Saturday, June 16, 2012

Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks

First published in Australia in 2012, by Hardie Grant

Of Poseidon is flirty and fun. There are some great lines and lots of cheeky humour to enjoy, which is always refreshing for YA paranormal romances. Sometimes the old teenage love story can take itself a little too seriously, so when one is written slightly tongue-in-cheek it’s very refreshing. Because we’re dealing with merpeople (or Syrena, as they’re referred to), the setting naturally revolves around Summer and the beach, which also helps to give the book a light-hearted, fresh feel (no gloomy boarding houses or icy, rainy forests here).
The stylistic choice of telling the story from two different perspectives (Galen & Emma) is enjoyable. It also helps to flesh out the male love interest – sometimes in paranormal romance they are reduced to looking gorgeous/brooding, and making heartfelt declarations of love. Not that this doesn’t happen in Of Poseidon, but reading about Galen’s home life, his people, and his world, certainly helps to give him some depth.
That being said, I don’t think it quite worked to have Galen in third person and Emma in first. This also does something weird to the tenses. The story feels interrupted, disconcerting, and a bit sloppy. Also I found that sometimes, especially in Galen’s parts, the narrative was a bit prone to info dumps. Yes, I certainly wanted to learn more about Galen’s world and the Syrena mythology, but it would be more seamless and ultimately involving if it was integrated into the story. Too much back story at once and I think readers are prone to just skimming over the info, and missing a lot of the interesting stuff.
I’ve learnt to take YA para-romances for what they are. Of Poseidon was a fun read. There were some problems. Once again, Galen is so beautiful it hurts. All the girls love him, but he is infatuated with Emma. Didn’t see that coming ;). There are some problems with their relationship – he controlling, she full of snarky attitude, but of course they can’t live without each other. The Emma-mother relationship was a bit off, but in the last chapter (nice twist, btw), it becomes clear why this might be so. Some plot points are slightly unrealistic and I got over hearing about how ‘special’ Emma is.
But there are positives too. The underwater scenes are really enjoyable. There is a strong lore that grounds the story – also clearly meant to build up events for future books. Secondary characters (especially Toraf and Rayna) actually have some personality – I found their relationship very sweet. Almost more interesting than Galen and Emma’s! Despite some problems, Of Poseidon has an entertaining flirty feel and worth a read if you love all things mer-ish.

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