Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
By:  Anna Banks
Published By:  Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date:  May 22, 2012
Page Count:  336
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  Young Adult - Fantasy

Upon picking up Of Poseidon by Anna Banks almost completely on a whim because the cover was pretty and the synopsis looked intriguing, and I have to admit I have not read a lot about mermaids and such, I don't think I knew what to really expect from it...and what I found was a wonderfully light-hearted and FUN read despite a sobering scene earlier in the story!  Of course, there was some intrigue, mystery and angst rolled in but the humour was brilliant and tempered the story perfectly...and I really enjoyed it!

The story's synopsis doesn't need repeating so I won't bother and just get right into what I loved and didn't love about the book.  I'll do my best to avoid any major spoilers.

But first, I do have to share the opening paragraph of this book because it really sets the stage for what we would be in for:

"I SMACK into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he's waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he's waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he's got all day."

Starting with the protagonist, Emma, she was fun and hilarious.  If not for finding her clumsiness endearing at times...it was mostly for her SNARK!  Her dialogue -- both inner and spoken -- was full of humour and sarcasm; she would often lighten a more sobering moment through her sense-of-humour.  She was on the ball for the most part, if not a bit naive at the same time.  She did fall into that all-too-common self-deprecating mold most protags share, to a degree, but enough to make me want to shake her and get her to open her eyes where Galen was concerned...but granted, his mixed signals would be confusing if we did not have his point of view. 

Galen was pretty incredible, of course being a 'merman'...although, Galen's people do not like to be called mermaids/mermen but Syrena.  He appointed himself as ambassador to the human world, which afforded him the opportunity and excuse for looking for someone who not only possessed the Gifts of Poseidon that could possibly help unite two kingdoms but someone he was being drawn to, as well.  He tried to do the right thing and stick to his 'mission' but he couldn't help falling for Emma. 

Galen spoke like he was from a different culture...which was true and lent credibility.  Sometimes though, what he said and did, did rub me the wrong way but how he conducted himself was quite normal for Syrena and found myself cutting him some slack. 

The playful chemistry between Emma and Galen was literally electric...and the delicious tension built up to a point where I couldn't turn the pages fast enough for them to just get on with it!  I have to admit that the author's teasing worked quite well in this story. 

I found myself laughing out loud several times and that would be mostly due to Rayna, Galen's sister, and Toraf, Galen's best friend!  Rayna was incredibly high-strung and willful...and Toraf followed her around like an unrequited-love-sick seal pup until Emma helped him turn the tables.  I loved how all that turned out!

At first, Emma and Rayna didn't care for each other (understatement) but I really enjoyed how Emma and Rayna's relationship evolved out of what looked like a mutual respect forming for each other...especially in light of Emma's heart-breaking loss at the beginning of the story. 

Worth mentioning, the story was told from two points of view, Emma's (first person) and Galen's (third person), and it was not hard to follow at all.  The transitions flowed with the telling of the story very well.

I also appreciated the author's twist on the mythology aspect of Poseidon and Triton, and how she meshed it with our own tales of Atlantis and mermaids.   

Anna Banks described the landscape below the water's surface quite well and I got a real feel for Emma discovering her new found abilities.  My favourite scene was when Galen took Emma to see the ruins of the Titanic...it was eerily magical and I loved experiencing it through Emma's eyes.  My only complaint was that the scene was too short.  I was sort of waiting for a "Titanic-moment" but it never really occurred.

Overall, this was a really delightful story.  The SNARK was thick!  However, there were a few little nit-picky things I could single out but they are almost not worth mentioning except for Emma's overuse of 'ohmysweetgoodness', which I counted about 12 times (give or take), and the Syrena's version of foul language, 'by Triton's trident'...which actually made me chuckle and I'm sure the author had intended the use of those words to make us do just that. 

There were also some mystery woven into the story.  I had my own ideas about Emma's tie-in to the Syrena but was quite blind-sided by the revelation at the end.  It ended on a cliffhanger that secured my intention to be looking forward to the next book...but cliffhanger or no...I would have anyway.
 

Summary: 

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.


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