DNF Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Friday, June 15, 2012
Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Genre: young-adult, supernatural fiction
Series: Of Poseidon #1
Pages: 336 (Nook ARC edition)
Published: May 22 2012
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 1/5

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.

I'm definitely in the minority here as most reviews seem to love this novel, but I am okay with being on the fringes. I embrace it.  I can certainly love that cover, but that is the end of any affection I might've had for this supernatural young-adult novel. I like to think I am stingy with my 5-star ratings, but the truth is I give those out far more often than any one-star. I can usually find something, somewhere in a novel that I enjoyed, but not so here. Of Poseidon deserves that one-star whole-heartedly and by page 170, I already knew that this book was going to be a major, major problem for me.

I read until about page 275, and then skimmed until the end because I wasn't having any fun. At all. In fact, I was often angry at this novel. I was, at first, deceived mildly interested by the blurb (warring mermaid tribes?[Schools?] Yes, please!), then progressively less and less impressed by the characters, the plot, and both those elements' immature, trope-ish presentations. Of Poseidon isn't anything new; this is another YA paranormal romance (with an obnoxious, awful love-interest even!), in the vein of the newest popular supernatural being: the mermaid. I have yet to find a mermaid novel that has truly impressed me with its originality (besides Lies Beneath) or its characters, and all of them have underwhelmed me with their misogynistic notions and representations of love and teenage relationships.

Things I Hated About Of Poseidon:

  • the mermaid attitude toward "mating" - see Rayna/Toraf
  • predictability with which the story "progressed"
  • instalove on an extreme scale
  • stock, cliched characters across the board
  • contrived drama and high school melodrama that overtake the (barely-there) mermaid plot

Of Poseidon was just an underwater mess. It's predictable and cliched; I called the big twist at the end as soon as the "mystery" element was introduced, I knew how the romance would go as soon as Galen was described as Adonis's long-lost, better-looking brother. There's just absolutely nothing new here; it's all been done before and so so much better. From characters (Emma is a cliched, predictable piece of cardboard, her mother is a shrill, paranoid woman, Galen a controlling and unavailable ass) to the melodramatic "plot", everything here feels one-dimensional or cheap. The only cgaracter with any life (or of color...) is killed within 30 pages. With the (many and often) repeated mentions of how porcelain and pure Emma's white skin is, the death of the only black character made me highly uncomfortable.

What really made me uncomfortable - and then angry - with this novel was the mermaid aspect towards mating. Basically in this underwater hell, the girl mermaids are property with no say in their lives - be it who they want to mate with or even if they want to mate at all. Galen, our "hero", has a sister who has said all her life she doesn't want to mate, ever. Even when Rayna is forced into an unwanted marriage (that her brother made BEHIND her back WITHOUT her PRESENCE or even her KNOWLEDGE), Galen has no sympathy for his sister. None. These are direct quotes, from the ARC:

R: "Why can't he just leave me alone? And why do you think it's so funny? You're supposed to protect me!" 
G: "From Toraf? Why would I do that?"

OH, I DON'T KNOW GALEN, maaaybe because she's your sister and you (supposedly) love her and don't want to force her into an unwanted marriage and assumed rape? Maybe? Just guessing here. So basically, because Toraf is Galen's friend. has known Rayna her whole life, he gets to call "dibs" on her. And that's ok. With everyone. (Rayna further fucks up the message even more later on in the novel with her actions, but I lack the energy to detail why she is so awful. Check out these reviews for many, many reasons why this novel is misogynistic, racist and sends the wrong message to teenage readers.)

By the time I hit page 200, I was long past wondering where the plot went, where Emma's grief for Chloe, her life-long best-friend, had disappeared to so quickly? Wondering why Emma had lost all intelligence and self-respect to chase after an asshole? I just.. couldn't. Sure this reads easily and quickly (no need to fear reading any SAT words here!), but it is not worth the time, effort or money. I will most definitely not be continuing this series -- I wasn't a fin fan.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you couldn't get into this book and finish it. It's been on my TBR list for a while. I've seen a lot of reviews on it from people who adored it, so it's kind of refreshing to see points from someone who didn't like it as much.

    Great review, thank you for being honest.


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