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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?

360 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 29, 2013

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About the author

Amalie Howard

30 books2,518 followers
AMALIE HOWARD is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author, most notably of The Beast of Beswick, “a smart, sexy, deliciously feminist romance,” and one of O-The Oprah Magazine’s Top 24 Best Historicals to Read. She is the co-author of the #1 bestsellers in regency romance and Scottish historical romance, My Rogue, My Ruin and What A Scot Wants, and has also penned several young adult novels, critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Of Indo-Caribbean descent, she has written articles on multicultural fiction for The Portland Book Review and Ravishly magazine. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 215 reviews
November 6, 2013

This book almost became one of those rarest of rare objects: it could have been a really good book about sea creatures. It came so frustratingly, heartbreakingly close. I love mermaids. I love sirens. I am always on the lookout for a really good book based on those creatures. To this day, I have yet to come across any such novels, and this book came so close to being one I enjoyed. It had a lot of the elements I search for in a novel: an enjoyably flawed heroine, a compelling plot line, a new spin on a classic mythology. So what ruined it? The romance. Always the fucking romance. My awesome heroine had to fall in love with an idiot boy with a constant smart-ass smirk on his face.

The foolish romance utterly obliterated this book for me. The insta-love and the needless love triangle knocked it from a 4 star book to a 2 star book. In a good book, the romance should play a role the plot, but it turned this book from an potentially intriguing YA political fantasy/thriller into a typical teenaged romantic melodrama and all the jealousy and mind games that entails.

I liked Nerissa so much, she's not perfect, but she's enjoyably so. She may be the heir to a kingdom, but she's in danger, and like a scared teenager, her first instinct is to run away. I do not judge her for it. I like her for it. She admits her flaws, and I admire her for it. But here's what turned her into Ariel for me. You remember Ariel, right? The cool Disney mermaid princess who's got the sweetest fucking life in the world as a pampered princess frolicking around under the sea chilling with the fishes, and then chooses to give it all up (not to mention the voice, and the tail, and possibly her life) for the sake of a human guy? Yeah, Nerissa went from a potentially kick-ass heroine into that kind of stupid. Into Ariel stupid.

From the book's blurb:
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do.
Aaaaaaaaaaand...what does she do? *cues "Kiss the Girl"* You guessed it.

The Summary: Nerissa is an Aquarathi Queen, but an exiled one. Her father has died from a tragic accident some years ago---some say murdered. A rival queen, Ehmora, from the Ruby Court has usurped Nerissa's throne. Before her father died, he warned her of danger, and since then, Nerissa has been living in San Diego in disguise as a normal high school student. Nerissa is completely focused on her studies, she is a brilliant student, she is an amazing athlete; she is, in fact, completely focused on being the perfect student until a human boy (Lo, short for Lotharius Seavon. SEAvon, get it?) catches her eyes.

At the same time, there is imminent danger to her life from the usurper queen, and there are traitors and spies in their midst. Will Nerissa be able to stop gazing lovingly into Lo's amazing bottomless-blue eyes for long enough to avoid the danger to herself and to the entire race of the Aquarathi?

The Mythology: The Aquarathi are a new twist on the age-old mermaid myth. I really like the interesting spin the author puts on the mythology of these creatures. You might think they're mermaids, and you would be wrong. They are a whole new type of sea-dwelling creatures, but they are not what you would typically expect. I made a joke earlier about Nerissa and Ariel. Nerissa is not Ariel. In her real form, she is a sea serpent the size of a small whale.
I’m what most humans would call a sea monster. I’m the sea serpent that historians have written about for years, the fiend that has capsized whole ships and devoured sailors by the mouthful.
Nerissa does not have pretty pretty perfect hair and adorable little cute fishy tails. In her true form, Nerissa is not remotely anything resembling human, she is truly a sea monster, and it is wicked awesome. I loved the myth of the Aquarathi. I enjoyed the tale of how they came to this planet, how they adapted, and their history as they evolved. I like the fact that they are not lovely, wondrous sea creatures, I like the fact that they are different, and I so wish the book would have dwelt more on that instead of the utterly insipid romance between Nerissa and Lo.

The Plot: The plot is interesting enough, but it is pretty predictable. There are some twists that were completely unexpected, but there were so many hints given regarding who the traitors would be that I saw that coming from a mile away. The mystery had a lot of potential to be really twisted, the evil queen is capable of doing some horrifying acts...
The scales are a pale bluish-purple color, oozing iridescent fluid along their edges. I recognize them [...] immediately. But it isn’t just her scales in the box, it’s her crown...the same elegant ridge of spikes and fins on her forehead that mark mine—the mark of an Aquarathi queen.
The entire thing has been flayed off her scalp.
The plot had a lot of promise...but again, it was overshadowed by the idiocy of the romance between Nerissa and Lo.

Nerissa: It makes me a little upset to write about Nerissa because I liked her so much. Here's my problem with YA fiction: strong, independent, perfectly flawed heroines are rare enough, but when they appear, inevitably, they fall for someone who is completely unworthy of them. This book falls prey to that same failure. Nerissa is really cool. She is an amazing student, and her athletic skills are second to none because of her heritage as an Aquarathi. She is a hockey player (!), she is an awesome swimmer, but she chooses not to participate in water sports because it would be cheating, given who she is. Nerissa is not perfect by any means, and I liked her all the more for it. She is scared, she is running away from her destiny. Nerissa sticks her head into the sand until her best friend confronts her with the truth.
“But we’ve stayed here and done nothing while so many died, and all you want to do is forget about who you are, to become like these insipid humans. You’re stupid and blind. And selfish.”
“Don’t you speak to me like that!” I hiss. “I am your—”
“My nothing,” Speio says dully, his eyes wet with tears, gesturing to the landscape around us. “You are a princess of nothing. A princess of rocks and mud and death.”
Nerissa is a wimp, but she admits her faults, and she wants to be better---she wants to be the sort of Queen her people deserves. Nerissa understands her failings. She knows she has been a spoiled princess, she understands her people's lack of trust in her and her ability to assume the throne.
Looking back, I was far more trouble than I was worth. Our people faulted him for being so indulgent and not taking a firmer hand with me, saying that if he couldn’t control his own child, how could he control his people? Put it this way—when I left, no one missed me. After all, as the humans say, no one mourns the wicked.
Nerissa is a complex, imperfect heroine that I could relate to. Until she falls in love with Stupid.

The Romance:

Lotharius Seavon is an asshole. He is the kind of smug, self-assured son of a bitch any thinking girl would avoid at all cost when they see him across the hall. He's handsome, of course. He's got eyes like the bottomless sea. It's blue, but it's not just blue. It's blue. Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue.
...the oddest-colored eyes I’ve ever seen—a bottomless blue, as if he’d leached the color straight from the depths of the ocean.
I must have imagined the strange, nearly navy color, or it must have been some trick of the sunlight, because on closer inspection, his eyes are more dark than light, almost blue-black.
And Lotharius's hair. It's...I don't even know what color it is. Every color but blue, it seems.
...the fading sunlight makes his wet hair look like burnished metal. His hair is such an odd color. It’s not reddish-blond like mine, but it’s not gold or silver, either. It’s more of a mix of the two. The only thing I can think of to describe it is wet sand.
Lo is wealthy. His parents are dead. What did I say before? It's so fucking dangerous to be a parent in YA literature because the chances that you would die is roughly 90%. He's a teenaged deliquent. Lo ditches class to surf. He makes fun of the principal's accent. He calls the poor man "Borat" because of his misfortune of having an Eastern European accent. He gets Nerissa's phone number from nowhere. He practically stalks Nerissa.

Even Nerissa can recognize an asshole and a loser when she sees one.
She clearly sees his potential for douchery, given his stupid teenage dirtbag antics.
“Jenna, you can’t even imagine how bad,” I seethe. “He honestly thinks he is God’s gift or something. I mean, I swear he has rocks for brains. First of all, who would cut their first day to go surfing and show up not in uniform and make fun of Cano almost to his face? An idiot, that’s who.”
OK. SO WHY THE FUCK DID YOU FALL FOR HIM? Jesus Christ, Nerissa SEES Lo's faults, and throughout the book, there is little about Lo that redeems him in my eyes. And so it is with the utmost frustration that I watch my wonderful heroine fall for someone not worthy to lick the bottom of her aquarium clean.

It is their romance that kills the story. It is Nerissa's foolish decision to turn to him for help when she has a host of competent people to help her in the forms of her guardian. She is, after all, still a queen, despite one in exile. I just could not tolerate Nerissa and the multitude of her fallacious love for Lo and her concentration of love games when there is so much more at stake.
It’s not Ehmora that will be the death of me.
It’s this boy.

Get your head on straight, girl.

So much potential, wasted by a foolish romance. I am so disappointed by this book's potential and eventual letdown of my expectations.
589 reviews1,029 followers
October 24, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you HarlequinTeen for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

Gee, I don't even know where to begin. If you want a good mermaid book, this is not where you want to start. Heck, this isn't even a mermaid book. This book for majority of the time does not even let us see the characters under the water signing Under The Sea--we didn't even see the antagonist until the last few chapters. I can't really give any recommendations on where to start with YA mermaid novels, truth be told, it has never been done right out of the books I've read. My goal for aspiring authors: write a close to flawless YA mermaid book.

Nerissa Marin has been hiding in her human form in the human world for years. Ever since her parents died who were the rulers of the kingdom, Nerissa was forced to flee to hide from the enemy that threatens to harm Nerissa and learn more about the human way so she won't fail ruling her kingdom like the people who ruled before her did. The main botheration I had with Waterfell was the characters. Nerissa, a girl who was meant to seem strong and independent immediately turned out to be an unquestionably selfish and idiotic character. These first impressions of Nerissa were also the last impressions I ever had on her because that was all she was. The opening scene is in a hockey game, and the only open player on Nerissa's team is Cara, her ex-best-friend, instead of hitting it towards Cara, she ignores her and tries to shoot herself. Right after that, I was astounded by Nerissa's selfishness, ignorance and sensitivity. Even other characters in the book point out these character flaws (which I was relieved for) but Nerissa claimed that she was perfectly fine and had no issues as such at all.

The reason I call Nerissa idiotic is for two reasons. Reason 1: Nerissa is always one step behind us. The predictability--which is my second most irritating problem with Waterfell was excruciatingly frustrating. The minute I was introduced to the person--who the twist was related to, I guessed it. And I suck at predicting things so to say that means that it's likely half the world will be able to guess it. And reason 2: Nerissa is also one step behind us when it comes to romance. Which leads to my third quibble, the romance. It's insta-love. Yep. Immediate no-no. Plus, it's cheesy and angsty. To make it more gag worthy, Lo's eyes were described as melting like butter. WAIT, WHAT? Other variations came up throughout the novel. Just no. But that's a little off-topic. Nerissa's stupidity comes from the fact that she refuses to admit she likes Lo. She gets irritated when he looks at her-when he looks at other girls. She gets annoyed with he talks to her-when he talks to other girls. She gets frustrated when he gets detention and because he's laid back. Girl, you can't perfection-ise a person that you like. Especially when you refuse to like him and throw rude remarks at him instead. And then when they finally do get together, it's like hallelujah!

What did I like about this novel? I don't honestly know for certain. I guess I gave this one star for its attempt and pace--which was actually a nice speed for everything. Other than that, I'd like to unread this book and never see it again.

All in all, an under-satisfying read. Not recommended. Well...unless you like instant love, cheesiness, angst, annoying as hell characters and predictability. Which is basically no one.
Profile Image for Debby.
589 reviews539 followers
April 17, 2021
1 stars

Dear publishers and authors,

Consider the following warning label:

WARNING: This book contains instalove. The protagonist falls head over heels for the love interest in less than 10% of the novel for some undeniable and yet inexplicable reason. And after that, 90% of the protagonist's thoughts and actions concern this undying love. It will be insufferable. You will hate it. Stay away.

For the love of god. Please start using this label. Because I'm getting sick of going into these books expecting an actual plot and having it center on nothing but the irritating ramblings of a love sick teenager. And that was just the beginning of the immense list of issues I have with this book.

Nerissa is a thoroughly unlikable character. So in a thoroughly original turn of events, Lo, short for Lotharius, is a new guy at Nerissa's school, and from the moment they lock eyes, Nerissa just can't stop thinking about him. But the way this instalove is set up becomes even more annoying when you factor in Nerissa's personality. She's so darn attracted to him, but the whole thing is set up as if she can't stand him. For the first half of the book, it pretty much goes like this:

Nerissa: *stares at new guy*
Lo: ... *stares back*
Lo: ...Hi.
Lo: I like you.
Nerissa: UGH I HATE YOU. *storms off*
Nerissa: God I don't get that guy. Oh but he's so pretty. With his deep blue eyes and hair the color of wet sand (literal statement, I don't get how that's attractive). You can tell he's strong by how skinny he is and his long fingers (..yeah.). Could I possibly like him? Naaaaaaaaaaaah.
*process repeats*

So I already couldn't stand Nerissa for her stupid and inexplicable attraction to Lo, who showed absolutely no personality - and contrary to how she asserts that he is arrogant and douchey, he displays no such behavior aside from an odd snarky comment here and there. But then this ex-friendship with Cara is introduced. Nerissa and Cara used to be friends until a guy Cara was crushing on asked Nerissa out and she accepted. However, instead of Cara being a bitch to Nerissa, Nerissa makes Cara's life a living hell, pretty much. She completely shuts Cara out during a hockey game, refusing to pass to her when she was open, and in general just keeps narrating about how rude and bitchy Cara is. Cara barely does anything aside from glare at Nerissa. But of course then Lo becomes friends with Cara, so Nerissa doesn't like that. And then later Nerissa's best friend Speio starts dating Cara and Nerissa doesn't like that.

Are you *headdesk*ing with me yet?

Honestly I don't know why I didn't just drop this book. I knew within 50 pages that it wasn't the book for me. But it went quickly, and I guess I felt like that made it tolerable?

The plot is near nonexistent, as most of the novel focuses on this annoying romance that had me rolling my eyes and scoffing constantly. There's one infodump chapter around midway through the novel where Nerissa explains exactly what kind of creature she is and where she comes from, which is all rather vague, nonsensical, or confusing... then it goes back to the romantic melodrama, because *gasp* Nerissa realizes she actually is in love with Lo. I know. Shocker. Then the end has a few chapters of battles and plot but it's way too late in the game to save the show. Sadly, all the plot twists regarding the identities of several characters I had called practically at the very beginning of the book. Yeah. So no big shockers there either. What a waste of time.

About the only ray of light in this sad excuse of a novel was Nerissa's friendship with Jenna. It was actually a very healthy and nice female friendship, and it stood totally apart from any relationship/boy drama. Sadly, this was overshadowed by Nerissa's illogically intense hatred of Cara and the bitchy narrations associated with that element. And of course, all the rest of the book.

Summing Up:

I thoroughly disliked this book and sped read it to get it out of the way as soon as possible. It's just not worth it. Annoying instalove, hateful main character, bland love interest, minor plot, vague worldbuilding through infodumps... *sigh* I just want a good mermaid book. I know it's possible. Please. Someone. Prove me right.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

No one.

**An electronic ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
November 24, 2014
4.5 stars

This can also be seen at

Talk about a book being NOT what you expected! I thought this was going to go into my every growing pile of mermaid books. So color me shocked when I finally realized what Nerissa was, and where she came from.
Yeah. She's so not a mermaid.

I thought this book was heading straight into typical territory after the first chapter or so, but then it surprised me by taking off in an entirely different direction.
And I want to tell you...I really really do! But part of the reason I enjoyed Waterfell so much was because I had no idea what kind of book I was in for.
The characters were fully formed, the pacing was great, and every time I thought I had what was going to happen next figured out, everything flip-flopped on me.

Nerissa is the heir to the Aquarathi throne, and after her father's murder, the Aquarathi family that guarded her took her to safety. When she comes of age, she is expected to go back and fight for her throne, but Nerissa isn't in any hurry. She enjoys living in the human world and pretending to be a regular girl. Playing soccer, surfing, and hanging out with her best friend sure beats going back to face a people who aren't sure if you're fit to rule. See, before her father's death, Nerissa was simply the King's Irresponsible Daughter. And now? Well, she isn't sure. It seems like a lot of pressure and responsibility for something that she doesn't even want. And with her mother and father both dead, there really isn't any reason to go back...right?
Except that her guardians haven't exactly told her everything.

Secrets, betrayals, and possibly even true love..
What more could I ask for?

If you enjoy books that twist and turn into unexpected places, then you're definitely gonna want to get your hands on this one!

There's a fade to black sex scene toward the end that plays into the plot. I didn't personally think it was inappropriate, and I would have no problem letting my girls read this when they are teenagers. I'm just tossing it out there as an FYI for anyone looking to buy this for their (or someone else's) teen. Teenagers? Yes.
Tweenagers? Probably not.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,981 followers
November 15, 2013
I'm going to refrain from rating because I read the first half of the book, then skipped ahead to the last couple of chapters.

I think I would have liked this a lot better had I read it when I was younger and loved fairy tale-esque stories of all-encompassing love. There's definitely a target audience for Waterfell, but unfortunately, it's not me at this time.

The last sentence of the book made me realize that I was perfectly okay with the fact that I didn't read much of the second half : I am yours forever.

I was actually fine with the love story. It was predictable, but sort of cute. However, even during a "fated to be mated" story (which I'm fine with if handled correctly), I'd rather see the use of terms like "forever" dialed back just a touch when we're dealing with such young characters.

If you like cute romance with a heavy hand of destiny, this might end up working for you, even if it didn't work for me.
Profile Image for chev!.
410 reviews139 followers
August 16, 2022
the summary
hm I don't know why, but I already sense a plot twist in this book. minimal suspense here, sadly. (and I half thought that it will be another mermaid book and she changes into a whale like thing?)
chev's system for reviews
plot development ☆☆
character development ☆☆☆☆
the rating
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Profile Image for Farrah.
1,249 reviews206 followers
September 2, 2013
Not what I was expecting. Going into this book, I was thinking "forbidden romance, mermaids, basically a standard YA paranormal romance." But, what I got was something much better. Waterfell was a wonderful YA read. Romantic, thrilling, and full of surprises. I LOVED this book!

I loved the mythology of this book. It was a new take on the mermaid-ish trope. Combine mermaid with aliens and some magic and we have the Aquarathi. It was really interesting and really well thought out. I really liked it and I can't wait to see more of it.

Nerissa was a good heroine. Unfortunately, she was the weak point of the book for me. For one, in the beginning, I found her selfish and shallow. Later on, she realized that and began to change, so I was able to forgive. But, she also tended to be judgmental and kind of mean at times. Not enough that I disliked her character. I still liked her. But, she annoyed me several times. And slowed down the plot with her stubbornness. On the other hand, she was also strong and definitely a force to be reckoned with. Overall, I ended up liking her character.

Lo was brilliant. He was so sweet and adorable and utterly swoon-worthy. He was just wonderful. And, don't underestimate him. He has some tricks up his sleeves. I adored him and thought he was perfect.

The romance was super sweet, although somewhat hindered by Nerissa's tenacity. I though these two were wonderful together, even more after what happened at the end. Love this couple. Can't wait to see how things turn out for them.

The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were some twists and turns that I never saw coming. The secrets that were revealed...totally blew me away. From the truth about Nerissa's mother to Lo's secret, it was all surprising. And I loved that about this book. The story was wonderful and the ending even better. I can't wait to read the next book and see how things turn out for Nerissa and Finn.

Waterfell was a brilliant YA paranormal romance that took me by surprise. I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from this series. It was just amazing! YA lovers, if you want something unpredictable and absolutely fantastic, then you definitely have to read this book.

*Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for a copy!
July 31, 2013
Waterfell is not a lot of things. It is not a romance. It is not a mermaid tale. It not your usual teen book. Waterfell, instead is a book about love, honor, trust and betrayal. It is a book about friendship and loyalty and about being true to who you really are. It is all of those things wrapped up in an action packed book about a race of sea creatures that can morph into human form. It is about Nerissa, their princess, who is living among humans to stay safe from those that killed her father and want to rule her Kingdom. Narissa has to summon the courage to do the right thing, not just for herself, but for her entire race. As if that is not enough, she has to do it while not falling for a human boy, not losing her best friend and not jeopardizing the lives of those closest to her.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,654 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 15, 2013
Pages Read: 94

Okay, I know I said I would finish this, but I'm booooored. Suffice it to say that this book is full of ill-considered metaphors, instalove, and O_o worldbuilding.
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
November 17, 2013
Review from Ja čitam, a ti?

And I thought this would be a Little Mermaid re-telling. I was sure Waterfell would be a retelling of Andersen's famous fairy tale about mermaid princess who fell in love with a boy and wanted to be human so she could be with him. Even after first few pages I wasn't sure, everything pointed out to that premise, but quickly I realized I was wrong.

Our heroine, Nerissa, is not human but also she is not mermaid no matter the fact that her "natural habitat" is sea and ocean. She goes to high school, has friends, goes out, have guardians and big brother who likes to stick his nose where he shouldn't and, of course, there is hot, new guy . Typical girl, if you ignore the fact that she is a monster. Okay, she is not monster. But you'll have to read the book to figure out things for yourself.

To be honest, plot is quite predictable (or maybe it's just me and the fact that I read over hundred books like this so I know what to expect), but what makes it fresh and new is mythology. I enjoyed that part of the story the most, but I wish that Amelie Howard focused more on that aspect of her novel than the romance. Some parts have unfinished feeling, but I am guessing that we will find out everything in the sequels.

Romance. I believe that it won't be a big surprise for most of the readers that central motif of the Waterfell is love. Nerissa and Lo - the almost star crossed lovers. Some parts felt little bit over the top, but on the other hand there were few really hot scenes (young adult hot, nothing else).

Characters. Typical for this genre and, for me, not so likeable, especially Nerissa who is mostly self-centered and selfish. I didn't find her "transformation" very believable and honest. Lo was okay, I wondered few times how could he go along with all Nerissa's mood changes, but his background was something I didn't predict until the very end.

Who should read it? All of you who love young adult paranormal romance novels. I think that younger readers will probably enjoy it more that older ones.
Profile Image for Marissa DeCuir.
231 reviews11 followers
July 29, 2013
What a brilliant idea for a story!! I was so fascinated by the premise of this whole other world out there us humans don't know about, but the Aquarathi all know well about us and actually send their leaders to come learn with the humans so we can all live peacefully. And the heir to the throne is having to save her people, yes, but more so the humans from the Aquarathi "bad guys."

I kept picturing this under water world, and what the Aquarathi look like. And the way the author brings up certain things in her writing, it makes you wonder if something like this could really be the explanation for some of the things that happen in the ocean! I know that sounds wild, but I just mean to say that she does a great job of making it feel more real even though it's fantasy and all made up.

I love the heroine of the story. And I have to admit her love interest had me captivated from the very beginning. Those eyes, I could just picture them!

This is a really engaging, unique story recommended with the most enthusiasm I could give!
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews715 followers
September 25, 2013
Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews

Waterfell barely qualifies as a mermaid book. The problem is that Nerissa has spent most of her recent life on land, so about 95% of the book takes place on land, in high school, with high school drama, and high school love interests. There are a couple snippets of mermaid action near the end, or talks about this underwater kingdom, but they don't feel real. Even the antagonist (Ehmora—the one who stole Nerissa's kingdom) feels distant and far away, because we don't physically meet her until the very end. So until then, it's just a vague idea of some evil mermaid.

One of my biggest problems with Waterfell was Nerissa herself. For the first half of the book in particular, Nerissa was a raging bitch. I hated her. Mostly she was a complete bitch to Lo, but what really drove me nuts was that she had no reason to insult him so much. Lo was nice to her and she was just like, "OMG he's so arrogant" (when he totally wasn't) and was an ass to him.

I could never fall for a boy like Lo. He's too self-confident and too amused all the time, like everything is part of some big joke.

"He's so self-absorbed, it's insane. He practically followed me here after the game."

It irks me that he looks entirely too comfortable.

Lo is still completely arrogant.

...over and over again... Just look at what she's saying. She was constantly looking for things about Lo to complain about. I mean, she's annoyed that he looks too comfortable? Seriously? But the big thing was that Nerissa constantly called him arrogant and self-absorbed but he wasn't. Lo was genuinely a nice guy.

Then, right after insulting him, she'd start drooling over him.

the fiery feeling still licking through my entire body at Lo's nearness.

My attraction to this boy is skyrocketing with each passing second and the attempt to calm my nervous energy is only making me focus on it more.

And who knows what that might have turned into—me climbing on top of Lo and having my way with him or...

His simple touch ignites a flame in the pit of my stomach that spreads through my chest and into my limbs like wildfire.

I'm drawn to [his eyes] like water.

And all this was insta-love at its finest. Lo and Nerissa never really sit down and talk, they don't get to know each other, and they don't slowly get intimate. There's a clear attraction immediately, Nerissa denies her feelings by insulting Lo, and then finally she gives in and they get all lusty. There's barely a real relationship here. Although I kind of liked Lo at times, I also felt like his character was quite shallow—probably because we don't actually learn much about him other than how his eyes are amazing and totally swim-able.

And when she wasn't insulting him or drooling over him, she was complaining about how he didn't like her, when he so obviously did.

he's not interested.

One thing I found hilarious was this line from Nerissa:

I'm not the one with the bipolar mood swings.

And yet... see above. She was totally bipolar. One minute she hates Lo because he's arrogant. The next she's like, "Omg I love you and want to swim in your eyes."

And from Lo's perspective.. why did he like Nerissa? She was kind of a bitch, so why did he like her? Well we have this lovely reasoning:

"Because you intrigue me. There's something so different about you. You're not at all like any of the girls I know."

Sigh. How many times have we heard that line in YA books? It's just that standard insta-love reason: There's something different about you.

In terms of writing, I found some of the lines at the end of the chapters to be so cheesy. I wish I highlighted more, but in the last half of the book I started highlighting a few of the last sentences in each chapter. It's like the end of each chapter was very specifically written to be something intense and dramatic, but I thought they were a bit over-done. It made them feel... lame.

She won't betray us. She can't. Or she'll have to die.

It's not Ehmora that will be the death of me. It's this boy.

Because one thing's for certain... if I don't, I'll die.

And the last thing I'll complain about is the twist at the end. It wasn't necessarily a bad twist, but I thought it was so obvious. I called it almost at the very beginning. I felt like it was a pretty obvious and typical twist. It's exactly what you'd expect.

There were a few things that I kind of liked about Waterfell . For example, I liked Nerissa's human friend Jenna. She was a little bit unrealistically smart, but she was kind of cool. I liked how intelligent she was and I even liked her boyfriend Sawyer. He kind of seemed like a big teddy bear (really sweet and nice, but not 100% all there lol).

Ultimately, Waterfell just weighed on my patience as the book went on. It started out okay, I tried to forgive the insta-love at first, but then Nerissa in particular just wore me down with her totally bitchy and bipolar attitude. And by the end of the book, I even lost interest in the overall plot and the whole idea of the mermaid kingdom. I was skimming the last like 20% of the book because I just wanted it to end.
Profile Image for Diayll.
459 reviews48 followers
October 10, 2013
Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Sarika

This book was, in my opinion, the perfect example of how a YA novel should be written. To give you a better idea of my admiration of the author, I actually began devising a list of reasons why this book (or the author) can seriously kick ass (in the best possible way).

-The book starts off brilliantly-in the heart of the conflict. Needless to say, I was raptured from the very first page!
-The novel balanced out the suspense very well. Although I did have a general prediction of what would happen towards the end, I was constantly questioning myself-which is what every good mystery writer should do.

-The premise of the book was beautiful. The descriptions were intricate and detailed, but never overdone. The world building for both Waterfell and Sana were brilliantly handled, in my opinion.

-The love interests were balanced very nicely, and it definitely wasn’t a case of insta-love. The author has a firm grasp on how to control the audience’s emotions; ensuring that we’re all very invested in the characters before manipulating the plot and toying with them (Don’t worry about them, though. They’ll be fine. Mostly).

-For once, in a novel, the most poignant relationship (At least to me) wasn’t a supernatural romance, but an everyday friendship. My favorite character in the book (who also happens to be the most badass) is the understated best friend, Jenna. In most cases, authors often neglect the side characters and leave them there as a backdrop to the emotions of the protagonist-simply there as a plot transition or as comic relief. Waterfell, however, explores the questions all of us must have thought at some point; how faithful should a sidekick be expected to be? What would be their mindset when going through the tumult that surrounds the protagonist? And most importantly, who is the real hero in a situation like this? Someone who rises to their duty because they are chosen-the protagonist, or someone who chooses to involve herself in the conflict despite no direct duty or obligation to do so. The answer, at least in my opinion, is the latter. If you were a real person, and if I actually owned a hat, it would be off to you.

-Lastly (And I apologize for the length of this list), the main character is flawed. She’s selfish, cowardly at times, and occasionally outright stupid. But this is acknowledged, and dealt with, which fits in the novel beautifully.

So there you have it! I’d recommend this one to anyone looking for a refreshing, well-paced mystery/fantasy series. Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
641 reviews301 followers
December 1, 2013
Nerissa Marin isn’t your average teenager. She’s secretly the runaway princess of an ancient underwater world called Waterfell, sent away by her father to learn the ways of humans to better understand them. Rissa also has run away from her duties as the queen-to-be by deciding not to return to Waterfell and avenge her father’s murderer – except that her guardians still expect her to take up her crown, and when she comes of age she’s expected to fight for her kingdom.

I really liked Nerissa as a character. I liked her a ridiculous amount. I loved her voice and the narration and her over the top angst and selfishness and the way she turned herself around to become responsible and ultimately fight for her crown. I really loved her relationship with her human best friend Jenna. I even loved how Rissa was determined not to fall for the cocky, arrogant bad-boy wannabe hottie-pants Lo right away. There was no insta-love in this book. I also really loved how Rissa had hobbies and interests that expanded beyond the boy, including school hockey and ocean conservation, which served to round out her character and add depth to the story.

See the full review on The Moonlight Library!
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 40 books8,982 followers
June 12, 2015
I fell in love with the Aquarathi right along with Lo. Such a fresh take on an "under the sea" adventure. Loved it!
Profile Image for Kristin.
266 reviews21 followers
January 8, 2015
**Cue the sighing**

I'm so disappointed because this book had so much potential.

I don't want to write a long review because I know it's going to end up being a rant, so I'll just list the things I did and did not like.

-The writing style. It's very simple; The author doesn't just gloss over things, yet she also doesn't pound you with too much detail. I thought it was pretty decent.
-The world. The "creatures" in the novel were really interesting and I loved the different take on mermaids (but they aren't actually called mermaids in the book. I still pictured them as mermaids though.) Their powers, and the world of Sana and Waterfell were so different from all the other books I read. It's one of the things I actually really liked about this book and it's what made me want to keep reading.
The pros stop there unfortunately.

-The characters. Holy hell, the main character Nerissa was so irritating and bitchy. I could not stand her. She was selfish, stupid, and mean. There was absolutely no reason for her to be such a bitch to a lot of these characters. Let's start with Cara (her ex-best friend, now enemy). Throughout the entire novel, the only thing Cara does to Nerissa is glare at her. That's it. She just looks at her with evil eyes, but apparently that's a good enough reason for Nerissa to talk shit. I didn't understand it. Then we have Lo, the love interest, who I did not even like, but we'll get to that later. He barely says anything to her, except smirk a bunch of times, and Nerissa already comes to the conclusion that he's an arrogant asshole, and she treats him like crap. Honestly, it was too much to even call her bitchiness a flaw. She was just a selfish and mean person.

Okay, can we talk about Lo for a second. Seriously, he is one of the most boring and underdeveloped characters I have read about in a long time. I couldn't see why everyone liked him. He had no personality and he provided nothing for the story . You could have completely erased him from this novel and it would have been ten times better and 100 pages shorter.

-Which leads me to my next complaint: the romance. Why the hell was there even a romance in this story. We could have totally done without it and I probably would have bumped the rating by a few stars. The romance was pointless to the story, and did nothing for the characters. Their relationship was not believable at all. I don't understand how no one thought to just delete the entire romance plot from the book. It overshadowed everything interesting and good about the novel, which is really disappointing because I loved the world and concept of the story. Ugh.

-The predictability. The plot was way too predictable. I pretty much saw the entire end coming from about 50 pages into the book .

-Not much character development. Like I said, I really didn't like Nerissa. About halfway through the book, she admits that she's bitchy and selfish. Yay, good for you Nerissa, and thank you Jenna (her best friend) for calling her out on it! But does she do anything about it? Nope. At least not until the last few pages. And even then, her personality change was too drastic because there was no gradual development. Also, I mentioned that Lo was very one-dimensional. The part of the problem was that there wasn't a lot of important dialogue with him. We get his past and backstory from everyone else, except for him. I wish there were more intimate and deeper conversations between Lo and Nerissa, but the author rushed everything about the romance and Lo's character. Again, sigh.

-Lastly, pacing. It dragged too much in the middle. I honestly think this book could have been maybe 100 pages shorter. Nothing really happened until maybe the last 4 chapters of the book.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but seriously. So disappointed. I'm glad I won this from a Goodreads giveaway and not actually paid for this myself. Overall, would not recommend, I mean, unless you like bitchy characters and unnecessary romance. Then go ahead, You'll love this.

(..and it ended up becoming a long review/rant. Sorry..)
Profile Image for Dana.
120 reviews152 followers
October 8, 2013
Waterfell is definitely not the story I was expecting it to be. I was expecting a cool mermaid story that had a deeper mythology and a really strong main character. I wouldn't say I hated this book but because of my high expectations and misconceptions I ended up being turned off my this novel. It actually got me into a reading slump. I didn't want to even finish it but I was half-way through so I felt I needed to.

I was expecting a book about mermaids but what I got is a book about aliens that are aquatic creatures. I am a fan of aliens but if I wanted to read an alien book I would have picked a different one. I think there is it unique but this book was deceiving. Another problem I had with this book was the narrator Nerissa. She is really annoying and shallow. Nerissa was hard for me to like and I didn't find my self rooting for her. She just seemed like a spoiled b*tch. She spends one half of this novel hating Lo and then the other half she all of a sudden has fallen in love with them. Also the fact that she didn't grow up in the human world was almost forgotten after the first chapter. I thought she was only there for around 4 years. She even says she has a slight accent when speaking English. So what bothered me was that she knew so many pop cultural references like Borat and Roswell (TV Show). Excuse Me, but Roswell came out in 1999 most teens have no clue what that show is so a teen that didn't grow up in the "Human World" would never know it.

It was insta -love that was done wrong. I know many people despise insta-love but for me it usually isn't an issue if I am so wrapped up in this story and romance I could care less. But Nerissa goes from talking bad stuff about this guy she randomly meets to saying she loves him. As a reader you just get fed up with her. Lo and Jenna made up for me not liking Nerissa. I could have read this book from Jenna's point of view and enjoyed it more.

The plot twists were extremely predictable and I saw them from the start. It was annoying because I felt like I was waiting for Nerissa to figure out the inevitable the entire novel. I was bored most of this story. The pacing was extremely slow and I already knew where it was going.

I did really enjoy Amalie Howard's writing style. Her sentences are really beautiful and matched the story because they had this great flow like water. I think Waterfell and its creatures are very different and the world building was good. It could have been less telling and more showing but it was better to see the world later on in the novel. I think it was branded in a way that screamed mermaids and I wish that it had more of an alien vibe to it.

If you're looking for a different not- so- mermaid type of mermaid story that you aren't going to take very seriously. I would say read it but I have heard good reviews of it. I really wished I liked this story. I don't think I will be picking up the sequel but the last 50 pages or so were pretty good.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,738 reviews1,306 followers
September 2, 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin teen and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Nerissa looks like a normal human girl, but is actually a sea-creature taking on the form of a human.
Nerissa is also royalty within her kind, and with her father murdered, she’s the rightful heir to the throne, but things aren’t that simple. While Nerissa is living among humans and going to school, someone else has taken her throne, and it’s up to Nerissa to get it back – if she wants to that is.

Nerissa isn’t sure that she wants to be queen, and she’s not sure she wants to go back to her home of Waterfell, to the place where her father was killed. Her subjects are relying on her though.

When Nerissa meets Lo, a new boy at school, she’s attracted to him even though she doesn’t want to be, and slowly she begins to fall for him.
Can Nerissa reclaim her throne? Can she defeat the false queen who has taken her place? And can she have Lo when she might have to leave him behind?

This was an okay paranormal romance, but I liked the romance a lot more than I liked the rest of the storyline.

Nerissa was an okay character, and I kind of admired her for her decision not to go back to Waterfell after her father’s death. If she didn’t want the responsibility of being queen, and didn’t want to go back to the place that reminded her of her murdered father, then fair enough. I did think that she really showed her true colours as we got further into the book though, and showed her royal breeding.

The storyline in this was okay, but I did get a bit bored in places. It reminded me a little of ‘Of Poseidon’ what with the sea creatures living on land, and sharks etc. but it did have its differences too. There was some action, but I just didn’t feel all that interested unfortunately.

While the storyline wasn’t captivating at the beginning, what I did like about this book was the romance. The way that Nerissa and Lo were together was just so sweet! I loved the way they flirted and the way they grew to love each other, and the moments where they were together were just lovely. I really loved the sweet romance, and it totally kept me reading past the boring bits.

The ending to this one was okay, but I wish I hadn’t read the last two pages, because something that happened between Lo and Nerissa ruined the happily ever after ending. I know that this is a series, and I get that the author wants us to want the second book, but with that romance I want it anyway!
Overall; an okay fishy tale, with a sweet and lovely romance.
7.5 out of 10
Profile Image for Soma Rostam.
239 reviews27 followers
September 22, 2013
I have heard of the author and I was familiar with her writing before, since I read her other book, Bloodspell, a while ago. Although I didn't like Bloodspell a lot, I fell in love with this one. And it was a truly delightful read!
Nerissa has been hiding among humans for a long while. She has to. No one can know her true identity. That she's a princess of a kingdom under the sea. And on her seventeenth birthday, she has to fight the evil ruler who killed her father and take back her kingdom. She can't tell Jenna, her best friend. She can't tell Lo, the human guy that she DEFINITELY shouldn't fall for, but whom she is.
I love books about creatures under the sea. Kingdoms under the sea. They always sound like fairy tales, things that little girls dream of in the night, and I LOVE that. Amalie Howard has a talent for writing in the paranormal genre. And although her previous book was about witches and vampires and werewolves, this one is about the Aquarathi, the huge creatures living in the Waterfell Kingdom. And Nerissa is their princess.
I have to admit that, at first, i didn't like Nerissa at all. She acts like she's above everyone else, and she commandes the guardians she lives with. She was hard to like , but after she met Lo, and turned into a cute teenager and a brave leader, all wrappe into one, I started admiring her. But my favorite character was Jenna, Nerissa's best friend. She is the true role model of how every best friend should be. I so wanted her to be real, only because I wanted a friend like her, once that I could tell my secrets to and not worry about anyone finding out. I adored her.
This book is full of twists and turns. In the middle , it got a bit boring and slow-moving. But that was quickly replaced by fighting scenes and a lot of things were at stake towards the end. I didn't see the twists coming, and I liked that. Although this book is not the best out there, it was still intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages, and it made me want to read more about the Aquarathi people. So, if you're a fan of the paranormal, and would like a new twist to it, then this is the book for you!
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,947 reviews305 followers
October 4, 2013
Nerissa hopes to blend in but soon finds herself loving human life and her friends. How can she leave all this now ? Four years ago, Nerissa was living under sea in her home community of Waterfell where she is a Royal Princess and next in line for the throne. As part of the royal commands - Nerissa must in order to prepare for the throne spend four years in the "human world" . Whilst living in the human world Nerissa receives notification that her father has died and soon her priorities have changed and she no longer wants to be a part of her rightful world and is happy for her nemesis Ehmora to take the throne. But in order for that to happen Ehmora must challenge Nerissa for her position and Nerissa doesn't want anything to do with it at all. What happens though when a new guy at her school starts to pay her attention - does he like her or does he have a reason for sorting her out ? All her life Nerissa has believed her mother was dead - what will happen when she finds out that her mother is alive ? Will this be the pushing point for Nerissa to fight or flee from the throne one last time ?
Find out in the new series by Amalie Howard with Book #1 Waterfell.
Profile Image for Julie.
113 reviews16 followers
August 1, 2013
I don't want to let out any spoilers, so I'm very careful how I write this. But, one of my favorite aspects of this is novel is the relationship between Riss and Jenna. The author handled it really well and it's a friendship between girls that is very satisfying. There are twists at every turn in this book about the sea. I dare you not to love it!
Profile Image for Karielle at Books à la Mode.
330 reviews83 followers
October 26, 2013
The laws of human attraction are new to me.
I'm breathless.
Just before I walk into the classroom, I glance over my shoulder. Lo's eyes are deep and piercing. I feel the weight of them hovering, watching. Holding me motionless as time, too, stands still. I force myself to peel my gaze away from his compelling stare, making my feet obey weak commands to enter the classroom... the one in front of the other, like a drone. Something hot pulses across the back of my neck, racing across my body, and I can't even think.
It's not Ehmora who will be the death of me.
It's this boy.

Sixteen-year-old Nerissa Marin, daughter and next heir of the Aquarathi's High Court, just wants to be normal. She goes to a normal high school, has normal friends, and does normal girly things like shopping and surfing and field hockey, but when her father is murdered for reasons she knows are beyond political, she is forced to face her greatest fear: sacrifice her "normal" life and return to the kingdom of Waterfell to serve as the reluctant queen. However, Ehmora, an evil and spiteful lower-ranking ruler, wants to take over the fallen kingdom, and is even willing to challenge Riss for the throne, which won't only make her transition to ruler even more difficult, but may reveal secrets about Riss's family—and about Riss—that are beyond her wildest beliefs.

Even though Waterfell is about supernatural beings that live underwater, it is a far cry from your typical mermaid romance. In fact, the species here aren't even mermaids; they're Aquarathi, a vividly created variety of alien, who look more like Loch Ness monsters (but can take on human forms) and reside at the bottom of the ocean.

The alternate Aquarathi world Howard constructs is stunning and really elaborate, but that's where my praise for this book ends. As detailed as Nerissa's universe is and as original as the story was, everything is painfully predictable, from the character twists (I guessed Lo's "deep dark secret" the moment we meet him), to the final battle against Ehmora, which isn't only predictable, but also anticlimactic. There are random curveballs thrown into the plot—which I'll refrain from giving away out of respect for spoiler-phobics—and these are unexpected, but none of them are particularly shocking or significant to the story. The organization of the elements of surprise is very poor; although there is a lot of tension regarding Nerissa's safety and royal obligations, there is no "Oh my god" moment. Waterfell just plateaus at a certain point, and afterwards it's all just very "meh."

Even more unfortunately, I really, really disliked Nerissa. She does have her tender, vulnerable moments (in which I momentarily pity her, at best), but there is nothing about her that is friendly or even pleasant. She's quite bitchy, as a matter of fact; I tolerated her as a character, but as a narrator, found her excruciating. Her priorities blur when she meets a charming, troubled boy with mysterious, jolting blue eyes... Lo Seavon, a mere human boy—and yet unlike any human she's met before. As she becomes more and more entangled in the mess that is teenage love, her faith in humanity proves to be her biggest strength and possibly even her most catastrophic downfall... which is just what Ehmora may be anticipating from her.

Lo, the love interest, isn't much of an improvement in terms of irritating characters. There's a lot of focus on the color of his eyes and the angle of his smile, but he's so unmemorable and insubstantial, that the entire "romantic" aspect of this book just completely falls apart. There is no spark between him and Riss, no love (none I could feel, anyway). This establishes very flimsy grounds for a YA romance, and I was highly disappointed with it.

Another thing that made Waterfell difficult to get through was Howard's penchant for telling, rather than showing. She has a solid style and tells a linear story studded with danger, betrayals, and plenty of secrets, but her superfluous descriptions are exasperating—eventually, an undemonstrative style gets dull. I swear I'm not being nit-picky, here; there are literally lines and lines that go on like this: "Lo is so arrogant but at the same time sweet, smart, and caring ... He's handsome but troubled." Why would anyone EVER try to summarize such crucial characterization into single sentences like that?! Okay, rant over.

Creative notion of Aquarathi and underwater kingdom // Steep tension (which admittedly leads to a disappointing peak) // Easy to follow; paranormal world well explained // Strong narrative voice // Messages about humanity, friendship, and duty

Hate Nerissa as a person/alien // Romance is a dud; I neither liked Lo, nor did I feel any chemistry // Every. single. character. is annoying and so two-dimensional that it's unrealistic // Terribly anticlimactic // Lots of telling over showing; makes for lots of boring details

I stare blindly at the ocean, considering all the reasons that I don't like [Lo]. I hate the way he looks at me as if he knows me, when he knows nothing about me at all. I hate the way he talks, the way he looks, and the fact that everyone—including my own best friends—seems to adore him. I hate the way he smiles so easily at anything Jenna or Cara say, when all he can do is snap mocking comments at me. I hate the way he makes me feel with one glance as if all the water in my body is electrified and I can't breathe. I hate how he surfs, and how his lips curve into a lopsided smile when he's happy. I hate everything about him, especially his stupid lips.

Ignoring the tiny shiver coursing through me at the thought of Lo's lips, I sigh and swallow past the knot in my throat, watching him laugh easily at something Jenna says. Suddenly, I realize that I'm envious because, deep down, I want him to be that way with me.


And then the truth hits me like a curling wave.

I don't hate him at all.

Waterfell shows some promise with its highly imaginative underwater universe, but I couldn't really get into it because of its static, predictable plot combined with even more static, even more predictable characters (Nerissa MARin? Lo SEAvon? That isn't just a coincidence, and it's ridiculous how the naming just go casually unnoticed). Amalie Howard's first in the Aquarathi series isn't miserable; I do think it was worth reading, if only just for the straightforward story, as well as for Nerissa's fascinating transition into the royalty kingdom. If you're looking for a really good toe-curling paranormal young adult romance, however, this would not be the first book I'd recommend you reach for; while it does illuminate upon the humanity of love and how it can both weaken and empower, I found it mediocre at best, and weak in multiple vital areas.

Rating: 5 out of 10 hearts (3 stars): Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book.

Complimentary ARC provided by publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review as part of the virtual book tour (thank you, JKS Communications!).
Profile Image for Brooke.
954 reviews188 followers
September 24, 2014
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!

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?

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!
Profile Image for Celine.
240 reviews125 followers
October 19, 2013
Forgiveness releases the forgiver.

Oh, Waterfell. I was so excited when I saw that Harlequin Teen had approved me to read this e-ARC. "Maybe it's finally a decent mermaid book," I thought. "Maybe this is the book I've been waiting for." I couldn't have been more wrong. Just look at the rating - one lonely star.

I disliked the book right off the bat. Nerissa is playing a field hockey game, sees a great pass, and refuses to play it because she dislikes the girl to whom she should play the pass. See, I've played field hockey. If you see a pass, if you see anything that could help the game, you do it. Personal preferences or petty fights don't matter on the field - it's you and your team against the other team. Without teamwork, you're nowhere. Not to mention that the girl, Cara, who is painted as the mean girl, actually never does anything to Nerissa except glare at her. In the whole novel. Like, whoa, I can see why you're archenemies! *cough cough* Yes, Nerissa apologizes to Cara later in the novel, but I don't think she ever really meant it. She just apologized to be done with it, not because she truly felt sorry.

Then a new guy arrives at Nerissa's school. He's called Lo. This is where the eye-bleeding stuff starts. Guess... They fall in insta-love! Hurray! Nerissa lays her eyes on Lo and feels tingles, feels alive, feels yada yada yada. Oh, she denies she feels anything for him, yet she doesn't stop thinking about him. Ever. Just read for yourself:

Lo smiles. I force myself not to notice that his teeth are whiter than I remember or to acknowledge the tiny response that makes my ears feel like they're melting into unrecognizable nubs.


"Hey, Cara," Lo says to her with a smile that could melt butter.

Apart from Lo's smile, that's apparently extremely beautiful, what kind of writing is this? His smile can melt butter? What is he, a microwave?

Fighting my stupid reaction to his buttery voice, (...)

So his voice is buttery too. How can a voice even be buttery? This defintely falls into Edward Cullen's 'velvety'-voice category. Anyway, later on they kiss and then they're in wuuve! It's like magic, people. And they have, like, the best conversations evah: (am I being too snarky? Hehe)

"It's just Jenna. She thinks you've kidnapped me and are forcing me to go all Fifty Shades on you."
"It wouldn't be forcing, would it?" Lo says, and I elbow him in the side, blushing.

Do people flirt like this? It just feels unnatural. This also seems like a good point to introduce Jenna: Nerissa's best friend. Now, I'm glad Jenna isn't the slutty bitch most 'best friends' seem to be lately, but she, too, is unnatural. She's apparently a total nerd and knows everything about everything. Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a nerd. I'm smart (not all the time, though) and I score good on IQ tests. Me and my friends are usually top of the class: we all get good grades. I'm not saying all this to brag (and believe me, I can be extremely stupid!), but to illustrate a point. While I like learning and getting good grades and all, I'm not a walking encyclopedia. Nor are any of my friends (and believe me, especially one of them is extremely smart). Sure, there are a few topics that I know more than the average about, but they're specific and small topics. My friends and I do not know every little detail about every subject that exists. It seems, however, that Jenna does. She's extremely convenient when it comes to the plot: if something needs explaining, she'll be there! Except when it would actually make sense to say to Nerissa that she's being dumb. Like here:

"What did you tell him?" Jenna asks, sitting next to me.
"That we're moving to South Africa."
"That far?"
"It has to be far," I say. "And remote, with no internet. (...)

Excuse me while I laugh at your ignorance. What's the reasoning behind this? "Some parts of Africa are poor, so they have no internet"? If I Google "south africa hotel with wifi" I get several sites with several hotels, that all have internet. But does Jenna correct Nerissa? No she doesn't. She's probably too busy preparing her speech on the finer details of genetics, because she knows all about that. God, this all is just so stupid.

In all, I was heavily disappointed. Full of info-dumping, instant love and predictability, Waterfell just fell short for me. The only good point was Nerissa and Jenna's friendship, which was healthy and based on mutual respect. Unfortunately, Jenna was too busy being smart and Nerissa was too busy making Cara's life hell. The final verdict: did not like at all.

Thank you, Harlequin Teen, for providing me with a digital galley of this book. No money or favors were exchanged to alter this review.
Profile Image for Maci Dierking.
897 reviews22 followers
July 6, 2022
This was not Mermaid/Siren like I was hoping. But there is a whole undersea kingdom/ocean vibe. There was a surprising plot twist I didn't really expect and the ending was decent. But I found it a bit slow and a little boring at parts. The characters seemed more concerned with prom than they did the evil lurking in their mist hehe.
Profile Image for Breanna Thompson.
28 reviews34 followers
April 22, 2015
Waterfell Book Review

I think this book will be the cause of my death.

Nerissa Marin looks like your average everyday 16 year old and blends in like a piece of a puzzle.
But theres a catch she is no normal human girl she is Aquarthi a sea creature with similar features to a sea serpent, She is no regular one at that she is pure blooded royalty after her father was murdered Nerissa had flee from the sudden wrath of Queen Ehmora and to settle down on the surface and act as a normal High School student living in San Diego with her best friends family.

She has no simple life, left with daunting thoughts on how she can take back her rightful place on the throne that was stolen from her by her by queen Ehmora of the ruby court who is on a rampage to get all the power she can get and take over all courts of the sea.

Nerissa is unsure about becoming queen and is constantly having doubts to as if she should take back her birth rite. At the age of 16 she doesn't believe that she is fit for the throne yet and prepared to battle Ehmora who has much more experience in these situations.

Nerissa is a straight A student and a fabulous athlete, in fact her sights are set on being the perfect student and ignoring her birth rite. That is until bad boy surfer Lo Seavon turns up and messes everything up for her and catches her attention.

Even on the surface she is not safe with spies and assigns waiting around very corner nowhere is safe for Nerissa and she knows the time is coming for her to face the queen of the ruby court.

But there is a shocking betrayal from two people she holds dear to her heart
can she stay away from Lo the human boy?


What are Aquarthi?

The Aquarthi are new modern twist on mermaids with different more serpent like features. They live the same way that we do in an underwater socity but with kings and queens for every court. The Aquarthi are the size of a small whale she is no beauty like a mermaid or siren but is beautiful in there own way, They have scales covering there whole body and have Claw like fingernails of course they have the classic tail for Nerissa she has the mark of a queen an elegant arrangement of coral like looking spike growing from her head. The sailors that have sighted the aquarthi have described them as sea monsters that lurk deep in the ocean and prey upon humans and there boats that they use to travel with.

I really liked the fact that they were not your regular mermaid or siren but essentially a sea monster many authors wouldn't take the risk of changing there characters into scary and frightening looking beings but Howard went out there and did it and i'm so glad she did because i have not seen Characters like this for a very long time.

I absolutely loved Nerissa she was a strong and stealthy protagonist who was prepared and ready for anything to come her way should she nigh to fight she was prepared and ready to defend her loved ones. At first she was a shell a wimp what ever you want to call her she was getting distracted by other things and wasn't going to protect her people from the wrath of Ehmora, but then her best friend Speio talks some sense into her and she starts training with his father to prepare for the battle. Though Nerissa made many mistakes she willingly admits them which is a good&bad trait in my opinion.

The thing that makes Nerissa so relatable is that she is not perfect and she is willing to admit her faults but she gets back up and fights on as if nothing had ever happened.

Though i was loving just up until she fell in love with smug little bastard Lo..... Ohhh ok umm here we go he was a cocky self smug son of a bitch. I Wanted to rip my hair out the moment she started noticing him i knew there was something FISHY about hime the moment he walked into that school. Other than that this was an absolutely awesome book the plot was exciting and exhilarating the whole way through, even thought Lo hasn't really grown on me I'm starting to understand his character and getting over the fact that he is a bastard for the sake of the amazing plot line and Nerissa.

So that just about sum's this book up it was in no way like your average mermaid book obviously because it wasn't about mermaids. The character were all awsome except for Lo most of the time, there was a good dose of thrill and excitement, thought the romance was not the best it was still cute in a way. And i cannot leave out the BETRAYAL i mean how the crap did that happen????

I really did love this book and i can't wait to read the second book Oceanborn!!!

“Forgiveness is a choice. You control how you respond to something or someone. You can't change things that happened in the past, but you can decide how you let them affect you.”
― Amalie Howard, Waterfell

I give this book a solid 4 stars


Profile Image for Alisha.
928 reviews81 followers
May 20, 2016
Nerissa is an Aquarathi Princess, and the heir to the throne of the High Court, destined to become Queen. As a royal she has to leave her kingdom and spend 4 years living among the humans and blending in. It's during this time that her father, the King is murdered, his last message being for her to never return. When she turns 17 she will come of age, and succeed to the throne, a throne that has currently been stolen by her nemesis.

Nerissa is trying to blend in with the humans, trying to forget all about her Kingdom and having to go back. But when the usurper Queen confronts her, she throws down the gauntlet for a challenge for the crown, a challenge that will end in death for one of them, taking place on her birthday. Determined to avenge her father and become the Queen she was born to be, she throws herself into the training she tossed aside when her father died. Amid all the training, the danger and the lies, Lo shows up. Along with her best friend Jenna, Lo quickly becomes one of the few people she trusts.

With the news that her mother is not dead but is a prisoner of her nemesis, Lo is the only one she can trust to help her try to locate her. Falling in love is not something Nerissa should do, let alone ever expected to do, especially as Lo is a human. But as her birthday nears, her feelings for Lo can't be denied. But is her mother really a prisoner? Is Lo who he says he is? Who's lying to her? And when someone close to her betrays her in the worst way possible, can she hold it together to win her crown back?

Colour me pleasantly surprised with this book. I took one look at the title and the cover of the book (yes I know, shame on me judging books by covers) and I assumed the book was going to be a nice little YA with mermaids and forbidden love. I was so gloriously wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love a good mermaid book, but this was so so much better. Nerissa is an Alien but an Alien that lives in the bottom of the Marianas Trench, she can adopt a human disguise, but she is a essentially a sea creature of sorts, with power over water. A Mermalien if you will.

The mythology in this book was spectacular and intricate, the chunks of background info are smoothly combined in with the narrative and doesn't disrupt the flow of the book. The descriptions are detailed but never overdone. The book jumps straight in with the story, I was hooked from the first page, and is fast paced throughout. Howard has taken her own incredibly unique mythology, and woven an incredible story, totally different from any other YA book out there. The world building and imagery are so detailed and vivid.

I will admit, I did guess the giantly huge reveal regarding a certain character at the end, but overall the book had loads of twists and turns that I never saw coming. I found the characters where well written, dimensional and believable, although I freely admit to not really liking Nerissa much at points because she was selfish, among other flaws but she goes on a journey throughout the book and she redeems herself and becomes a better person. To be quite honest, it's nice to have a flawed heroin instead of the perfect ones that can do no wrong. While making me dislike her slightly, it also made her more likeable and realistic.

The love story was balanced, it was cute and it was believable, it wasn't the insta-love I so dislike as I've stated before. Howard has the ability to make you invested in the characters, before ripping the rug out from under you and playing with them, leaving them mostly intact. I loved how Riss and Jenna's friendship was at the forefront of the book, the best friend in these types of stories are usually shoved aside, their relationship secondary to the love story, but in Waterfell, the friendship between Jenna and Riss is equally as important if not more at times, than the romance. Jenna isn't the standard sidekick hovering in the background, she's present throughout everything, taking her role as best friend seriously, and tasering anyone who tries to hurt her BFF. Yes I said taser.

Waterfell has an entirely unique premise, with unique mythology that I personally have never come across before in a YA book. It's like nothing I ever read and stands out from the standard YA books. It's fast paced, action packed, full of intricate and beautiful descriptions, cute romance, a beautiful friendship, and endless twists and turns. And Mermaliens. Don't forget the Mermaliens.

I'm off to go and nurse my book hangover, while I wait with baited breath for the next installment in the series!
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