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Book Review: Of Poseidon @ByAnnaBanks

Of Poseidon is Anna Banks’ debut novel. The sequel, Of Triton, released this year.

Of_PoseidonGalen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom…

Of Poseidon is a fresh mermaid tale written from both Emma and Galen’s perspective. I’ve been on a mermaid kick lately, so I appreciate Banks’ thought and twist to mermaid lore, even going so far as to explain the difference in biology between humans and ‘maids. I especially loved the Syrena’s “pulse”, which is like a Syrena’s fingerprint whenever they touch water and can be felt even miles away. I wonder what my pulse would feel like . . .

Some have complained about the first person (Emma’s)/third person (Galen’s) perspective switch, but I thought it added to the variety of voices and helped the reader bond better with Emma, which wasn’t a negative at all. The dialogue was quick and funny—especially Emma’s voice. Her descriptions of daily life are what make this book so humorous and worth reading for this alone.

The plot unfolds at a good pace, ending in a cliffhanger. Does Emma have the gift of Poseidon? And if so, from where did she receive it and will she use it to help Galen’s kingdom? This acts a little like a mystery. Even despite tragedy striking in the first couple chapters (and this tragedy does affect Emma for the rest of the book), Galen and Emma seek answers. Although figuring out Emma’s biological makeup was easy, I couldn’t figure out the mystery until way later.

You may have heard murmurings about women’s (er—mermaid?) rights in conjunction with this book. Syrena females don’t have many rights, and they especially don’t have control over their marriages. Rayna, Galen’s sister, a headstrong female, was wedded without her knowledge or consent.

Add this with Galen’s pushy/jealous tendencies, and you can see why some hauled their pitchforks to the table. Before you join the riot, remember Emma’s response is important. She is furious over Rayna’s situation and lets everyone know. And she refuses to bow to Galen’s pushiness, until a fight almost breaks out and she tries to keep faces from being broken.

Emma is very conscientious over women’s rights and, due to her responses, I’d say there is a positive view of women’s rights in this book.

You might not like this book if you prefer relationships in the backseat of the story and a completely unsolvable mystery until the final reveal. But if you have a hankering for mermaids, strong character voices, and the ocean, then make Of Poseidon your next read.

Check out Banks’ website here.
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