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?
Title: Waterfell (Aquarathi #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Expected Publication Date: October 29, 2013
The Cover Contessa's Review:
I want to thank Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.
So, I knew I wanted to read this book when it was written by Amalie Howard. And then once the cover was revealed, I about fell out of my seat. And then I read the blurb, yes, I admit, on this book I read the blurb (I know I don't usually do it). But I had to see what it was about. And boy, was I intrigued. Anything having to do with a kingdom under the sea has my attention immediately!
So, can we get back to this AMAZING cover. I mean look at it. I just want to swoon all over it. The colors are totally gorgeous. The contrast between being under water and looking at this beautiful girl, well, that right there makes me want to pick up the book. I love covers, and beautiful covers, well, I love those even more! So, yeah, even if I didn't know it was by Howard and I didn't read the blurb, pretty sure I would have grabbed this off the shelf.
I can honestly say that this book was not what I was expecting. I'll be honest and say that the first bit of the book (probably the first two or three chapters) didn't totally catch my attention. But once the book started to really delve into the story, and the characters personalities started to emerge, I was hooked.
Nerissa is a very strong young woman. She knows what is expected of her and tries her hardest not to deviate. She keeps her distance as best she can from humans because she knows that eventually her time among them will need to come to an end. For this reason she certainly comes off as a bit selfish and quite judgmental. But I was honestly able to overlook these flaws and see beyond the "teenage" facade. Nerissa was a much deeper character than she appeared on the surface. She is saddled with the burden that she must one day lead her people, which I can't imagine is easy for one so young. She's stubborn and ruthless when the need arises. But she also softens and opens to her closest friends and of course her family.
Lo is an amazing character. He's sweet and strong and totally romantic. I love how he makes Rissa feel like she's the only one in the world when he's with her. At the same time he has this idiotic notion that Rissa should become chummy with her "enemy" and this does not sit well at all. I never fully understood his motives to try and pull them closer together. Despite his idiotic notion he is completely swoon worthy and adorable. But, like Rissa, he has secrets of his own that he doesn't want to share. But don't underestimate him, because he'll surprise you for sure.
Jenna is a great character as Rissa's best friend. I love how she totally trusts Rissa even when it might cost her her life. She knows where her loyalties lie. Speio on the other hand seems the loyal friend, but you'll be surprised at what lies up his sleeve.
If you're thinking this is your typical under the sea mermaid story, then hold on to your seats because it is anything but. While you might think Rissa's underwater kingdom will be something out of The Little Mermaid, you will be surprised to find that there is much more to Rissa's people than their ability to spend time under the water. I did love how Howard created this world below the water for us, but just out of our reach. The story is really quite focused on the land aspect and on Rissa's human form. I'm very curious about Rissa's under water home and I hope to see more of it in the second book.
Amalie's writing is brilliant. While the first few chapters did come across slow for me, that didn't last. Once the story took off, I could not put this book down (well maybe for sleep, work, meals and to listen to my kids once in a while, but other than that...)! I loved Rissa's voice, how she came off as strong and powerful, yet Howard still made her just a little bit weak and needy, with a touch of angst thrown in. And the writing really flows right off the page and hooks you into wanting to find out just what is going to happen next. Howard fills the story with adventure, honor and romance and then she throws in betrayal which digs a knife right into your side when you were least expecting it. I can honestly say that she kept me in mystery, but not so much that I was annoyed, it was just enough to really make me want to know exactly what was going on!
The most interesting part of this book is the mythology and world building. Yes, it incorporates things you think about as mermaid, but it's so much more. It's about other beings and what is out there beyond what we know. It's about believing that life is not strictly centered on Earth alone. But you'll have to dive in to really understand the world of the Aquarathi.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you're looking for something in the mermaid genre, but your ok with going in a bit of a sic-fi route, then this is the book for you. Full of friendhip and loyalty, it's a book that really teaches you to be who you are and to accept it's ok to just be that person. You'll be surprised by just how much courage this actually takes!
5/5 fist bumps!AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive. In between writing novels and indulging her love of reading, Amalie is also a books review editor for TheLoopNY, and blogs at amaliehoward.com. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency.
Her debut novel, BLOODSPELL, was selected as a Seventeen Magazine Summer Club Read. She is also the author of The AQUARATHI series from Harlequin TEEN (WATERFELL Nov 2013 and OCEANBORN Aug 2014), THE ALMOST GIRL from Strange Chemistry Jan 2014, and ALPHA GODDESS from Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press Mar 2014.
For tour and upcoming events, check out amaliehoward.com for more information.