Alien water species, assassinations and royals, oh my! Waterfell by Amalie Howard is an awe-inspiring tale of a young Aquarathi princess living among humans for both safety and her years of training to get to know the land dwellers, or humans, of Earth. The Aquarathi are an alien race that came to Earth eons ago for a new home. They live in the depths of the ocean, far away from humans, so that they do not know they are there. Saving the ocean, however, is one of their main concerns. Nerissa Marin is the heir apparent, but her father was murdered and now those same people wishing to gain the throne are after her. Surrounded by loyal protectors and even more loyal human friends she must decide what she really wants from her life and if she is willing to fight the crown that is rightfully hers.
Nerissa for me is the perfect teenage character. She flip flops so many times about what she really wants to do, whether that is being queen or remaining on land with humans. At first she doesn't want any of the responsibility but over time she understands the impact she can have on not only the people she loves but of her people. It took her time to realize what a symbol she could be in her world, and that seemed normal. Whether you're fish or human, at that age it's hard to figure what you want to do with the rest of your life, let alone save a race of people. The fact that she was so grounded really appealed to me an made it seem natural for her to question things and sometimes even through hissy fits.
The world and races, however, are what made this book fascinating. The way the author tells a tale of underwater worlds and the how the Aquarathi look was fascinating. When Nerissa transforms into her fish-like self, I could picture every shimmering scale that she had and almost count every gigantic razor-sharp tooth she had in her mouth. Add to that detail the people around Nerissa and the relationships that they all have with each other and Waterfell is book that lacks nothing. Drama, heart-break, passion, intensity, tragedy and bite are all accounted for in Nerissa's story and this world is rife with more stories to be told!