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A Reader of Fictions: Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid

Of Poseidon
Of Poseidon, Book 1

Author: Anna Banks
Pages: 324
ARC Acquired from: Macmillan Children's Group via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
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.

First Sentence: "I smack into him as if shoved from behind."

I really, really would like to find a mermaid book that I like a lot, but that search will be continuing. Of Poseidon is a book that most readers are probably going to love or be entirely annoyed by. Banks has a definite style, one that will either amuse and enchant you, or that will make you roll your eyes vigorously over and over again. For me, it was the latter.

Problem one is the host of YA tropes in the characters and their relationship to one another. Emma, a card-carrying member of the Bella Swan school of heroines, is exceedingly clumsy: "I'm betting Cinderella didn't feel this foolish, but then again, Cinderella wasn't as clumsy as an intoxicated walrus" (2). Note, too, Banks' sense of humor. This pretty much captures it perfectly. Emma meets Galen, Syrena prince, by tripping and smashing her face into his chest. We are treated to these inner thoughts:
"Tripping is bad enough. Tripping into someone is much worse. But if that someone has a body that could make sculpted statues jealous—and thinks you've broken your nose on one of his pecs—well, that's when tripping runs a distant second to humane euthanasia." (5)
This girl seriously needs to sort out her priorities. Also, she spends way too long thinking about the awkwardness of the situation. While she's thinking, she remains plastered against him, because obviously that's less weird. Everyone trips sometimes. He would laugh and move on if it were the real world. It's not though, so no one's phased by how long she presses her face against his chest on first acquaintance. Here's one more quote to explain my distaste for Emma: "If stupid were a disease, I'd have died of it by now" (119). This attitude is so unhealthy. I encourage girls not to think of themselves this way, even as a joke.

Galen, of course, is drawn to her from first meeting, purportedly because his mermaid (sorry, Syrena) senses are tingling. Meant to be together, blah, blah, blah. They met while she was on vacation (during which time her best friend got eaten by a shark). She goes back to Jersey and he shows up in her school with an identical schedule. When she tries to avoid him after the first class let out, he grabbed her wrist and, when she tries to pull away, he grips harder (41). This is a primo sign of a controlling guy. I was not surprised to learn that he had 'serial-killer eyes' (290). Among his other charming qualities, he also bosses her around constantly and takes advantage of her memory loss to convince her to accompany him somewhere.

I would also like to point out that Emma completely forgets about Chloe's death and that she's supposed to be sad within a day of Galen's showing up at her school. Meanwhile, her mother hears that Emma tripped and hit her head, freaks out and accuses Emma of sleeping with Galen, her boyfriend. The two are not dating and she refuses to believe anything else. He was a transfer; it was his first damn day at that school. WHAT WHAT WHAT?

The other big problem I have is the inconsistency of what the Syrena know about humans. Galen is an ambassador to the humans, which basically means a spy. He is bewildered by: phone books, people having more than one name (first and last), lip gloss, and countries. At the same time, he is capable of using a phone (likely a fancy modern one) and driving a car (note: one with a manual transmission). He was also capable of passing all of the high school classes she was taking. Plausibility fail.

Of Poseidon had some seriously major flaws, as I've pointed out, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read. I suspect many people will enjoy it more than I did.

Rating: 2.5/5

Favorite Quote: " 'Hey, you know what else I don't care about? You giving me orders.' "

"The seaweed is always greener 
In somebody else's lake 
You dream about going up there 
But that is a big mistake 
 Just look at the world around you 
Right here on the ocean floor 
Such wonderful things surround you 
What more is you lookin' for? 

Under the sea 
Under the sea 
Darling it's better 
Down where it's wetter 
Take it from me 
Up on the shore they work all day 
Out in the sun they slave away 
While we devotin' 
Full time to floatin' 
Under the sea "

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Anonymous Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text) said...

Wow, this sounds laughably bad. Best friend eaten by a shark!? And I'm so over the Twilight stuff. I will not be reading this book, so thanks for the head's up.

Coincidentally, I really enjoyed watching you and Giselle banter back and forth about it on Twitter :-P

May 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bantering about it on twitter was fun.

It wasn't awful, but it was just absurd. I think a lot of people will really like it, and I know that some have. I, however, just didn't think it made a whole lot of sense. Also, Galen is SO CREEPY.

Yeah, the fact that she totally forgot about her dead friend totally pissed me off.

May 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Christina K. said...

It's too bad you didn't like it:(

I read it and I loved it! I loved the style and attitude and the world-building.

I really enjoyed the romance, and the characters are so memorable. I guess it depends on what people look for and their expectations.

Thanks for the honest review:)

June 1, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I knew that a lot of people were going to, and, in fact, a lot of blogs I read had 4 and 5 star reviews, so you're in good company.

Her humor just wasn't quite my style, unfortunately, and I thought Galen was a creeper. Haha. To each her own!

June 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

Hah, yeah this book was totally NOT MY THING AT ALL. I just could not get over how creepy Galen was and how bizarre it was that whatever her name is, EMMA, there we go, just kind of forgets about her dead BFF. And then that arranged marriage crap. What the deal?


June 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Christina said...


Gah! I keep hoping to find a seriously kickass mermaid book, but I'm still looking. He freaking follows her across the country, lies to her to get her to go out with him, and constantly tells her what to do and she's okay with that because he has pretty purple eyes. Ugh.

I was so mad about the sister. She was all 'no you can't tell me to get married' and I thought she might be a strong female to latch onto, but of course women secretly always want to be married and are just playing hard to get. NOOOO.

June 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Jaime Lester said...

It is disappointing, isn't it? I have tried on many occasions to find a book about mermaids that at least sits well with me. Of the many that I have tried, only one has succeeded. That would be Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. It was actually good, maybe because it was written from a male perspective. That's the only one though. I had very high hopes for Of Poseidon because of the stellar reviews that it has been getting. Oh well, it looks like my search continues. Thank you, though, for saving me from yet another aquatic nightmare! I've had enough of those since Jaws, thank you very much!

August 3, 2012 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I know some people loved this one, but this may be my least favorite read of the year. It is so far. I've read worse things, but none of them bothered me as much as this one.

Lies Beneath was alright for me, but I didn't love it. I had some suspension of disbelief issues. I did like Brown's writing though, so I'll probably try whatever she writes when the mermaid series is finished.

August 3, 2012 at 8:57 AM  

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