Review: Of Poseidon

  • Author: Anna Banks
  • Series: Of Poseidon #1
  • Published: May 22, 2012
  • Publisher: Feiwil & Friends
  • Reading Level: Ages 13 and up
  • Pages: 366 pages
  • Source: Bought  

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.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

 I heard so many good things about this book, which made me beyond happy to finally get a copy of it. However, because of all the positive things I heard about it, I was severely disappointed once I began reading. I get that hype is essential to selling a novel, but there is such thing as too much hype.

The plot of this book is Emma's journey to self-discovery and discovering herself with the help of Galen, a Syrena prince from the Triton's. You can easily get that much from the summary above, but this summary is so misleading to me. A summary of a book is supposed to summarize the entire book. Everything mentioned in the summary above, taken from Amazon, happens within the first several of the chapters of the book. Which leads me to a worry of mine: the fact that the book literally just jumped right into things. It all started right away. We knew nothing of Emma, Galen, and Chloe before Anna Banks jumped right into the story, which made all the events that happened at first seem odd. You couldn't feel for Chloe, as much as you wanted to, because you barely knew her! Back-stories are awesome, they give the characters depth, don't avoid back-stories!

Now, for the characters. I so badly wanted to love Galen and Emma, and, in truth, I did. Galen seems so amazingly attractive and Emma seems so great and quirky, but their characterization was just so... weird. I truly can't even think of a word to describe it. They weren't exactly bi-polar, but they were more than all over the place, jumping between being "teacher-and-student" and "i-want-to-jump-your-bones" thoughts constantly. There was no consistency. How could she value Galen and think he's wonderful when he's so controlling and is noted to have "serial-killer eyes?" Plus, he's supposed to be ambassador to humans and barely understands half their language, yet he knows how to drive and even insists on teaching others how to drive? His characterization was off, just as Emma's was. For example, Emma puts an emphasis on her kindness and then actually goes on a murderous rampage. Don't even get me started on the rampage, it seemed silly and unnecessary and used as a way to show one of the many aspects of her Gift. However, there are so many better ways to go about it without making Emma seem like a psychopath whose feelings go from one extreme to another in seconds without warning. Emma's mother was odd. If I was a mother, I would not ask my daughter and her boyfriend if they wanted to sleep with each other. And, unlike her, the answer, "Yes, I would like to sleep with your daughter, but we haven't yet," would not fly with me. I think the only character that I enjoyed was Toraf. He was a goof, but he was genuine, and he was willing to get his butt kicked by Rayna just to be near her because he loved her with every bit of his soul. Toraf is the type of guy you'd want to date, not Galen.

The usage of switching viewpoints should have benefited the book, but it was just weird in this case.

The Syrena mythology used in this story is great. It was so well thought out and incorporated into the story beautifully. The history of Triton and Poseidon is something I have not read in any other story, so I'm thankful that it was used here. It was original. Not to mention the aspects of each houses gifts and what those gifts represent. Anna Banks did a beautiful job at creating mermaid lore that kept you hooked on the story. Plus, the fact that some scenes could take place under water was pretty amazingly and showed off Banks' unique descriptive skills.

My biggest qualm with this story is the ending. I predicted it from almost the very beginning. Banks' attempts at foreshadowing were not successful. Instead of hinting at the end, they practically screamed what would happen in your face. Thus, the ending came as no surprise to me, even though it seemed to shock every character in the novel. The end was the climax that the book was slowly leading up to, but it was cut off right at the moment you, as a reader, wait for throughout the novel with a cliff-hanger. This cliff-hanger bugged me. Yeah, it successfully convinces a reader to move onto the next book because you have to read everyone's reactions, but I feel that a good cliff-hanger can begin to go in depth and keep you hooked even with most of the details revealed. This cliff-hanger revealed absolutely nothing and cut off with no explanation. To me, cliffies like that are just meant to be excuses to keep readers reading because the book isn't the best. At least, that's my interpretation.

Despite all of the odd characterizations and unusual scenes sprinkled throughout the novel, I did find myself enjoying it. I didn't want to put it down, even when Emma frustrated me beyond belief. This story was mesmerizing and so unique, but I wish with all my heart that Banks could have told it differently. It's so beyond clear that this is a debut novel because its littered with mistakes that veteran writers avoid at all costs. But it kept you focused, even if the cliff-hanger at the end made you grind your teeth in annoyance. Thus, this novel is getting a 3 out of 5. I will be reading the sequel because I have to know what happens next, but I hope that Banks takes the time to better her storytelling skills so that everything pulls together more expertly than it did in this prequel. With all of that being said, I don't want to turn anyone off from this novel. I truly, truly do think it's worth reading, but it's writing style is incredibly different than most young adult authors these days.

This would be a decent rainy day read. 

This cover is absolutely enchanting. It's the kind of cover to make one grab it off the shelf at a local book store. It's eerily beautiful, haunting, and mysterious all at once. Not to mention, it shows Emma's beautiful, white hair perfectly. Great cover choice! I absolutely adore it. A single picture summarizes the important events in the story beautifully.

3 stars


  1. I have tried twice to read this one. I will give it one more try and hopefully be able to finish it. I agree with the character assessment you made of them!

    1. Yeah, this book wasn't worth the hype that it got...

  2. I had to read your review of Anna's book because I critiqued the 1st 6 chapters before an agent snapped her up. I didn't ask her to put in more backstory at the beginning because it goes against what every writing workshop or conference tells us. They all say work it in slowly. Yet you're far from the only reader I've heard complain of the practice. In fact, I got so much disagreement from my critique group and beta readers that I put up some alternate beginnings on my blog to get a feel for the percentages of action vs. characterization first preference. Based on the comments, not enough to be statistically significant, more prefer action. But I ended up trying to mix in characterization with my new action opening. I'd love another opinion if you ever want to try a middle grade.

    I also saw this ending a mile away, except I assumed some other means of changing (spoiler). I declined reviewing The Hunt by Andrew Fukada for most of the same reasons. And no way could the main character live that long among vampires given the overdone/weird strictures. At the end it would have taken a few paragraphs, or no more than a couple of pages to provide some sort of closure for the first book while still leaving a huge amount of questions/quests to generate interest in the next book.

    1. I know that backstory is supposed to be worked in slowly, but the book literally just doesn't jump into life-changing plot points from the first book either. It's as if we knew nothing before something major happened. I felt so bad about everything with the shark, but I barely knew any of the characters at that point. I couldn't feel for them the way I was meant to because of this, y'know? There was a huge lack of an emotional connection at first.

  3. I have meaning to read this book. It looks real good! :D

  4. I just finished up with Of Poseidon. I have read several mermaid/siren type books, and have had no luck finding one that sticks with me. This one was actually better than the others I have read, but still not great! I will read book 2, though, just to see what happens. Ugh. Maybe one day I will find one that I love!