Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review >> Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Hardcover, 324 pages (9781250003324)
Source: Purchased from Mysterious Galaxy

Emma McIntosh has always felt a little different after a freak accident in the water left her convinced a school of fish saved her life. Years later, while on vacation in Florida with her best friend, Emma has a run-in with an attractive but strange young man who takes an immediate interest in her. Galen Forza, who happens to be a human ambassador for a species of merfolk called Syrena, can sense something is off about Emma, and his theory about the girl proves correct after a dangerous encounter with a shark. Now, he begins to wonder if she might be the one person who can unite the underwater kingdoms of Triton and Poseidon, but Galen is not the only one who recognizes this gift and an unknown underwater presence has also taken an interest in Emma. 

"I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch."

Ohmysweetgoodness, I'm not even sure where to begin with this, Of Poseidon was just a slippery mess of weirdness and possessed some serious flaws that caused me to cringe page after page, and unfortunately, the book does not get any better as it progresses. The story itself is pretty basic, and includes your typical girl with a special gift meets boy with an eye for the quirky girl who must join forces to make the world a more magical place. However, the story just sort of floundered around for the entirety of the novel with our leads, Emma and Galen, not really progressing at all or even putting much effort into furthering either their relationship or the inherent mystery surrounding Emma's unusual circumstances. The jacket description on the book is also wildly deceiving, as it makes it seem as though Galen is the lead character. The scenes told from Emma's POV (which is the bulk of the story) are told from first person, while the Galen scenes are told from third person, making this bizarre contrast incredibly awkward for the reader and ultimately only added to the weird factor permeating the story. These issues, however, were just the tip of the iceberg, and if Galen wants his romantic date below the sea swimming among the remains of an infamous ghost ship, we're gonna need to hit this iceberg a little harder. Let's dive!

Why don't we start with the characters, as they are typically an integral part of a well-written story. Emma McIntosh, our lead heroine, is clumsy, forgetful, spiteful, and quite frankly I was beginning to wonder how she's navigated through her high school classes with straight As, or life in general, given her continual lack of intelligence or even the ability to perform perfunctory actions. I personally responded very poorly to Emma and found her to be not just obnoxious, but downright mean to anyone and everyone she comes in contact with (I don't know many people who would react kindly to having a handful of Lemonheads forcefully shoved in their mouth). I would say I can't even begin to imagine what Galen sees in her, but our supposedly smoldering male lead is really no better. Although the Syrena culture states that a male chooses his "mate" and this coupling is dictated by the men (an issue I will get back to in a minute), I find this poor reasoning to allow the lead love interest in a book geared towards teens, or anyone in general, to be so blatantly chauvinistic. Galen, who I can only assume is meant to make readers swoon with his violet eyes and abs that could break concrete, but I found myself at first less than impressed followed by just down right pissed off every chapter he appeared in. Galen is possessive, jealous, dull, and continually puts forth ideas that would place Emma, his object of female desire, about 20,000 leagues below him. After all, he seems to only want a woman who can make a baby and spoon feed him his crab meat. Doesn't that sound like the picture perfect example of domestic bliss? Ah, true love.

"Not that Galen beats me, but after his little show, what will people think?"

Seriously, Emma? This sort of behavior is not just reserved for our leads, oh no. The supporting characters also buy into this antiquated Syrena lifestyle. Galen's sister, Rayna, whom I thought might be a shining beacon of hope erected to steer the character's ship away from the rocky shores quickly approaching, starts off strong-willed and quite angry at the fact that she is forced into a mating ritual with someone she doesn't love. She even runs (swims?) away from home and has been hiding out among humans in order to escape this preordained life she has a deep aversion to. I thought, finally! Someone in this story who is willing to think for themselves! I think I may have jumped the gun on that one, because Rayna abruptly decides that her mate, Toraf, is in fact her one true love only after she catches him and Emma kissing on the beach, an act Toraf used simply to make Rayna jealous. So much for that lighthouse, crash away ship! And oh boy, does this ship ever crash!

"Toraf is good-looking, funny, and considerate- which makes me question Rayna's attitude."

In addition to the wildly predictable story, there is also the fact that the characters appeared to have the combined IQ of a sea slug and spend 99% of the book trying to solve the mystery of Emma's mysterious heritage and whether or not she is who they think she is. The story spends far too much time in the shallow end of the ocean, floating around with little baby floats and a ducky ring to keep it from getting too far from the shore. Not only this, but there are one too many unexplained plot holes and weird wannabe red herrings which served no purpose but to drag the story out to reach the 300 page mark. Finally, one of the biggest issues I had with this book was the not so subtle trope involving Emma's friend, Chloe, who is not just black, she's a stereotypical black! In addition to being a hothead, Chloe is also described as wearing a weave and fake nails, and as a little added bonus *SPOILER ALERT* she is killed off at the beginning of the book for no apparent reason other than to get Emma in the water! It is already incredibly difficult to find diversity within the YA genre, but I find it a little strange to kill off the only black character in your story, and then proceed to remind the reader time and time and time again that our heroine is not just white, but porcelain white, albino white, she has trouble wearing makeup because she's so deadly white, she's like Chloe's white shadow. Smells a little fishy to me, and I despise fish.

"If that kiss were real, I might have thrown scholarships to the wind and followed him to our own private island or his underwater kingdom. I might have even cooked him fish."

Overall, I am incredibly disappointed with this story, which is a shame because I met the author during the Fierce Reads Tour and she was incredibly funny and sarcastic and I loved the way she described her story and her desire to write a Sasquatch YA romance. Her humor is evident in her writing, and there were many scenes where I actually found myself laughing out loud, but having a humorous novel doesn't make up for a bad story. While I was reading this book, I began to wonder whether it was actually written as a satirical commentary on the YA genre and some of the ridiculousness associated with it, in which case this book would actually be rather clever. Unfortunately, I don't think this was the case and Of Poseidon was just a huge flop laden with plot holes and offensive story arcs. Of course, this is just one person's opinion on the story, but if this seems like something you still want to check out, by all means, I'd love to hear other people's opinions. Of Poseidon just didn't do it for me, and I've decided to swim on by the next release in the series to seek out more agreeable waters. *end sea puns*

"The look in her eyes, the way her mouth hangs open, the way she glances down at the trident on his stomach, is all the confirmation he needs."

Instead of Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1), you should try:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep #1) by Zoraida Cordova
Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings #3) by Jackson Pearce

**All quotes taken from Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)**


  1. Looks like I will be skipping this fish out of water tale. Shore hope Dead Reckoning will be better!

  2. It's refreshing to hear such a honest review after the gushing praise I've read about this book. The story struck me as cliche, but all the positive reviews gave me hope. I'll still probably end up reading it, but thanks for bring my hopes back to a realistic level.


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