Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Waterfell by Amalie HowardWaterfell by Amalie Howard
Series: The Aquarathi #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 29, 2013
Pages: 360
Source: the publisher
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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?

I knew, almost immediately, that I was going to enjoy this book. The premise and plot, at least to me, were very original because I have not read anything like it before. I haven’t really read many mermaid books, honestly. When I was little, I loved to swim and I desperately wanted to become Ariel (*Clears throat* Sometimes I still do… *Coughs*). Yet, I never got into “mermaid” or “siren” books. But someone told me early on, before I even had my hands on an eARC, that this was NOT a mermaid story. At least, not in the traditional sense. That it was so much more than that. So going into it, I didn’t see it as a mermaid story and I was able to keep an open mind about it. And Waterfell didn’t disappoint. There was depth to it – pun intended. Howard’s writing style was enjoyable and I loved the plot and tone of the story.

Nerissa is an interesting character. In the beginning, she has an attitude of being better than everyone else. She can be mean and spiteful and she even talks down to her best friend, Jenna. She doesn’t want to be a princess. She doesn’t want to be a queen. She pushes fiercely against her royal heritage, against her home and her people. She both hates and is instantly attracted to Lo, which is confusing. As the story goes on, Nerissa grows and matures a lot. It takes her awhile, almost to the very end, but she grows up and comes to terms with her heritage, with who she is and who she is meant to be. The guilt of her attitude eats at her, and she attempts to make amends. Normally, I would be exasperated with a character like Nerissa – at least, the character she was in the beginning. But there’s so much growth and character development that honestly, I feel like she’s one of the most realistic YA characters I’ve seen in a long time.

Lo was… Hm. I don’t know how to explain this without giving away spoilers. But he caught my attention right from the beginning. He was arrogant and cocky and I didn’t trust him from just about the second he was introduced into the story. At 66% of the way through (I had a Kindle eARC via NetGalley, so it measured my progress in percentage, not pages), I made an assumption. I wrote it down in my notes. I had a feeling… And, from 88% – 90%, my suspicions were confirmed! If you follow me on Goodreads, you can check out my updates and my flailing over this. I won’t say more. I’ll spoil it. But let me just say… I KNEW IT!!!!!

I absolutely adored Jenna. She was the voice of reason and the awesome best friend. She didn’t let Nerissa talk down to her. She snapped back, fought back and did a good job of “snubbing” Nerissa when they fought. The friendship felt really real. Also, something happens and I was so happy it did! I just think the path her character goes down is perfect, makes sense and is very, very enjoyable.

I don’t know how to feel about Cara. She was supposed to be the “mean girl,” I guess, but we didn’t see her too often, usually just from a distance, scowling or snarling at Nerissa. I actually kind of felt bad for Cara, until she revealed something to Nerissa near the middle/end, and then I just wanted to slap her. We get a little bit of resolution near the end, which is great, but I found Cara more annoying than anything.

The end was awesome. I mean, like I said, by 66% I sort of knew where things were going so that took some of the shock value away. But getting confirmation that I was right? Priceless! And like.. I was dead-on. I wasn’t half-right or sort of right. I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY right. It was great! But there were still things that shocked me, that I did not expect. I was really happy with the ending and where things left off. It wasn’t a a forced, cliche YA Happy Ending. I liked that most of all! I can’t wait to read book two, but sadly, it doesn’t come out until sometime in 2014.. *Sniffles* But trust me, I’ll be reading it!

I would definitely recommend Waterfell. I can understand the issues some people had with it, but I didn’t see them as issues and they didn’t take away from the story, in my opinion. If anything, they added to the story and made it better.