Nerissa Marin is heir to the undersea kingdom known as Waterfell but she can't claim her birthright while she's hiding away in the human world. Not that she wants to. Her father told her to stay away and that's exactly what she plans to do despite the urging of her bad-tempered best friend to fight for her throne. But everything changes when the one who caused her family's devastation comes up to Nerissa and demands a battle to the death. Now Nerissa has to make a choice, give up the throne or abandon her people to the clutches of a power-hungry tyrant.
I have to admit that I thought this would be about mermaids. Sea creatures? An undersea kingdom? Mermaids. Sadly I was wrong, the sea creatures in Waterfell are more of the Loch Ness kind rather than the half human half fish kind.
I like Nerissa. I like how she's totally capable of admitting all her flaws and strives to do better. She's scared, which is totally acceptable, seeing as how her life's been turned around and there's this evil witch of a sea monster vying for her throne. A throne which she would willingly give up if things were up to her. But they aren't and Nerissa's got people depending on her so she stands and she fights and in the end she grows a pretty sizable backbone and faces down her problems head on. You go girl! I can also see that she's a brat, but come on, she's a teenager, she's selfish and prideful but it comes with the territory. She's a princess, her father's been pretty lenient with her - so she says - so she's used to thinking of only herself. But kudos to her for manning up.
Now let me take a moment to talk about the romance. The reason why I'm having a hard time rating this book is because of the romance. Insta-love with the surfer boy who dons a smarmy grin on his face and a devil-may-care attitude and walks with a swagger that's irresistible to teenage girls. Nerissa may be a sea monster but she's still a teenager and subject to rampaging hormones. I didn't like Lo. He was so incredibly...lame and douchey. I don't understand what Nerissa saw in him and from the get-go I felt like there was something really shady about him. I mean if the romance didn't play such a big part in this story I wouldn't have been so irritated, but it did. It really did.
Taking a break from the sucky romance, I actually liked the sea monsters Howard introduced - the Aquarathi. I mean she's a legit sea monster, how can I not like that? Like a serpent. And I was actually surprised by their back story and how they came to exist in the oceans. Pretty cool. And the plot, while entertaining, was kind of predictable but it does have a whole lot of potential.
If you're checking this out thinking that this is gonna be some story about mermaids, think again. You'll find sea creatures with sharp teeth and killer flippers that are oddly endearing and a not-so-endearing romance with a shady surfer boy and a main character who's pretty real and flawed and human.