Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

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Of Poseidon
Anna Banks
Series: Of Poseidon, #1
Release date: May 22nd, 2012
by Feiwel & Friends

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Raincoast Books for review purposes*

With a beautiful cover like this it’s hard to resist not checking out what Of Poseidon is all about. I haven’t had the best of luck with mermaid books in the past, though I haven’t read very many of them. Of Poseidon is, so far, one of the better ones I’ve had the experience of reading. It has an interesting premise with a beautiful underwater world, but I did have a few quirks with it that stopped me from truly loving it.

Almost immediately, I felt like something was off with the writing. It has a great flow with entertaining dialogue and a good amount of humor, so what was the problem? Finally I realized that when we switched from one POV to the other, the grammatical person changed as well. We get Emma’s chapters in first person, and Galen’s in third. With fairly short chapters, the need to readjust every few pages made me feel a bit detached and disoriented. It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book per se, it was rather a feeling that something was amiss.

For a book with such a strong character orientation, I was disappointed that almost every one of them didn’t sit well with me. We’ve got Emma; I could have easily liked her, she’s feisty and funny, but besides letting herself get treated like a child by Galen, her personality is very inconsistent. For example, she thinks herself the sweetest girl in her class, then she throws Galen’s sister through a window with murderous intentions. It was hard for me to get a read on her. As for her bizarre relationship with Galen: When she’s not complaining about him using her, she’s secretly wishing he would kiss her. I mean, Galen is great at first sight. He’s gorgeous with a knack for being charming. But in truth he’s controlling and lacks respect for her. He mentions wanting a girl who will do whatever he asks and never argue with him. Anyone? Plus his “serial killer eyes”… His ordering her around, never taking Emma seriously – it got on my nerves. To spite his demands, Emma reacts by doing the opposite of what he wants. In my opinion, this all came off as very juvenile. I simply couldn’t root for them, nor did I feel the thrill I expected from young love. However, they do have a few moments in the book that are amusing and cute. I also especially enjoyed the scenes where Toraf was involved. He’s the one character that I found sweet with a genuine personality.

The mermaid lore in the story is very thorough with impressive details. I loved learning about the Syrena: Poseidon and Triton houses, their abilities, their past, their culture. Though I’m not sure where I stand on specifics such as the fact that all they eat is seafood, or how it’s possible that they have been in contact with humans but stay ignorant on basic human knowledge – and then they know how to drive a car? These are pretty minor, though, and I was able to let it pass. No matter, there’s definite originality with a fun take on a well known mythology. We even go into some biology details that I was fascinated by. It’s obviously well thought out. As far as the plot goes, we don’t have a great deal of development. The book has the feel of a big introduction. We learn about the political situations, and we’re left with an interesting twist, but it’s overall a fairly slow paced story with no substantial breakthroughs.

I can’t fail to mention the Underwater scenes. Aquatic life can be very beautiful; filled with sea creatures, mysteries, and treasures – the parts where they visit the underwater world are easily my favorites. Galen takes Emma to one particular spot by which I was simply mesmerized. It’s all magnificently picturesque.

To be honest, even with all the problems I had with this novel, in this end I still found myself to have quite enjoyed it. The promising plot line and elaborate lore kept my attention throughout. I’m certainly interested in reading the sequel which I think may be more to my liking with, I assume, a more settled relationship and further plot advancements.  

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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36 Responses to “Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks”

  1. Nick

    I once read a book where the author uses the first person, the second person and the third person for the 3 different characters. It was such a tedious task to really adjust to the writing style and it was really too bad since the book was interesting.
    I’m sorry you had issues with the main characters, Giselle.
    I was really hyped for this one. I haven’t ever read mermaid books (except for the french book La Petite Sirene) since I’ve seen mostly negative reviews. Oh well !
    I’ll probably still give it a shot. I’ll just go into the book with low expectations 😛
    Thanks for the great review, Giselle 🙂

  2. Aylee

    I have never read a mermaid book before and I think it’s because on the whole, I tend to be put off by reviews I’ve read. People just tend not to be too impressed with them. It’s too bad about you weren’t wowed with this one, but I think I’ll probably skip it. Thanks for the review, Giselle!

  3. Amy

    This one is coming up on my list soon. I was catching up until I had another reading slump. *sigh* I was on a roll with awesome books, and now not so much. Great review chick!!!

  4. Christina

    The romantic lead is literally described as having “serial killer eyes?” NOT COOL.

    Ladies, walk away from men like this.

    GODDDD, I hate when the sexy desirable lead is actually a controlling misogynist. This happens way to often in YA and romance novels. Not healthy.

  5. Stéphanie

    Oh… I hate when a writer switches from one POV to another. It must be worse to read when the author switches from 1st person to 3rd person throughout… Just that makes me hesitate to pick it up. However, I do have a soft spot of Underwater worlds and mermaids, so I might just have to try it.

  6. Mary @ BookSwarm

    He IS controlling and doesn’t have much respect for her. I think that’s a society thing, though. The males seem to treat the girls like they live in the 1800’s, with the “mating” and all that. It didn’t really bother me all that much, though I wanted her to smack him a couple of times. I thought it was quite cute and a fast read at that. Great review!

  7. Giselle

    @Mary: Yeah I get that it was a society thing which is why Rayna’s weird relationship with Toraf didn’t bother me like it did some. But my problem was HER reactions. She let herself get controlled and become the type of girl she swore she’d never be. I don’t like it when girls think it’s OK to get treated like crap, and stay with a controlling jerk who has a temper. Bleh. But the rest was alright 🙂

  8. Danny

    I’m happy you ended up liking it even though it won’t make it on your top list of books. You know, I loved this one so sooo much! It was a little complicated in the beginning with the different narrations but once I was over this, I enjoyed it a lot. I always love when we get to know more than one person can tell us!

    I especially loved the humor! I hope you’ll love the next book a little more 🙂

  9. Angie

    I had the same problems with the book that you did, but it definitely made me not enjoy this one at all. I did love the underwater scenes, but I still felt frustrated with this one as a whole.

  10. Jasprit

    Brilliant review Giselle! Seriously you’re flying through you’re books and reviews, I honestly don’t know what to make of this book there are so many mixed reviews around, but thanks for the honest review! 🙂

  11. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I have never read a mermaid book, I have the Vicious Deep though I haven’t read it yet. This is one that I think I will stay away from because it sounds like the relationship would drive me CRAZY! Great review Giselle!

  12. Nick

    Giselle, in reply to your question, yes it was in the 2nd person. The guy was dead and his POV was like “You see her walking alone … You feel upset.” and he’s talking about himself.
    The book was Wherever You Go by Heather Davis.

  13. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    I haven’t read any mermaid books before because they just don’t appeal to me. But this one did for some reason, but weirdly, only after I had seen it around many times. But…you have made me rethink it. With personality changes, controlling boyfriends and the narrative changes, I don’t think it will be for me. Thanks for the honest review. I think I’ll be taking it off my TBR

  14. Vegan YA Nerds

    I wasn’t really interested in this book, the previous mermaid books I’ve read haven’t been good but I like that you were still able to enjoy this, even with some flaws! Great review, Giselle!

  15. Miss Page-Turner

    Thanks for your honest review! I really hope you’ll like the sequel more than Of Poseidon. I really liked it, especially the bickering between Galen and Emma:)

  16. Shooting Stars Mag

    Hmm…I’m not sure if I would enjoy this one or not. Second review I’ve read tonight, and I’m not really hooked. I want to try and check out some mermaid novels though as I don’t believe I’ve read any. However, some of the problems you pointed out would probably bother me too much while reading. 🙂


  17. Candace

    The writing threw me at first too but once I got use to it I guess it stopped bothering me. Emma’s personality was a little hard to read, I definitely agree with that. And her being contrary just to be contrary was annoying. But most everything that bothered me ended up being pretty minor and I ended up liking this quite a bit.

  18. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    Excellent review as always, Giselle! I plan to read this one soon…I think it’s up next or almost-next on my list. It’s a shame it had so many problems, but I hope I still enjoy it 🙂

  19. Rhiannon Frater

    “He mentions wanting a girl who will do whatever he asks and never argue with him. Anyone? Plus his “serial killer eyes”… “

    That really puts me off automatically. I’m really having a tough time with the controlling jerk being the romantic lead in books of late.

    And serial killer eyes? REALLY? WTF?

  20. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    I think that I’ll give it a chance. Even though you weren’t that enthusiastic, if you enjoyed a book despite it’s flaws, I want to give it a try 🙂

    Especially the Underwater scences sound great.

  21. Janiera

    I’ve been seeing nothing but 4 and 5 star reviews for this and people really seem to love it. I don’t mind switching POV’s in book, it makes it more interesting. Of course they act juvinile the book is a YA read! lol

    Thanks for the honest review.

  22. Giselle

    @Janiera: The switching POVs wasn’t the problem, it was the switch from 1st person to 3rd person that made it very offputting. And for the juvenile, even for a YA book it’s juvenile. I didn’t act like that in High School. Maybe 7-8th grade.

  23. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I love alternating POVs but it’s weird that one is first person and one is third?! That seems strange. I love mermaids though and the underwater scenes sound sweet. The love story sounds good too. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the couple so far. I’m hoping to read this soon.

  24. Carina

    Lovely, honest review, hun!
    I can definitely see why you’re feeling this way about OF POSEIDON and understand your criticism, but I had no problems ignoring these aspects and just fell in love with this book. It’s probably its humour and the good feeling reading it gave me that made me a bit less critical. 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Kristin

    Thanks for your most awesome review, Giselle! You do write the best ones!!! I’ve been wondering about this book because I’ve been seeing it everywhere and I thought maybe I was missing the boat (groan, sorry)…
    -Kristin @myparahangover

  26. Reut

    There was something really off about Galen that I didn’t like. And the narration was so weird! I would have loved first-person for all chapters.

  27. Evie

    Awwww mermaids! how can you not love them? I was absolutely intrigued by this title ever since I saw the cover for the first time. I do have it on my shelf, but haven’t yet read it. No time, ugh! But yeah, your review makes me want to read it, so I’ll probably get cracking on it soon! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, G!