Here is the summary from Goodreads: Relationships on the White Island are volatile and Whitnee, Morgan, and Caleb aren’t sure who they can trust—even each other. Politicians are lying, history is being rewritten, and motives are questionable. Whitnee sets out with Gabriel and a band of rebel spies to take back the enemy's biggest weapon—Whitnee's father. However, a shocking turn of events proves once again that the Island's secrets have the power to destroy more than just the truth. Separated from her friends, Whitnee battles her own fears in order to survive and protect the ones she loves. But when Morgan's illness finally comes to light, Whitnee faces a decision that could alter her future—and Morgan’s—forever. And whether she ultimately stays on the Island or leaves might not be her choice, after all.
I have to say, with some of the teasers that Krissi was releasing as we were waiting, I was halfway excited and halfway terrified about what would happen to my beloved characters in Watermark.
What I Liked: 1) Well, at this point, I know these characters as well as I know some of my friends. I've said before that these are some of the nearest and dearest characters to my heart. And believe it or not, with how well I've come to know them, Krissi's unmatched talent for character development enables her to continually surprise me. It's the continual development of the characters that brings this book feel real to me. Once we've hit the fourth book in a series one might assume that the characters have been fully flushed out and development would begin to lag. But much like "real people" never stop changing, nor do the characters who populate the Phantom Island World. 2) Suspense. I haven't described any of the PI books thus far as particularly suspenseful, although it has been. But this one...I'm having trouble finding words. Watermark is the crescendo of suspense for the Phantom Island series. Imagine a scary movie. You know that music they play as the main character enters the creepy house and you JUST KNOW there is an axe murderer hiding in it? This book is the loudest part right before the murderer jumps out at the MC. (I hope that made sense to one person - that's really all I can ask). But Watermark in particular is suspenseful to the point of breathlessness. I liked it. Good stuff. 3) The setting. I can't write a review about this series without mentioning the setting. Because of the author's attention to detail, the Island comes to life around you. It's been that way from the beginning, but for the first time the reader gets the opportunity to explore something *and I'm editing my words to avoid spoilers* off the sandy shores of the Island (no, I'm not talking about Camp Fusion). The entire book, series really is a study creating three-dimensional settings. 4) There is something about this series that just gets me emotionally. I get so involved in the story that to emerge from the story is like coming back down to earth. And Watermark, like its predecessors, is no different. From page one I was hooked and fully invested in what was happening. I was so fully on the White Island that I'm not sure I would have noticed if the smoke alarm went off.
What I Didn't Like: Two itty-bitty tiny little things. Okay, one little thing, and one sorta bigger thing. First of all, this book felt so final. If I'd been prepared for the series to end, it might not have surprised me as much to feel like my tenure on Phantom Island was ending. Although it could be said that I was so attuned to some of the characters that I was channeling some of their emotions. I'm not saying who may or may not be returning, so no spoilers. But if that's the case it is just more proof of how well Krissi develops her characters. But I was shocked at the end when everything was wrapped up and it felt truly like an ending. So that was just a little tiny thing. As for the other thing, I've talked about sacrifice as a theme in books before and so I'd be remiss if I didn't bring up here. I have a tendency to complain when characters seem to get everything they want without sacrifice *um, hello...Breaking Dawn much? And I still read that series over and over* and it seemed a little like Whitnee's story wrapped up a little like that. She wasn't completely without sacrifice, but it still felt a little easy, like the thing she gave up didn't really affect her life moving forward. (I can practically hear Krissi saying "EASY? YOU THINK THIS WAS EASY?") Keep in mind that because this read like a finale to me (though Krissi's website assures me it isn't) - I had a hard time seeing what future repercussions this decision was going to have. But I guess I'll find out later!
Overall Thoughts: Krissi Dallas ranks right up there with other favorites of mine like Jodi Meadows, Veronica Roth and Cat Patrick. The level of creativity she's brought to Watermark is phenomenal. The beautiful setting remains as Whitnee and her friends discover a more dark and sinister side of the White Island. The tension will leave you breathless as more of the Island's secrets are revealed through a crescendo of events that are so vivid you'll forget you are reading a book. Did I run into some issues at the end? Yes. But they don't overshadow the beauty and high-caliber writing of Watermark. This is yet another feather in Krissi Dallas's proverbial cap (or perhaps it's real). Overall, Watermark is an enchanting addition to a marvelous series, bringing new challenges to truly authentic characters, and a level of detail that is rare in it's beauty. If you haven't started reading this series yet...well, what's your excuse? ;-) **Note: Watermark hits shelves on October 29th, 2013!!!
My Rating: 4 shots