Of Poseidon was an interesting new take on the mermaid – excuse me, Syrena – myth. Although, I have to mention one thing that’s been bothering me: what do the women wear as tops in Syrena form? I’m fairly certain it’s never mentioned and it’s been driving me a little batty :P
Of Poseidon starts out in a majorly depressing way and yet, I felt like I wasn’t saddened enough by it. Grossed out, sure, but not sad. I appreciated that Emma had her own way of dealing with it and her own grieving process though. Some might think that she got over it too quickly, but I don’t really think that’s a judgment you can pass on anyone else since we all have different processes.
I loved all the Syrena lore and learning about their past and the way they run things now. I always love learning history about imaginary cultures.
I really liked Rayna and Toraf. They were fun side characters that I ended up caring for just as much as Galen and Emma in the end. Speaking of Galen and Emma…Emma was strong-willed, stubborn, clumsy, and completely hung up on Galen. I love a good “I don’t need a man” kick-a** female lead, but I also appreciate the ones who go all gooey over a guy since it reminds me of being that age. What I didn’t quite appreciate was the relationship itself. Galen was a nice guy and I liked him well enough, but it seems like the readers knew more about him than Emma did. It ended up making the relationship feel a little forced.
I’ve heard people complain about the Emma=First person/Galen=Third person thing, but it really didn’t bother me at all. I barely noticed it, actually. Maybe I’m just not quite as sensitive when it comes to those things, though :P
The Nutshell: Of Poseidon is a fantastic start to the series. Sure, I had some problems with the relationship but it wasn’t enough to detract from the story itself. If you want a new mermaid story with a little scary and a lot of kissing (read: angst) then Of Poseidon is definitely for you.
Shame on me for not writing this review the moment I finished this book! Now I have to remember all of the wonderful things I found in Of Poseidon.
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed the characters. I really, really, REALLY liked them. All of them. Every character had a nice amount of spunk (ok, minus Emma’s mom and Rachel). I probably had the most trouble connecting with Faye, but I still liked her all the same. She was the exact opposite in many ways to Emma, so it worked for me. Her beau, Toraf, I found to be adorable. He’s not a main character, but the parts that included him were entertaining. Emma and Galen? Sigh. I will admit, Galen was drool worthy. Most people might find him arrogant, but I loved it. He seemed so playful, which was funny because Emma was not. They were opposites, yet they complimented one another perfectly. I thought they were such a great literary couple. I really loved how spunky Emma was. She was hilarious, clumsy, and had a certain amount of sass that made her instantly likeable. I appreciate how to wasn’t that girl.
I didn’t think there was an extreme amount of world building in this book. The majority of the story took place at a typical New Jersey high school and Emma/Galen’s houses. Nothing really exciting or overly inventive there. What I did enjoy was the slowly building tension. The entire story felt like it built up to that ohmysweetgoodness cliffhanger ending! There was a lot of emphasis place on the relationships and discovery who (or what) you really are. But those final pages. Oh. Man. It really sucks that I have to wait so long for the next book, Of Triton. (There isn’t even a tentative publishing date yet!)
Simply speaking, I enjoyed this one. The mermaid aspect was a driving force in the story, but it wasn’t overpowering. It was a very unique spin, and the mythology that was woven in was a nice bonus. I also think that the ending of this book is what really put it over the top for me. I was thinking “3” material until those final pages. Now I can’t wait for Of Triton. If you don’t like open endings, better wait for the next book to come out before you read this one.
Of Poseidon is my newest guilty pleasure. Superficially, it's a light and heart-warming tale, laced with mystery and intrigue. But when read with a critical mind, the subtext definitely brings up some troubling themes.
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.