Book Review: Of Poseidon

Title/Author:  Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
(Of Poseidon #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal (Mermaids), Romance

Published:  May 22nd, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Hardcover, 336 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from my library.

Why I Picked It Up?:  Well, the cover on this one drew me in (though I’m not gonna lie, the cover is actually prettier on the computer screen) and I have never read a mermaid book and I wanted to give them a try!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish.  Emma is on vacation at the beach.  When she runs into Galen–literally, ouch!–both teens sense a connection.  But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts.  Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom…

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.”

My Review of this Work:

This is one of those novels that I was excited about because it was going to take me out of my typical reading sphere and into the world of unknown:  mermaids.  And the cover was eye-catching and pretty (until I got the book in my hands and realized the coloring looked funny in real life…but what can you do?).  Sadly, I found Of Poseidon to be nothing more than a “just okay” read.

A few positives before the negatives.  I thought the author did a decent job at developing the mythology of the “merpeople.”  There is a huge history with the two different groups of mermaids–either of Triton or of Poseidon (get it?)–that this book does a fairly good job of conveying in a way that is not just a big ol’ info dump history lesson.  The history of the mermaids is integrated nicely over the course of the entire plot and aids the flow of the novel.  This is my first mermaid book, so I have nothing else to compare it to, but the mythology was interesting and intriguing enough to keep me reading.

I also liked Toraf and Dr. Milligan.  Both of these supporting characters add a great deal of realism and depth to the somewhat square main characters.  Toraf is the considerate and caring individual that adds comedic relief to the story; Dr. Milligan is the man you want on your team.  He is the “real human” character that is always there to lend a hand and learn as much as he can in order to help his friends.  What a guy!

I have kind of mixed feelings about Emma.  She doesn’t really stand out ot me as a heroine.  I find her to be not memorable at all.  But I do respect the fact that she resists the insta-love scenario for a little bit.  She shows strength in not wanting to fall for Galen just because she found him attractive.  I mean, she still does fall for him, but she goes back and forth with him for a bit, which I appreciated.

And then the aspects I didn’t like so much.  Did you read the Book Jacket Blurb above?  Because that is essentially all that happens in the 336 pages of this first-in-a-new-series novel.  There was almost zero excitement in this book.  ZERO.  I feel like if you are going to write a series (especially a YA series) then there ought to be either some sort of overlying problem that will propel the the series forward (take pretty much any dystopia) or self-contained problem/resolution plots within each book that build upon each other and lead to the ultimate problem/resolution (i.e. Harry Potter).  Of Poseidon has neither.  I really have no idea where Ms. Banks plans on taking this series–she hasn’t really set anything up (other than the *cliffhanger* at the end) that lets readers see what’s going to happen.  The fact is, while the mythology is developed, the actual plot lacks movement and excitement.  To me, this is a forgettable book.

Honestly, the whole “Told from both Emma and Galen’s point of view” line is utter crap.  Totally deceiving!  Yes, each chapter switches back and forth between Emma and Galen.  But Emma’s POV is first person, while Galen’s POV is still third person.  This is the only novel I have ever read where it switches from 1st person to 3rd person, and I personally hate it!  It’s annoying!  Either write it from both of their first person views or keep it omniscient 3rd.  Please don’t mix the two!  It’s so weird and honestly makes no sense.  I don’t understand this stylistic choice at all, and it really affected my read through in a negative way.

And this is probably just my personal peeve, but I really cannot stand the modern descriptors for everything!  To use words like “sexy” and “hot” once or twice is one thing (especially if used in a correct context).  But I just felt this novel used words like that as default.  Everything in this novel is sexy or hot.  I even stumble across the sentence “He gave me a sexy wink.”  (I then spent 5 minutes trying to wink sexily at my husband.  Not just wink, but sexy wink.  I apparently failed.)  A wink in itself is sexy, so there is no need to be redundant!  I feel like there are much better ways to describe things.  It’s not that it’s inherently wrong to use these words, I just feel like they shouldn’t be used so often.

Really, nothing to me stands out in this novel.  I started it, I finished it, and then I picked up something else and forgot about it until I started typing up this review.  This is just one of those stories that had potential but fell through for me.  I think if I had picked this up as a YA romance read with paranormal (mermaid mythology) elements weaved in it might have sat with me a little better.  But I picked this up expecting a mermaid fantasy story, and I found that this novel failed to live up to that description.  At this point, in spite of the *cliff hanger*, I really have no urge to continue this series.  I might pick it up if I see it on the shelf at the library, but I don’t think this is going out of my way to put on reserve.  It just missed the mark with me.  I hope you have better luck with it.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Second Shelf Book.

Of Poseidon is a decent book but not anything spectacular.  While I liked the development of the mermaid mythology, I felt that this series opener lacked excitement.  The book was mainly romance-focused, which was a disappointment because I guess I was expecting something more.  I finished it, I liked it, but it doesn’t really stand out to me.  Maybe I read the sequel, and maybe I don’t.

Love and Pizza Pie,
Jennifer

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