The history surrounding the Syrena was fascinating, and I have to give Banks props for creating such a unique and rich mythology. I loved having their history shared in bits and pieces and how thoroughly it was detailed. I'm sure there were questions that I didn't have answered concerning their origins (which I can't remember now, so they can't have been too important), but everything that needed to be explained in order for me to both understand and believe the plot was done, and it was done well.
I absolutely adored the two protagonists, though I did find the switch between first-person narration and third-person narration a little jarring at times. Emma is feisty and full of snark. I absolutely loved her quick wit and curiosity, and that she didn't shy away from asking the questions that needed to be asked. Her fiery temper had me literally laughing out loud during most of her arguments with Galen, and her stubbornness seemed to be only matched by his. I loved how well he complemented her personality, where he was just as witty and quick to temper, and it made for some hysterical exchanges. The sexual tension that builds between them is so thick, it becomes a palpable thing hovering over the pages. I was on the edge of my seat for chapters just waiting for them to release some tension by kissing already! Their romance definitely moved a little quicker then I would have liked, but I wouldn't call it insta-love (they've also got the mythology of the "pull" working in their favour).
The plot in Of Poseidon moves along nicely, throwing in some twists and turns to help keep you guessing. It's not long before Emma begins to realize that she's not completely human, and that her parents might be hiding something about her parentage. The cliffhanger ending is not one I'll soon forget - considering I almost had an aneurism when I realized I had read the last sentence - and it definitely makes me antsy for the sequel!
But I mentioned troubling themes. So here's the thing: the above is my superficial review, the review I'm giving Of Poseidon because I thoroughly enjoyed it while I was reading it. But if I'm completely honest, I shouldn't have enjoyed Of Poseidon nearly as much as I did because it contains a lot of elements that I really don't like in YA: a borderline-abusive relationship, wherein the female is constantly told what to do and physically dragged around by her boyfriend; the implication that women should be subservient to men (Syrena males sift for a compatible life partner, based on his perception of how well she will bear offspring); Rayna's complete lack of choice in her forced marriage, in which she wasn't even present for; and Emma's constant references to not wanting to be a cliche girl who loses herself and gives up her dreams for a boy, when that's exactly what she's planning on doing with Galen. These are all troubling trends in YA, and not ones that I would hope to perpetuate.
So why did I enjoy Of Poseidon so much? Because it was entertaining. I was able to push aside the critic inside of me, who was cringing with each reference to Galen's perfect physique and Emma's soft curves, and just enjoy the story superficially, for what it was: a fairytale romance.