's love and it seems solid. While the lack of curiosity might bug me, I do like strong characters, which could make up for it!
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  10. Hmmm... it is rather curious as to why they are not...well, curious!


    I kill myself with my lameness sometimes. JS.

  11. I still haven't read the first book yet but I'm desperate to start reading this series, it sounds great! Glad you enjoyed it even if you had a few issues with it. Thanks for the great review!

  12. I really need to read this series! Everyone can't seem to stop talking about it. It's definitely on my TBR list.

    Also, I’m a new follower— beautiful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  13. Yes yes yes! :) You said so much of what I couldn't get out through my flailing :P Beautifully written, Alison.

    I'm with you on Gabi and Marcello. I love them together but I don't feel fuzzy sparks. I DO feel them for Lia and Luca though. I heard that we may be getting a spinoff series for the two of them and I would be all over that!

    I agree about the guys' lack of curiosity. I would be dying with questions. I kind of chalked that up to their sense of propriety and maybe it's not cool to question a lady so intimately? They're also pretty bright guys, so maybe they figure it would be bad to know too much about the future. Or maybe they're pious and figure it's in god's hands. I have no idea! :P

  14. Every review for this series is so positive that it almost seems just a little bit too good to be true! I'm so happy that this second book was just as awesome and didn't succumb to the usual faults that second books do.

  15. I hadn't come across either book before, but medieval Italy is one of my favorite time periods to study/read about, so I'm definitely intrigued. Add time travelers from the future into the mix, and I'm a happy camper. Thanks for the rec!


  16. Interesting review--thanks so much for investing in the series. This is the first time the curiosity factor has been raised...and I think you're totally right. May need to write a "missing scene" or two to post on my site to make up for that. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and look forward to hearing what you think about TORRENT!

  17. I loved the first two books in the series and can't wait to read the third. I do agree with the lack of curiosity, but I guess it didn't bother me so much as I was wrapped up in all the constant action throughout the books. My son is reading Waterfall now since I've been raving about it to him.


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