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|Format: Audio Download|
Vendor: Oasis Audio
Publication Date: 2012
Series: River of Time
What if you not only fell back through time... but fell in love, too? Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century, and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, months have passed, and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while their enemies will go to great lengths to see them dead. Even in the midst of the battles, Gabi’s heart is increasingly drawn to Marcello, just as Lia’s is to Luca. In medieval Italy, the sisters discover things inside themselves that they couldn’t seem to find in the present—connection with their mom, courage within, and the understanding that a life well lived often means encountering sacrifice. But in a world long past, many things still keep Gabi from giving Marcello her heart forever… and one thing in particular calls all three of the Betarrinis home.
English LadyUK,Age: 25-34Gender: Female3 Stars Out Of 5Too much like a teen 'chick-flick'February 28, 2016English LadyUK,Age: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I finally purchased the Kindle, and then the audible editions of the first three titles in the very popular River of Time series. Some might call the series pioneering, having made books set in the medieval period more popular and respectable in the Christian Fiction Genre.
I dont think it was a bad book- but- I have read- or listened to- much better. Perhaps it had something to do with the target market, and the book being written from the viewpoint of a teenage girl- but it often came across as rather silly and shallow. Certainly, Gabis speech and thoughts were true for her background, but, as other reviewers have commented, the romantic content, and out heroines approach to it, could be said to have lowered the tone. Dont get me wrong, I have no problem with romance, but not mushy and gushy romance that overcomes the story. Or silly, inconsistent behaviour and attitudes by the characters- although I guess that can be expected for teens.
A lot of the details also just struck me as being very unrealistic. Take the first scene in which Gabi falls head over heels for Marcello when she claps eyes on him during a skirmish, and starts admiring his face and physique. An unusual reaction when finding oneself just having been transported through time into the Middle of a Battle- certainly- but where was his armour?
Seriously, the average gear of a Lords son in the first half of the fourteenth century would have consisted of some pieces of plate armour, with some kind of padded tunic underneath, for extra protection. With all that on, you wouldnt really have been able to see a persons physique- and to describe as much of his face, including his cheekbones, out hero must not have been wearing a helmet at all- never a good idea in a Medieval battle. I mean seriously, was be lounging about in his undergarments or something?
Perhaps another problem was that the story tried to do too much and be too much. To tick all the boxes for what a teenage girl would like- beautiful boys, beautiful clothes, strong and tough heroine, action and adventure. Oh, there was action aplenty- but some of the fight scenes were like something out of a cheesy movie. Im sure its really not that easy to slice through armour- and as another reviewer pointed, out- a fencing rapier like Gabi was trained to use, is quite different from a medieval broadsword. Yet our heroine seemed to master its use in about 5 minutes, and by two thirds of the way through, is in the Middle of a pitched battle against people who have been training for years. Again, I have no problem with strong heroines- but I like them to be strong in a plausible way- not just because warrior women are fashionable.
Admittedly, she did learn not be quite so judgemental on some occasions (not having all the facts or knowing all the circumstances) but at times her views or the details represented popular myths about the period more than anything else. Medical ignorance and rotten teeth amongst them. Actually, its been demonstrated that more people suffered from tooth decay in the 20th century than the 14th, as a result of having too much processed sugar in their diet. That said, it did at least depict the people of the time as being concerned with bathing and hygiene.
One just didnt feel transported back to the time, as I like good historical fiction to make me feel. It all came across as a little bit superficial and shallow, especially when the historical backdrop and context seemed to fall by the wayside, and the story focused more on Gabi and Marcello (who despite his good looks, was not the most well drawn character- more like the stock sexy tough guy) kissing or wanting to kiss, or agonizing about being unavailable.
I understand that Young Adult fiction has certain limitations, and maybe looking at it from the perspective of an adult was the wrong thing to do- but this could have been so much better. . I am probably going to take it through to the end of the series, to see how the series pans out, and if the characters and story might develop more.
Readers way wish to note that due to certain content issues, this book is probably not suitable for pre-teens. This involves a character pinning down Gabi and intending to rape her, and another character taking her into a corner to talk to her, and making lewd remarks as well as inappropriate touching.
I don't really approve of such content being justified as 'realism' when its really just put in for dramatic effect, but readers may wish to exersize thier own discretion here.