Of Poseidon by Anna Banks: book review and giveaway

First, I’d like to thank I am a reader not a writer, and Reading Teen for hosting this blog hop. With all the injuries and illnesses going around this summer, I’m happy to still have a means of spreading the word about great books.

I had the pleasure of critiquing the opening chapters of today’s book, Of Poseidon, so I knew before an agent and publisher snapped up Anna Banks that her writing would appeal to anyone with a sense of humor. Add the fish out of water romance with a great cover, and her book seemed sure to take YA audiences by storm. I attended Anna’s book launch in Destin, Florida, to snag a signed hardback copy. It includes Emma’s flavorite (pun intended) saying, “Ohmysweetgoodness.” The book is gently read and available to a US winner. So, on with the review, mostly spoiler free.

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon, #1)Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of Poseidon makes some big waves in the YA waterways with witty snark, a wayward shark, and a stalkerish park. In between, a storm of culture clash and hormonal hotties swept me away. Two male-dominated syrena factions wage a cold water war since they lost an important gift meant to help the species survive. Given the attitude of the royal men and tempers of most of the women, it’s surprising that a single syrena survived long enough to discover the gift hidden on land. Tempers this volatile and grudge holding to such an extent are severe psychological defects in humans. Great set up.

What I liked most: The mythology is very creative, the culture is interesting, and the characters polarize emotions. Emma’s personality is funny, sarcastic, loyal to a fault (even though her friend Chloe is downright mean), forgiving (too forgiving), and determined. Infatuation is a real emotion based on lust. A biological imperative would be even harder to fight, but Emma takes her best shots.

Toraf is a likeable character, and though Rayna is pig-headed and spoiled, she fights for her rights. Rachael and the doctor work well. The adventures exploring both syrena culture underwater and human culture above are great from opposite perspectives. I loved Emma’s gift, and the biological explanations for species survival, behavior, etc. make her world believable, if not always pleasant.

What didn’t work as well: Emma’s mother seems off-putting/inconsistent in a bad way, not motherly. Emma’s personality change is a major overreaction with no surprise from her about why it happens or any thought that it’s not like her. We find this out too much later. Galen in third person seems weird after reading Emma in first person. He needs more remorse for his bossiness and especially his stalking to create more reader sympathy. The worst problems were my guessing the cliffhanger ending from the first meeting with the character involved, and the lack of a couple more pages to give the reader and the book some closure. Even a few more paragraphs would work better, answering some questions to satisfy the reader while raising more, thereby better setting up the problems for the next book.

Overall: Very entertaining unique take on mermaids with thrills and chills plus romance unfulfilled for good reason, a species predilection for temper tantrums. I hope the author will consider adding a preview of the next installment to round out the ending and better define the problems for the next book. Bottom line, we need enough new material to care what happens to the trouble-maker who started the cold war. Otherwise, we need to find out what she might do to prevent the happiness of those we do care about. So far even the worst critics admit they will read the next book, but a preview would give them and everyone more to look forward to. 4 of 5 stars for an auspicious debut.

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Please enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below.
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Please also enter my new blog partner Paul R Hewlett’s giveaway of Heart of a Hero by Billi Tiner, open through August 11th.  All done? Don’t forget to comment before you go blog hopping!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I have been wanting to rad this book for a long time now, so I hope I win:D

    • Don’t feel bad. I had to wait a couple years after I read the first six chapters because once Anna got her agent, she couldn’t send any more pages for critique. Good luck!

  2. I haven’t read a really fun Mermaid story in a while. I’d love to read this and then share it with my students.

    • This would be a great book to share in school with discussions of mythology, environmental damage, handling emotions, nature vs nurture as behavior influences, how to tell love from hormonal drive lust, etc. You can’t go wrong.

  3. I’ve heard so many great things about this book!

  4. I cannot wait to read this! I love to swim and mythology, I think this author has read my mind for the perfect book!

  5. I love that this book is about mythology. Plus it sounds romantic. Who doesn’t love mermaids?

  6. Love books about mythology! Love the cover too! The mermaids part sounds great too. Thanks!

  7. The author is coming to my town in a few months! 😀

  8. I’ve heard about this book for a long time, but I can’t just order books online because my parents won’t let me!): So I really hope I win your giveaway!(:

    • It sounds like you have good parents with your best interests in mind. If you do win, they may want to read it first so they can discuss it with you. There are no sex scenes, but there are some strong emotions. Good luck!

  9. I’ve see so many great reviews for this book. With that many good reviews, I just have to read it! Thanks

  10. I heard many awesome comments for this book
    And I had the pleasure of Reading her next book and I absolutely love it! So I can’t wait to get my hands on this one and read it

    • Ooh, the one with the Doctor who gets abducted? That was the first one I critiqued for Anna, about as many chapters as I did for Of Poseidon. I loved it too. Would you believe she didn’t think she could get it published?

  11. I’ve never read a mermaid book before. This one looks good enough to break that streak. Thank you for the opportunity! I’d love to read and review.

    • When you said review, of course I had to see where, so I’m now a “WEIRD” follower, LOL! I love finding writers who made the plunge because they love reading as much as I do. Writers who don’t read? Meh… Good luck!

  12. What a great concept – and I think a snarky shark is just perfect … thanks for the opportunity .. gaele hi

  13. I love books that have to do with mermaids and I have heard many good things about Of Poseidon, it would be nice to take a break from reading dystopics! Thanks for the chance at this great giveaway!

  14. I’ve never read a mermaid book, but this one seems very interesting. I would love a chance to win and I must add it to my TBR list. Thanks for having this!

  15. ‘witty snark’ is what drew me in, then the cover, and then the use of mythology in the book. I think I would enjoy this quite a bit.

  16. I’m glad you pointed out the fact there’s an effort to make the culture complex and different (although mermaids are becoming as plentiful as vampires). Personally, I love it when an author creates new mythologies. I think it shows respect for readers.

    • I’m glad that Anna hit the right balance. The Hunt (Andrew Fukada) went overboard and made his culture unbelievable. Anna used local gulf coast features along with her mythology to give her book an authentic ring.

  17. I have several great reviews of this book and am excited to read it. I love mythology and reading stories based on mythology. Thank you for this opportunity to have a chance to win it!

  18. Sounds like an interesting concept, but I’m not very big on books written in present tense. Thanks for the review.

    • That’s what I said when I read the Hunger Games. Then by the third book I got used to it. Present tense is bigger in YA than adult books, and it follows many teens’ speech patterns. Overall, I still prefer past tense because it isn’t as tense. But I think keeping readers tense is the point with books like this one. It did keep me reading.

  19. I have read so many great reviews for this book. I have entered every giveaway that has it as a prize. Crossing my fingers!

  20. Thanks for the giveaway! I haven’t read many mermaid books, so I’m looking to expand my horizons! Plus, I’ve heard really good things about this one.

  21. I’ve love the reviews for this book and it sounds like something I would absolutely love!!!! Thanks for the great giveaway

    Jolene A

  22. I think this book is going to be so nice

  23. I haven’t read many books on mythology, but it’s a subject I am hugely interested in and would read more up on it, so I would love to read this book. I will also buy it anyway, even if I don’t win it.

  24. It’s about mermaids- what’s not to love? 🙂 Plus the cover is amazing and I love the publisher, so i’m sure I’ll love it!

  25. I love books about mermaids and this one sounds great! Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I follow on GFC as Suz and I would love to win this book!

  26. I love books that incorporate Greek myths, and this sounds like just the book for me! (BTW- I had trouble finding a link to my GFC profile, so click on my comment name if you need to verify. Thanks!)

  27. I just love Greek Mythology and I LOVE Greek Mythology Re-telllings! I have read a lot of Greek Mythology re-tellings that are not about the Greek God Poseidon, which is way I went to read this book.

  28. I would be interested to read a story about mermaids because I don’t think I can really save that I have before. It sounds great!

  29. I have seen this book everywhere lately, it sounds like a great read. Thx much for giveaway.

    blinkysthebest at aol dot com

  30. I love mythology, the book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!!!
    jaimela77 at gmail dot com

  31. I was excited by all the mermaid books coming out but haven’t read any yet. I have The Vicious Deep in my TBR pile but this one’s really gotten my attention latetly, people keep saying great things about it. Thanks for the chance to win it!

    (This is my GFC name, too)

  32. I love Mermaid and paranormal stories. Thanks for the chance to win. I live in Orlando and I am bummed I didn’t realize she launched in Destin. That would have been cool. GFC Jody Duffy;
    Google+ Jody Duffy

  33. Mermaid books are at the top of preferred reading list

  34. I’ve never read a book with mermaids in it and it seems like a great storyline!

  35. I am going to Greece in two weeks, so I have been reading a lot of mythology lately. Plus, I love paranormal and I haven’t read any mermaid stories (too many vampires and fairy in my TBR pile).

    GFC as Stacy T

  36. I would love to read this book because the story sounds very interesting, and I have it in my book wish list for a while now.


  37. The last story I read with mermaids was Disney’s the little mermaid. I’d like to see a more mature take on this fantasy!

  38. This book sounds amazing, and I love mermaid books!

    GFC Amber Lane

  39. ive heard alot of things about this book sounds awesome ty for the chance to see if im right in it being awesome

  40. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and it sounds like one I would really enjoy. I don’t think I’ve ever read a mermaid book.

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