Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Published: Currently May 22, 2012
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

My thoughts: **POSSIBLE SPOILERS!**

Of Poseidon opens up to our protagonist, 18-year-old Emma, vacationing in Florida with her best friend Chloe. After a slightly strange run-in (quite literally) with the handsome, violet-eyed Galen, tragedy strikes. A devastating shark attack changes Emma's life as she knows it.

Emma is still moving beneath a cloud of depression when school starts back up. Life gets even worse when the one and only Galen pops up to attend her high school. At first Emma finds Galen to be nothing but a jerk; all he seems to do is remind her of that tragic day on the beach. Galen just won't take a hint, though. He corners her every chance he gets. Eventually Galen is able to finagle his way through the barrier Emma has put up by asking her on a date and promising to tell her where her strange violet eyes come from. Emma can't resist.

When Galen reveals the truth to Emma, her life is turned upside down in dozens of different ways. So many things begin to make sense. Why Emma can speak to and command fish. Why she can hold her breath under water for ungodly amounts of time. Why she feels an an electric charge whenever Galen touches her... Emma is descended from Syrena; merfolk.

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This book reminded me a bit of Forgive My Fins/Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs, except much more serious, I guess? There's more depth and it's more mature, I'd say, for lack of a better word. It's great! My only complaints would have to be the overuse of “Ohmysweetgoodness!” as an exclamation (it was cute at first, but it began to irritate me to no end!!) and how extremely obvious the situation was. I knew the outcome waaaay before the characters caught on. It was just a wee bit too obvious for my tastes. Minor issues, though, compared to how amazing this book was.

The narration is done in two ways: By Emma in 1st person, and also in a 3rd person omniscient that follows Galen. The characters were so wonderful. Emma is so so so hilarious and quirky. I completely enjoyed being inside this girl's head. I laughed so much as I read this book! Galen is swoon-worthy and exasperating to the point that it's charming. I adored the interaction between he and Emma; the back and forth, the shyness, the banter, all the way to the moments of electrically-charge silence. These two are one of my newly favorited book couples. :)

The plot was really amazing. The merfolk mythology was interesting and had some great twists. There is a political war (of sorts) going on between the house of Triton and the house of Poseidon. Emma and Galen are pretty much right at the center of it all. The whole thing was really well written. There is a mystery aspect to the novel. The answer to that mystery became obvious a little too soon for my tastes, but it was still very well done. The author did a great job of nestling her clues into all the right places.

Anna Banks writing is all-around impressive. The laughs were consistent throughout the book and it was funny without being overdone or corny. The romance felt real and beautiful. Her descriptions and the under-water world building were impressive. Everything was easy to picture and it was easy to put yourself right next to the characters and be where they were. I also appreciated how the inner musings of Emma and Galen never went overboard. Sometimes less is more, ya know?

The book ends with a very cruel (but drama-filled!) cliffhanger. I can't seem to find any info on whether or not this is the first installment of a series, but it has to be. It better be, or I am PO'd. It's one of those endings that will cause some readers to maybe rate the book less than it deserves. It was a risk, if you ask me. It sure had my jaw layin' on the floor. I applaud Anna Banks for her, um, jewels. ;)

Of Poseidon is a wonderful addition to the world of Young Adult Fantasy! Anna Banks has spun a whole new world of mermaid lore and I think it's a great one. The writing is fantastic. The characters are lovable and engaging. The plot is full of surprises and twists. There's drama, humor, and magical moments aplenty. The romance will leave you breathless and the cliffhanger ending will have you jumping up and down for more.

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Book source: NetGalley
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group