Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the River of Time Trilogy
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the third book in the River of Time series and was an excellent conclusion to this series. There are two more novellas after this book called Bourne and Tributary. I loved how the central themes of the book are love and happiness despite all the war that is going on.
Gabi and Lia save their father from death in the present and travel with him and their mother back to medieval Italy. When they return they find that the nearby castle is occupied by Marcello’s enemy and rumors are that Fortuno is being held captive. Gabi and family must find Marcello and try to bring peace to realm.
Gabi is a tough heroine, she came off as a bit unrealistically tough at times even given the fact that she has sword fighting skills. At one point she is wielding a broadsword and another she climbs up a wall; both would require incredible strength. Still I enjoyed reading about her, she is easy to engage with and definitely a good character.
Marcello comes off as a bit too alpha male for me at times as well. Gabi and him definitely don’t see eye to eye on her position in his castle and his life. There is a love conquers all theme to this book, but in reality I wonder if Gabi and Marcello would be able to resolve their differences in a peacetime scenario.
There were a couple small things that bothered me about the story. All of the characters were a bit too noble for a war situation; I mean Gabi is captured and surrounded by soldiers yet the idea of her “honor” being compromised is only mentioned in passing. Since this is YA I guess we can expect a lot of the violence seen in a war situation to be glossed over…but at times it was all a bit too roses and daffodils for me.
Also there is a lot more of Gabi begging God for help and then getting that help. Yes, she does have to take situations into her own hands at times. I hate it though when characters beg to God to fix their problems…it’s even worse when that ends up being the answer to their problems. I prefer characters to grasp their own fates and not depend on God to get them out of situations. This isn’t too overwhelming but it is definitely more prominent in this book than the last two books in the series.
Aside from the above, the book in incredibly well written and very easy to read. It is also fairly predictable. The writing is very beautiful though and I enjoyed the historical setting. Bergren does an excellent job of having the girls talk to each other in modern language and stick to more traditional language when talking to other characters in the period. I love the characters and love how the whole family is on this adventure together.
Overall a satisfying conclusion to this series. The book is beautifully written and the characters easy to engage with. There is a bit more of the characters begging God to solve their problems which I didn’t enjoy. At times Gabi comes off as too tough and Marcello as too alpha male. But aside from that I really enjoyed the setting and the story. This whole series is recommended to fans of YA historical fantasy.