Yakety Yaks's Reviews > Cascade

Cascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren
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May 13, 12

bookshelves: reviewed-by-annalynn
Read in February, 2012

Ever since Michael J. Fox stepped foot in the delorean*, I think a small piece of us all wanted to believe in time travel. To go back and correct our mistakes. Or relive the amazing moments of our lives that dull in memory as time goes by. To warn someone–a national leader, a beloved friend, a family member–of a tragedy that you wish you could spare them. I think there’s a little bit of mercy in the fact that we can’t do any of those things…but doesn’t it make a GREAT story? The answer, of course is: heck, yes!

And that’s where we enter back into Gabi and Lia’s story for the second book of the River of Time series, Cascade. Allow me to enlighten you with a synopsis, as is my custom. Verily. Forsooth. (Sorry. I was caught up in the moment. Ahem.)

Gabi and Lia have grown up as the daughters of excavators, watching their parents uncover artifacts and insights into past civilizations. But never has the past impacted them so much as when they entered the cave that day and saw two hand prints carved into its wall. Placing their hands on those imprints, life as they knew it swirled around them and was gone in an instant–and replaced with the foreign landscape of 14th century Italy.

And in such a time and a place, Gabi meets Marcello. Despite Gabi’s strange modern ways, and his engagement to another woman, it isn’t long before Marcello’s heart is lost to Gabi, and hers to him. Caught in the middle of Siena and Firenze’s fierce war, Gabi and Lia find themselves doing something no normal 14th century Italian woman would do–joining in the battle. And when they help to save Siena from certain demise, its people wish nothing more than to honor the She-Wolves of Siena.

But when circumstances give them no choice, Gabi and Lia must travel back to the life they left behind knowing that each precious minute could be years passing in Siena–time that Gabi cannot bear to lose.

Managing to return the same way they left, this time with their mother in tow, Gabi and Lia find themselves the center of a hero’s welcome. But for every person overjoyed to see them, there’s an enemy who would harm them with no hesitation. Will this trip to Siena be the things dreams are made of? Or spell their doom?

Thoughts and Musings

Let it first be said that while it’s not ALWAYS the case, I completely agree with Gracie’s review of the first book in this series, Waterfall. This may just be the best YA series that I read last year, so feel free to call me Fangirl #2.

It’s hard for me to write this review without being extremely spoiler-y, so I’m going to give you my thoughts in my favorite way: a bulleted list.

You’re welcome.

6 Reasons Why I Heart Cascade
•Marcello is still dreamy. From the time Gabi and Lia leave to the time they return, poor Marcello had to wait three months with no word as to if Gabi is alive or dead or if she will be able to come back. And yet, he waits for her. [Insert sigh and swoon-y expression here.] Everything that is established about Marcello and Gabi’s relationship in Waterfall comes back full force in this book and is heightened to a whole ‘nother level. And I love it.
•I yelled at Gabi. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but yelling at characters is the way I show I care. It means that I’m so wrapped up in the story, that I actually think my advice and warnings will make a difference. You know, like yelling at the TV screen when your favorite sports team is playing. She just gets herself into these situations that I wish she wouldn’t. It makes me nervous when she’s in harms way and I don’t know how much poor Marcello can take!
•It doesn’t fall into the “second book slump”. You know how it is with series, right? After loving the first book, you wait impatiently for the second book and devour it as soon as you can, but it doesn’t always live up to the love you had for the first book. That is NOT the case here. I loved Cascade just as much as Waterfall…maybe even more.
•I’m a sucker for deep, layered characters and relationships. And there’s a lot! Besides Gabi and Marcello, I loved seeing the interactions between Gabi and Lia and understanding their relationship with their mom. Also, Lia and Luca’s budding relationship, and that’s just to name a few.
•The adventure is for reals. Please see my second point. With Gabi in a dangerous situation, I was anxious to find out how she was going to get out of this one. I may or may not have skimmed those parts really fast to find out and then gone back to re-read them. You may call that cheating. I call it necessary.
•The ideas in the book/series challenged me. Throughout this book (and all of them, really) there’s the theme that a truly lived life–even with risks and danger–is better than a life of comfort, convenience, and relative safety. Now, I’m not what you would call a risk taker. For instance, I refuse to ski because hurtling myself down the side of a mountain seems CRAZY. I tend to play things safe. Reading these books made me think not just about the characters and the storyline, but about my own life and challenged me to approach it differently.

What was the last book you read that made you think more deeply about your life?

- Annalynn

*Sorry about the 80′s reference, but it couldn’t be helped.

P.S. I read the books in pretty rapid succession, so I’m stoked to start in on Bourne!


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