Author: Anna Banks
Genre: YA, paranormal
Publication Date: May 22, 2012 (expected)
Summary: Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help–no matter what the risk.
☆: 2/5 stars – A promising premise that unfortunately, fails to deliver.
Review: Unfortunately, this one just wasn’t quite for me – which is really disappointing, because I really wanted to like this one, guys. Infuriating, really. While “Of Poseidon” has some very interesting twists on the traditional mermaid tale and Greek mythology (and quite frankly, I wish there’d been more of the book dedicated to those twists and the Syrena kingdom itself), it just kind of ultimately failed to deliver for me.
Issue number one: Emma. She’s unreliable, and usually I dig unreliable narrators because there’s a reason behind using them. But in this case, it’s just hypocrisy and forgetfulness on her part. I mean, the way her bff dies is REALLY traumatic – the kind that might land one in the mental ward catatonic for a few months afterward. She even comments on it whilst in school, about how everyone will forget in a few months. She gets involved with Galen and his family and poof! It seems like she pretty much forgets all about her bff within days of doing so. It seems very messy on the author’s part, and I can’t see any reason for making Emma unreliable this way.
Number two: Insta-romance. I’m getting really, really sick of these “inexplicably attracted to” romances in YA. While it’s not immediate (it takes a few days), I think that it can still be considered an insta-love between Galen and Emma.
Number three: the portrayal of POCs and women within the novel – takes us back half a century at least when describing Chloe, Emma’s African-American bff who has a weave and fake nails. Guys. Aren’t we past this whole concept of race by now within our culture? Or at least, we should be. Guess we’re not here in this book’s universe. Also, the whole thing about Syrena marriages where the wife doesn’t even have to be present during the mating ceremony when males choose wives. I can’t fully express how angry this made me – what is this teaching the age group at which this book is aimed at? There is the matter of Emma’s behavior, which would be considered a normal teenage girl’s behavior in terms of attitude (I guess) at this point in time as a stark contrast, and while I’m glad this contrast was provided, using Rayna the same way and wearing her down so that she eventually tolerates her forced union with Toraf wasn’t cool.
The only reason this gets two stars instead of one is the aforementioned interesting new looks at the mermaid myth and Greek myths. The book needed MORE of this information, desperately. I would have probably finished the entire book. I loved the parts talking about the Syrena history, how their bodies worked in comparison to humans, and all of that. I wanted more of that, and since this looks like it’s going to be at least two books long, hopefully the author will write more of that in for book 2. That was the most stable part of the plot. The rest – the world, the characters…weren’t quite developed enough as they should have been and really needed one more draft or edit. They didn’t quite feel real, and they should have. And that’s disappointing.
So…yeah. My final verdict? You might want to read another mermaid book this year, guys, if you’re sensitive to issues for POCs, women, and general good book structure. “Of Poseidon” is out through Macmillan in North America on May 22, 2012. Be sure to check it out for yourself then.