3 stars · Viki's review

Review ‘Three Wishes’

Title: Three Wishes
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: River of Time: California #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, YA, Time Travel, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance
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BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. BECAUSE YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT. Zara Ruiz is a normal California girl on the verge of graduating high school and thinking about her dawning future. But when dusk brings a shattering loss—and she discovers a priceless object in the shallows of a tide pool—she is thrust a hundred-and-eighty years into the past. There she meets handsome ranchero Javier de la Ventura—who has big dreams and bigger secrets—along with his enchanting family, in a land that is at once familiar, and yet utterly foreign. Between cattle rustlers, pirates and a growing call for statehood, it is not a peaceful time to be a Mexican settler in young Alta California. But it is in that time and place that Zara must decide if she can find what she longs for most in the past, or if her heart’s THREE WISHES can only be resolved in the present.

My Thoughts

(During writing this review I tried really hard to avoid any kind of comparison to the River of time series so bear with me.)

When this came out I was really ecstatic about it because I absolutely love the original River of time series. But I also was reluctant to start it because of this. Let’s be honest how could I stand not comparing the two story? Well yeah it was hard. I also had another deterrent from reading as soon as possible and this is the time period the story plays out, it one of my least liked time period of history so I needed to prepare myself.

The author has a beautiful and artsy writing style. She amazed me with the fascinating and picturesque sceneries she created as a setting for her story and she did this in a seemingly effortless way. Also she frequently uses stunning similes, metaphors and other literary elements that I encounter less and less in my everyday reading expect in poetries. I really like this about her and with just this she kind of provides a breath of fresh air in my busy schedule. It was a unique and mesmerizing experience to read her words.
Also I found it really creative and tricky how she casually threaded the little things like the appreciation of the availability of books or the easiness of life thanks to technology into her story.
Unfortunately the detailing of the background and settings are beautiful but also a bit distracting. The plot simply got lost during the introduction of the time period, the clothes, the customs and the scenery. So much so that in the first 120 or so pages practically nothing essential goes on other than the time traveling. And it didn’t’ really changed later on. The plot is simply not so eventful or busy even a little bit boring. Also the feeling and emotions just didn’t come through during reading and I missed it because I definitely remember how I felt everything during reading Torrent or Cascade so I know that the author capable of doing it.

As for the characters Zara is a really stubborn but not too adroit or even adaptive of the situation she falls into. She doesn’t really grasps the situation for a while and even if she gets everything she wished for it doesn’t enough for her because it didn’t happened exactly as she wanted it. I liked that she is knows how to protect herself but other than that she somehow stayed a neutral character for me. There is nothing in her that would have made me attached to her personality.
Javier pissed me off with his behavior and attitude toward his newfound responsibility. There is a fantastic sentence in the book that perfectly described how I felt about him:

“…But good grief, he’d landed on a piece of property that—as his friend had noted—others would kill for. The guy had to give up the “woe is me, my treasured life plan got wrecked” act and man up…”

Also a strange thing no matter how many times it mentioned that he is model hot and muscled and such but I still pictured him as scrawny, whiny kid. I don’t know why but nothing helped to change my picture of him. I guess his actions and attitude just wasn’t transmitting a masculine, responsible, take charge image. So yeah I didn’t really like him.
The romance between him and Zara is a slow moving and a bit forced. I felt a couple of times that their attraction is only the result of everybody else expectation of their romance. Also a most of the times their conversations were a mess, they talked over each other.


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