Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Author: Anna Banks
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Bought it
Book Description from Goodreads:
Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help-no matter what the risk.
This was an incredible story that mixed everything that I love into one awesome book. It had mythology, archaeological ruins, biological science and of course hot beach boys!
The cover is gorgeous in it’s simplicity from the flow of the gossamer white gown to the tense trail of bubbles and the dramatic flick of the hair. The font and its metallic pink colour was also a great contrast to the deep blue ocean background.
The book begins with a carefree Emma on summer vacation where she literally runs into the gorgeous Galen. Their story hooked me within the first 2 pages when I hit my first taste of Bank’s unique blend of sarcastic comedy that I found myself giggling at throughout the entire book. As their first brief meeting passes by in awkward small talk, Emma reluctantly wades into the water, only to be apart of a ferocious struggle that reveals what she really is - and changes her life forever.
The story is told in alternating points of view from Emma to Galen. Banks does an amazing job creating unique voices and sentence structures for each character. Especially with Galen, I could definitely hear the regality in his voice interspersed with moments where he’s obviously having issues adjusting to the social conventions on land.
Emma’s character has gone through some pretty traumatic events, and at age 18 with her whole life ahead of her it seems like she’s destined to do something much more important than just college when Galen re-enters her life. All things considered, she takes everything in stride and has a healthy dose of wariness and acceptance when necessary. I love her sharp wit and the dialogue she has with the boys. Once she starts going through her changes though, she takes a surprising twist from being sweet and innocent in one instant to something terrifyingly brutal the next - like the hormones are uncontrollably raging. Emma eventually discovers that she has a very unique and sought after gift of speaking to sea creatures and that Galen needs this to help save his underwater kingdom. With this discovery and after some thorough testing they find that she has other gifts as well - such as being able to hold her breath for incredible lengths of time (we’re talking hours here).
I’ve seen a lot of people freak out about these two powers especially. The main argument being “how can she talk underwater if she has to hold her breath?!”. Now, I’m just tossing this out there but my rationale is that in the English language for the most part when speech is formed it happens during exhaling, and she probably has a super high lung capacity to hold her breath so long. So, I figure that she expels some of that stored air for speech and all it really does is reduce the amount of time she can stay underwater before resurfacing. There. It’s out there people. Stop freaking out.
Now Galen is a whole other bucket of chum. He’s ridiculously gorgeous of course, and he has this whole “holier than thou” attitude that comes with being a royal. He also comes from a very antiquated society, that seems to be stuck in more classical Greek period with heavy patriarchal themes. Galen himself is bending the rules while he relishes the Syrenian bachelor dream by living on the fringes of human society as an “ambassador” of sorts. But he’s extremely loyal to his family, and has a fierce sense of duty that you have to admire. He and Emma have some of the best banter that I’ve read between a couple - it definitely is one of the biggest highlights of the book!
With the initial denial in attraction to each other between Emma and Galen, they try playing it off as an obligation, but it was great to see how they’d finally come together despite all the obstacles. Galen, when he wants to be, is super sweet, patient and really makes an effort with Emma. That being said, there’s also some seriously disturbing possessiveness in the males of this book. At times they are pig headed, extremely jealous and a bit stalker creepy at times, but I’m going to pin this on their fish halves. Remember those Siamese fighting fish with the beautifully flashy fins to attract a mate, do you also remember that two or more of these males in close quarters (especially with females present) inevitably end with one of them bloodied and belly up? That’s because there can only be one alpha male, the dominant one that gets to mate with the females - that’s what I felt during the whole Galen or even his best Syrenian buddy Toraf, and their jealousy moments, combined with the kind of society that they were raised in. So when I think of it like that, it makes so much more sense, and it’s a little less shocking.
The more secondary characters to the story such as the best friend Toraf and his twin sister Rayna were a highly entertaining couple. They both had limited human experiences, so it was hilarious watching them adapt to the wonders of the human world. Toraf was an immediately likable character, he’s loyal, fierce and determined and probably one of the most surprising secondary characters I’ve ever met. Rayna initially came off as more of a petulant child - acting far younger than she actually is, so it was a bit irritating at first but she definitely grows on you.
In Banks’ world building she paints a story with beautiful mythology and underwater culture, where she takes you to classical ruins in the sea and shipwrecks as she explains the gorgeous and complex history of the Syrena’s. There was a good blend of romance, self discovery and strained political background as everything builds to this huge and tense reveal at the end, which by the way leaves the readers completely hanging. I, for the most part definitely enjoyed this book, and look forward to what Banks has in store for Emma and Galen next!
Rating: 4/5 Hot cups of tea!
It's an amazing story with a great mix of humour, romance, politics while growing up with a little weirdness in your family history! Definitely read this one if you're a fan of the up and coming mermaid genre!