Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Release Date: Out Now (Various, 2011)
Publisher: David C. Cook
Received: Purchased all three books; also provided with e-ARC of TORRENT for review.
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The River of Time Series: a teen time travel series in which two girls go from modern times to medieval Italy. Adventure, romance, suspense, and a hefty dose of conflict will hopefully make this series page-turners for young women…that’s my goal, anyway! I concepted the series after reading theTwilight series with my teen.
(From Lisa T. Bergren's website)

It’s always hard to separate a trilogy when the books are read back-to-back, and even more complicated when it comes to a review. I’ll attempt to keep my review of Lisa T. Bergren’s RIVER OF TIME trilogy as spoiler-free as possible. Needless to say, this is the little series that could, the one everyone’s been buzzing about since its February release. Word of mouth continues to grow to the point where Waterfall Wednesday was created for readers to dive into the first novel every Wednesday in September. Hopefully, some of you were able to snag the e-book for free last month during a special promotion.

THE RIVER OF TIME is a beautiful fantasy set predominantly in 14th Century Italy. I always love books with dashing knights and epic adventure, so when I started seeing glowing reviews about this trilogy, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t have time to read WATERFALL until the second book, CASCADE, was about to be released, so at the point, I decided to wait until I could read the two together with TORRENT back to back. And what a way to pass the time! The trilogy centers around two sisters from our world, Gabi and Lia. They’re on an excavation with their mother and stumble into a tomb. Upon placing their hands into matching handprints along the cave walls, the girls wind up separated—each one alone in the fourteenth century while a brutal war rages between two castellos. Luckily, Gabi winds up with Lord Marcello, who treats everyone well. She finds herself falling for him despite the fact that a) He has a fiancĂ©e, and b) She just wants to find her sister and get back to her own century.

The relationship between Gabi and Marcello develops over the course of the trilogy, never feeling overdone or breaking them up and putting them back together again as some authors are fond of doing. There are obstacles, especially in the first book, but each one only makes them stronger. CASCADE focuses on the bond between the sisters, as well as their relationship with their mother. Upon returning to their own century, the girls realize that they can’t get the fourteenth-century out of their blood. It is there with them. Upon their return, much has changed, and the world they knew has become much more violent and dangerous. Bergren writes in a fashion that will truly sweep readers up and make them feel as though they are standing upon the battlefields with everyone else. Danger and intrigue lies around every corner, and the villains are people that are truly to be feared.

TORRENT succeeds in bringing the book to a successful closure, tying up every loose thread, and reaching a multitude of decisions. The Betarrini family has been through a lot over the course of the trilogy and it’s time to make hard decisions, especially with the Black Plague descending upon Italy and the continual influx of enemies who want nothing more than to see the girls captured…or dead. TORRENT is the darkest of the trilogy, but successful in all it sets out to accomplish, sometimes heart-breakingly so.

THE RIVER OF TIME TRILOGY is vast and complex, full of rich history and vibrant details. There’s romance, friendship, fantasy, adventure, mayhem, death, betrayal and heartache… The list goes on and on, but has anything a fan of the genre could ever want. It’s easy to connect with the characters, experiencing every horror or ecstasy right alongside them. While Bergren is a Christian author, the book never gets preachy the way some books in the fantasy genre do. Rather, when religion is mentioned, it works because of the way it’s woven into the 14th-Century landscape. It feels historical, not preachy, and is merely part of the setting, so this shouldn’t be the breaking point for anyone. Personally, I would love to see more RIVER OF TIME books. It’s classified as a series, not specifically as a trilogy. I would love to have other trilogies focusing on time-travelers, and maybe even one that talks about the roots of the handprints on the cave walls to begin with. With the way buzz has been building, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the publishers willing to take another chance on Bergren. After all, she shot it out of the ballpark with her first foray into YA, so why not try again? Second time’s the charm!


These covers are easy to pick out of the crowd. They all resemble one another and clearly relate. On top of that, they look like fantasy novels. The moment I saw WATERFALL, I wanted it. I love that there’s a dual image on each cover, with a gorgeous background in addition to a focal person. I like that each book has a logo atop the title and consistently uses the same typeface. These books are gorgeous and I’m proud to have them sitting on my bookshelf!

[This entry is part of The Story Siren's Debut Author Challenge of 2011. See how I've done so far here.]


  1. I've heard really good things about these books!!!

  2. Yes!! I'm soooo happy you liked this series, Bonnie!I really do hope publishers give more books in this series a chance.

  3. Thanks so much for the wonderful, spoiler-free review, B. Really appreciate your enthusiasm for the series and for telling your readers about it!


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