Yes. It’s a book about mermaids. (Okay, Syrena.) I know what you’re thinking. Or at least, I know what my close friends are thinking which is probably along the lines of, “Dear god, this is going to be like Wings and the faeries isn’t it?” Possibly they’re already planning an intervention.
The truth is, I didn’t expect to love to Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I figured it’d be a short and sweet paranormal romance that would be fun if I could just accept mer people as a premise. And it’s not easy. I don’t know why I have no issue with demons or vampires or wizards but mermaids cross some line beyond my suspension of disbelief. Except that Banks pulls it off. Beautifully, if I may say so. But it’s not only the world building or Syrena ability to blend (effectively camouflage in the water, like an octopus). No. It’s that Banks is freaking hilarious. She’s great at telling a story, developing characters, and all of that good stuff, but her narration had me from page 2.
For example, we meet Emma, the protagonist, at a beach in Florida where she’s just run face-first into a stranger who happens to be a hot teenage guy (Galen, whom we later learn is a Syrena). Emma is mentally running through her options of what to do since she’s basically been standing there like an idiot against him for a very long, awkward moment:
“Option 2: Pretend I’ve fainted. Go limp and everything. Drool, even. But I know this won’t work because my eyes flutter too much to fake it, and besides, people don’t blush while unconscious.
Option 3: Pray for a lightning bolt.”
Here’s the other thing that basically blows my mind about this book: it has so much in common with your standard paranormal romance–no, scratch that. It has so much in common with Twilight--that if I’d ticked off those points, you’d probably groan and put it on your shelf of lost causes. But it works. Because unlike so many other similar premises, this Girl-Discovers-She’s-Special story is built on characters that feel real and behave like sane, normal people. Emma doesn’t stay out of the water when Galen tells her to with vague comments about keeping her safe. And it’s not because she’s needlessly defiant; it’s because he doesn’t give her real reasons and he’s not the boss of her. Emma is awesome.
It also does that thing that usually annoys me where it’s first person for one character and then third person for another. I don’t know why Banks did that, since I’m sure she’s talented enough to make them sound different. Heck, they do. Galen’s narration is his own, even though he’s stuck in 3rd person. But again, it works. Maybe Banks sold her soul to the Magic Narration Fairy.
So yes. This is a novel about mer-people, where one of them goes to high school in human form(!) His twin sister is bratty and suspicious and his best friend Toraf is your standard nice guy. They have to figure out how not-human Emma is. There are some Syrena politics at play(!), and there’s even, hand to god, a “This Love is Complicated By Lack of Communication” plot line between Emma and Galen(!).
And still, still it’s an awesome book. I care about the cast, it’s laugh-out-loud funny and though I think it’s a series, the end is satisfying.
Recommended for: People who want a fun and yet suspenseful paranormal romance. People looking for an entertaining and hilarious quick read. People who like other mermaid/merpeople books.