Book Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

12425532Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance, Mermaids
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 22nd 2012
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Galen 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 . . .Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

Of Poseidon is your typical YA paranormal romance story, except now you have to change the vampire/fallen angel/whatever love interest by a siren. A male siren. They’re the current new hype, and okay, I could live with that, if this book was a half-decent story with awesome characters, exciting and original lore and heaps of romantic tension. It’s not, unfortunately. We meet Emma, a girl who possesses a series of Syrena traits, but not all of them. One day on the beach, she accidently bumps into Galen, who turns out to be a prince of the Syrena. The book is told from the alternating POVs of Galen (which is in third person) and Emma (which is in first person). An odd choice from the start, but one that could easily be forgiveable if it wasn’t for…

Chloe. Chloe is Emma’s best friend since the dawn of time. She’s also black, which was an immediate yay for me, since diversity in YA doesn’t happen all too often. So I was glad we’d finally get to have a black best friend. Chloe also seemed like a very fun person, and she genuinely cared about Emma. Then Chloe dies. And it’s not even a huge spoiler, because it happens five minutes or so after we meet her. While swimming, Chloe and Emma are attacked by a shark and Chloe died. It’s actually very sad, but in the book it almost feels comical, especially by how Emma reacts afterward. How about developing an irrational fear for the water after you saw your best friend getting murdered by a shark? Or how about not immediately falling head over heels with the first guy you meet right after your BFF has passed away? Alas, we’re out of luck. Emma is a stereotypical, almost emotionless character. Think Bella. Think worse than Bella. Then you might come close.

Galen is probably even worse. He’s so stereotypical that I could predict his every freaking move. He’s also very controlling, in a bad, unrealistic way. The Syrena are apparently married off to random other Syrena when they reach a certain age. Love in Syrena world? I guess it’s non-existent. When Galen talks about his person life-partner, it sounds like he’s describing a rag doll. Seriously. He made me so angry by his statements about how he’d like a woman who’d never argue with him and agree with everything he said. If you want that, go buy a dog. Dogs don’t argue and they love you even if you’re a two-faced doofus with more than one mental problem. But no. Galen does what he does best: tell Emma what to do, and get all controlling and angry when she doesn’t obey. Not that Emma doesn’t obey all that much. He even tells her they’re going to Florida at a certain point, and he’s taken care of everything. I’d understand this if it was a surprise by him and he was her boyfriend or something (like ‘Look, I booked us a flight to Florida for your birthday because you’ve always wanted to go, and I already talked to your Mom and she thought it was great’). Here, Galen is neither her boyfriend (or at least not for very long) and it’s not a birthday surprise. He basically kidnaps her. Seriously, this is kidnapping in my book.

On top of that, Emma is special. She’s such a special snowflake that I want to rip her heart out and feed it to a shark. Literally. She apparently has the Gift of Poseidon, something rare, bla bla, bla bla, I couldn’t care less. After making her the most annoying protagonist in the history of YA literature, why go and make her even worse? Why freaking make her special? Mary Sue syndrome, anyone?

Special snowflake syndrome, boring, stereotypical protagonists, and oh, did I mention that in general women’s rights are non-existent in Syrena world? I already mentioned the pre-arranged marriages, but hey, a women’s worth is also decided by whether or not they can get pregnant. Oh God. Middle ages, anyone? Even back then women had more rights than female Syrena. No wonder Galen’s sister Rayna runs around being angry at the entire world for more than half of the book. That is, until she sees the guy she was bethrothed to without her consent, kissing another girl, and then she falls head over heels for him. Yes. That kind of crazy, non-realistic behavior happens everywhere in this book.

I’m not sure about Of Poseidon. I want to say I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but I’m sure some people will like it. I mean, everyone in their pet chihuahua seemed to hate Hush, Hush (for those who don’t know, that’s a YA Paranormal Romance with a fallen angel as male love interest), but I liked it all right. I’m just going to say this wasn’t for me. I’m sure someone out there will like it. If you’re a fan of mermaids, you may want to give it a try. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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