Book Review: Of Poseidon

Posted March 15th, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments


Title: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Version Read: Paperback (library)
Publication Date: June 1st, 2012
Categories: mermaids, mythology, young adult, supernatural, urban fantasy

Summary (Goodreads): Galen is strong, protective and gorgeous, with striking violet eyes and a body to make you shiver – and that’s just when he’s in human form. He’s from the House of Triton, god of the sea, and he’s searching for a girl with the gift of Poseidon to save his brother from marrying a fraud. Emma is a human. Or so she thinks. When Emma meets Galen on the beach, they both sense a sizzling chemistry. But can Galen convince her that she holds the key to his kingdom – without letting on that he’s falling for her?

Okay, so I liked Of Poseidon. I read it in a few hours and it was an easy read. There were a few issues, which is why it didn’t get a higher rating, but it wasn’t bad either. The mermaid or rather, Syrena mythology was interesting, and so was discovering how Emma was different to a human. The story itself flowed well, although I wish there had been more details in some parts and less details in other parts.

The premise of this book is fantastic. Poseidon and Triton actually being the rulers of two separate kingdoms of mermaids, one more human-loving than the other, and how they each passed on a gift to their bloodlines after a war between the Syrena and the humans. Every third-generation the first-born male heir of one kingdom is expected to marry the first-born female of the other kingdom, to ensure the gifts are shared properly. In this case the first-born heir is Galen’s brother, Grom and he was set to marry the beautiful Nalia – the first time in a very long time that the two Royal heirs being mated actually want to be mated to each other – but there was an explosion involving sea mines just prior to the ceremony and Nalia was lost forever. Apparently.

This is an interesting background for the plot of the book, because Emma is apparently of Poseidon blood – she is precisely half-human and half-Syrena. (Mermaid is an insult, by the way.) She doesn’t know this, and is in fact scared of swimming and hates seafood. She also watched her best friend die in a horrific accident at the start of the novel, and so for the first few chapters is a bit spacey and unreliable as a narrator. Which is not always a bad thing, but it didn’t always work in this novel.

My main issues were the essentially ‘forced’ mating of Syrena women to the Syrena male who found them attractive should the king approve it. Being mated, in Syrena terms, is essentially marriage, not actual mating. Now, I get that they are an ancient society, but that attitude in modern-set books is annoying. Rayna, Galen’s twin sister is a prime example of a female Syrena who doesn’t necessarily want to be mated, or rather, would like to be able to choose. She does actually like Toraf, the guy she is mated to, but as she points out to him, he knew she didn’t wish to be mated. Had he let it go and let her come around to the decision herself, she probably wouldn’t have been as angry. Emma’s reaction to this is pretty typical of an eighteen year old raised in modern times – she in fact offers for Rayna to live with her to avoid being with Toraf. Toraf had had their mating sealed without Rayna even being present, so I can totally understand her anger.

I could have done without the insta-love. Maybe making it more gradual, or having it explained better than ‘the pull’ that some Syrena get if they find their soul-mate would have worked. I just would have liked to see Galen and Emma’s relationship expanded a bit more. I enjoyed their date nights and the fun they had on them, because they were normal. Parts were a little awkward, and parts were quite cute. I was glad therewasn’t the whole insta-love then insta-sexing trope that is often in YA novels though, even though Emma is eighteen.

I would have loved more information about the Syrena and about their history. The things we did learn were great, and an interesting spin on the existing mermaid mythology. The fact the full-blooded Syrena become wholly into their powers by age 9, and because Emma was a half-blood it took her twice that time was interesting. I liked the Archives and the fact that they had Atlantis and an interesting explanation for it’s existence and eventual destruction. The way Syrena bodies work in comparison to those of a human – how their tails split in human form, etc. Hopefully there will be more of this in the second book.

One thing I did like (and my sister, who read this before I did, hated) was the cliffhanger ending. I’m hoping book 2 will be more Syrena history and an actual explanation of why Emma and Galen have the whole insta-love thing would be nice. I also really liked that fact that when Emma fought with Rayna, it wasn’t the typical hair-pulling, scratching girl-fight – it was a proper brawl, so Emma definitely gets points for that.

In all I would recommend this to anyone who likes mermaids and reads enough YA to get past the insta-love, and can get past some of the very old-fashioned attitudes of the Syrena men.

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