Review: The Waterfall Traveller by S.J. Lem

9 May 2017

The Waterfall Traveler
S.J. Lem
Publication date: April 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.
In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.


Weaving fantasy and science fiction together, this booked (aimed at YA readers) takes you on a tale through different realms as the heroine (Ri) attempts to get back to her village and restore the safety of mankind across the kingdoms. The book is well-paced with the action and danger building to a visually stunning crescendo, the author is particularly adept at describing her unusual settings, allowing the reader to feel truly transported with the characters.

The cast of the book is quite large – from un-met tyrants (who I hope we will meet later in the series) to mystery Goddesses and mystical floating spheres, the book hints at a deeper story to be further expanded, and I for one would be keen to read a prequel about Samuel. This book mainly revolves around a core group of Ri, her two love interests, Carter and his sister. Together the group form a motley crew with various talents useful to surviving in strange and unpredictable lands.

The characters grew as the book developed, I found Carter’s lewd jokes and sarcastic tone really livened up the book and he was by far my favourite character, however I am mindful that the nature of these comments may be too mature for some YA readers.  Ri is not the strongest of heroines and I would have loved to see her develop some more independence and needing to be rescued a little bit less, Malory constantly refers to her as ‘girl’ which annoyed me, Ri is sold to us as an 18-year old with the fate of several lands on her shoulders, she should be far beyond being called girl by a renegade misfit who has a date with oblivion. There was scope for Ri to mature into a true warrior but I never felt like she met her potential – however this book hints at being part of a larger series and maybe Ri just needs a few more life and death situations before she becomes a kick-ass protagonist.

Author Bio:
S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.


1 comment

  1. This sounds like a very well written and atmospheric read! Great review! :)


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