Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

17 March, 2012 Reviews 17 comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna BanksOf Poseidon by Anna Banks
Series: Of Poseidon #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 22nd 2012
Pages: 324
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

It’s official. Mermaids are the new “angels” of the Paranormal Romance genre. The is the second mermaid book I’ve read and I’m less than impressed with these sea creatures. Incidentally, Of Poseidon happens to be worse for me than Lies Beneath.

Of Poseidon tells the story of Emma, a girl who possesses a few Syrena (mermaid) traits, and Galen, a Syrena prince, who attempts to unravel the secrets of Emma. It’s discovered that she has the Gift of Poseidon (think Dr. Dolittle at the aquarium) and that she may be the key to pass on the Gift to future generations. The problem arises that Emma can’t change into her Syrena form causing Galen to spend more time with her training her. You know what happens next: they fall deeply in love.

I was really looking forward to starting this book for two reasons: 1) The cover is stunning and 2) The blurb mentioned it was a mermaid tale told by both Emma and Galen’s PoV. I usually like books that feature duel point of views, but in this case I didn’t because it switched back and forth from 1st person (Emma) to 3rd person (Galen).  That stylistic choice felt choppy to me. But despite that, I did find the dialogue humorous at times.

“Maybe you can talk to donkeys, too,” Dr. Milligan smiles. Emma nods. “I can. Sometimes Galen can be a jackass.”

And that’s about all I liked about this book. (See, I’m not that heartless!) Unfortunately, the bad REALLY outweighed any good this novel had and it all started with Chloe, Emma’s best friend. Now the beginning of the novel opens up with Emma and Chloe in Florida on vacation before school starts and I was surprised to see that Chloe was black. I had a huge smile on my face and I thought, “Wow! Diversity!” That was until Chloe was described as having a weave and fake nails… and she dies in the 3rd chapter. D: The smile slid of my face and my happy cat died. I have a HUGE issue with how African Americans are portrayed in YA novels, if we even make it into a YA novel in the first place. This is the same issue I had with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, where they minority character was so heavily stereotyped I wanted him to die a slow painful death. Same with Chloe, whose only purpose was to create a sad and lonely heroine. Are there black girls who have weaves and wear fake nails? Sure. But that is the easiest cop out when it comes to creating a black female character. I half expected her to bust out and start “doin’ the Dougie” on the beach.

I still have no idea how to do that dance.

Chloe wasn’t the only character I had issue with. I also really disliked Galen. He’s your typical YA male love interest. He’s so good looking it hurts to glance at him, females tripping over their panties to give him their numbers, and if he smiles at you: instant orgasm. He was also a controlling douche bag slinging Emma around like she was a Raggedy Anne doll. He always tries to tell Emma what to do and where to go, giving her no choice. There is even a point where he tells her she is going with him to Florida and he already arranged everything including getting permission from her mother. He stalks her and threatens another guy she dates. And I was okay with giving this book 2 stars until he started thinking thoughts like these:

“He scours his memory for a sweet-natured Syrena who would take care of him, who would do whatever he asked, who would never argue with him.”

But I really can’t expect much for him given how poorly females are treated in this book. I’m not sure what the obsession is with women’s uteruses these days. Please don’t get me started on the US, but this is YA fiction. Can’t I escape the madness in my fiction? No, apparently not. The female mermaids have almost no choice who they want to marry. When a male Syrena turns 18 he searches for a female “whose company he will enjoy and who will be suitable for producing offspring.” Great. Just great. So, female Syrena are only worthy if they can produce offspring. Here that girls? Your worth is dependent on a working uterus! Otherwise you are unsuitable!

Galen’s own sister, Rayna, spends half of the book angy because she was married off to a Syrena without her knowledge. Yes, that’s right. She wasn’t even present at the ceremony! Oh, but don’t worry she had the option to break off the marriage. Unfortunately for her, the King would probably deny her, so no real rights at all! But what really irked me was when she saw him kiss another girl, she instantly decides she does love him and they go off to an island to mate. -_-

Emma is no exception to this “rule” either. Since she is so speshul and has the Gift of Poseidon, she is destined to marry Galen’s brother and produce offspring. Galen conveniently keeps this from her the entire book because she really has no say in the matter. Women’s rights over their marital status? Their bodies? Their children? Their futures? What’s that?

Along with the issue of women, the book has a ton of other problems. For example, somehow Emma can talk underwater while she is holding her breath. That makes no sense. She has to hold her breath. How is it possible that she is talking?  Emma’s mother was also a strange one. She is crazy overbearing and pesters Emma into admitting Emma and Galen are dating. But here is the thing: they weren’t. She’s very, very strict, but just allows Emma to go anywhere with Galen. That didn’t match up for me. I would tell you why it makes zero sense, but it would spoil the entire book. Speaking of which, the plot twists are extremely predictable. I knew how the book would end in the second chapter. There’s no anticipation, no mystery. Just incredibly slow characters. That is pathetic.

I was really looking forward to this book and was excited to get approved for the galley, but another mermaid tale bites the dust.

1 star for an interesting premise.
.5 star for the lulz it afforded me.

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

17 Responses to “Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks”

  1. Lexie B.

    And people wonder WHY there is still so much misogyny today. If books keep insisting that this treatment of females is okay, that it’s even a good thing, this problem isn’t going to end. It scares me that stuff like this still exists in literature today. I honestly cringed at that Gavin quote. I really wanted to read this one before, but now . . . yeah, I’ll likely be giving this one a wide berth.

    Also, I love how authors can never seem to write a black, gay, or Jewish best friend without lumping in every stereotype in existence.
    Lexie B. recently posted…The Significance of Ratings and the Significance of ReviewsMy Profile

    • Stephanie Sinclair

      I agree. It disturbs me that we continue to see this over and over. Granted Emma does speak up against how the female Syrena’s are treated, she continues to forgive Galen despite how he treats her.

      The stereotypes suck. If Chloe had just been described as a black female without the weave and nails, I wouldn’t have even taken issue with her death. She would have just been another character to me. But because of the stereotypes added in, she turned into the token character.

  2. Rogue

    I attempted to read a mermaid book once.
    Did it go well?

    ……… not really.

    Stereotyping really annoys me. You can have the best plot but if you make a stereotyped character ’cause you can’t bother to make a original character: bye bye book.
    Rogue recently posted…Matched by Ally CondieMy Profile

  3. Yareaders America

    Despite how bad this book sounds, love your review. I’ve been noticing the sudden emergence of mermaid books, and though I’m naturally disinclined to pick one up, I was wondering if it was maybe time to start giving them a shot. But no thanks — I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by steering clear of this particular fad.

    You make a lot of great points and I have a lot of the same frustrations with YA novels, recently. One that surprised me though, that I think you might like (if you’re a historical fiction fan) is The Queen’s Lady by Eve Edwards. Despite the time period, the good guys in this book are actually concerned with getting to know their love interests. Plus, there are multiple POVs and the author even tackles interracial couples (which surprised me, again, given the time period). But it was available on NetGalley, if you’re interested. 🙂

    P.S. Sorry this sounds like a sales pitch? Haha.

    • Stephanie Sinclair

      I’m going to give mermaids one last shot until I declare it not for me. That’s how I discovered Unearthly. So, things coud turn around. Fingers crossed!

      The Queen’s Lady sounds really good! I’m not a big historic fiction fan, but that sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for recommending!

  4. Sandra

    Well, I have been looking forward to this book for so long. But after reading your review I think I will pass. How sad that the book sucks so much. Thanks for your review – it’s a real eye opener.

  5. Jennifer

    Great review! Aww, that sucks! I’ve been wanting to read this! In fact, I just won a giveaway for it today…
    Maybe I’ll like it more? 🙂

  6. Lelia Taylor

    Stephanie, have you read Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell? It’s science fiction but of the readable sort, if you know what I mean, and I think you’d be very pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the characters and the minimal, almost nonexistent, stereotyping. You can read my review here at but you’ll notice I don’t mention ethnicity. That’s because Buckell writes the characters without making a big deal of it.
    Lelia Taylor recently posted…Book Reviews: The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon, Bears With Us by Marilyn Meredith, Triple Shot by Sandra Balzo, and A Perilous Conception by Larry KarpMy Profile

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