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.
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 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!