Title: OF POSEIDON
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (a Macmillan imprint)
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Number of Pages: 352
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE
Author's Website: byannabanks.blogspot.com
This book was not what I was expecting, but ohmysweetgoodness I really enjoyed it. This might actually be the first mermaid story I’ve read. I picked it up because I thought it might fit into the mythology books I was pulling together, and it has slight references, but was more about the world of the Syrena (mermaids/men). It pretty much pulled me in from the beginning with one of those “girl meets someone who she’s drawn to but doesn’t know why” kind of starts. But it doesn’t end up continuing in quite that way because by chapter two, we’re switched to the boy’s perspective and get a whole new view on who he is. We also get a romance that builds on it’s own and it’s insta-attraction, but not insta-love. I appreciated the alternating perspectives with each chapter, although it did take me a little while to get used to Emma’s chapters being in first person and Galen’s chapters being in third person. Because it switched points-of-view so often, I did feel like each time I started a new chapter it took me a few sentences to readjust my mindset; however, I did like the way in which it was written.Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.
What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.
The humorous moments in this book are plenty, and really add to the reader being engaged with the story. Emma is innocent and has no idea what’s going on with the world of Syrena in the beginning (and I do love a feisty and snarky main character) who doesn’t take crap from anyone, and Galen is flustered and confused and trying to figure it all out - both the human world and the situation that’s going on. Galen is just such a good, sweet guy too - the surprise date is one of the sweetest I’ve read. There is also a little sense of political intrigue with the backstory of the division between the Triton Syrena and the Poseidon Syrena and how Emma fits into it all. But it’s the characters that really make this book as fun and engaging as it is. They are written in a way that makes me want to go hang out and laugh with them, but also in a way that makes me totally feel for them as they try to work things out with each other.
I did have a couple of things that pulled me out of the story a little bit, and I’m not sure if it’s because I was reading an advanced reader’s edition (knowing changes can still be made in copyedits) or just some terminology that this author uses, but there were a few wordings of things that threw me off. When I come across something that takes me out of the story for a minute to try to figure out what it means, it interrupts the flow for me. My big complaint, though, is the ending. It happened really fast and made the story feel incomplete to me. I understand the use of cliffhangers at times, but the way this one was done it just felt to me like the story stopped at a chapter ending instead of a story ending. There is too much more to know and find out and be said, so I’m sure there must be a sequel, but it will feel like a really long wait for it because of how this one seems to end too quickly and right in the middle of something.
Overall, it was a keep-wanting-to-turn-pages to see what happens next kind of book with engaging and endearing characters (Galen’s sister and best friend are so entertaining), a touch of humor, a bit of fantasy/supernatural world, and a sweet romance. These poor characters are put through a lot in this story, but I enjoyed going through it with them. I will definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens next (thank goodness she's writing a second book)!