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Thursday, June 21, 2012

SUMMER READING: Come on in, the water is FINE!

Why hello there!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…where the chosen book may surprise but the content will always intrigue.

Today we are jumping back to our bookish roots and catching a few waves with a Young Adult title that burst on the scene just last month.  From an author that is somewhat local to my area (how cool is that?!) and featuring the latest trend in YA lit today in an undersea adventure you won’t want to miss, may I present you with today’s book of choice….


Of Poseidon
By

From the publisher
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.


Yes, we ARE diving right into this review because frankly, sometimes you just have to.  This was one of those reads that sports a rather interesting combination…a curious cover with a gorgeous color scheme and a title that demands explanation; that later part, is done throughout the book but even now I’m still a wee bit fuzzy on it (my brain…sometimes it doesn’t connect the dots so easily).  First, let’s talk general story…

If you haven’t guessed, we’re dealing with mermaids…oh wait, excuse me, Syrenians in this case.  They are essentially the same mythical creature (just don’t tell THEM that…or at least duck if you do!) except they have a much more sordid history and the ability to go all “Little Mermaid” on you whenever the itch strikes.  Confused?  Sorry!  Allow me to explain.  Once upon a time there were two kingdoms residing under the sea, in an effort to not steal Galen’s thunder, I won’t divulge all the details but suffice it to say a accident occurred, followed my a HUGE misunderstanding and now the two factions would rather swim the English channel every day for kicks then cross fins.  Yeah…it’s a bit of a mess, but things are looking up now that an old law thought obsolete may come into play.  It has to do with the royals of both families marrying to keep the gifts of Triton and Poseidon from being lost and…it never really mattered since the king swore he’d never be mated again.  Anyone else smell a secret brewing here?  Ah, good nose…but it’s not what you might be thinking…

Something is in the water; a presence felt but not yet understood….by any parties.  You see, Syrena can sense each other when in water (some even on land…HELLO Galen!), some better than others (meet Toraf, an expert tracker), which not only helps them to communicate but to stay out of each others way.  This presence is something…or rather someone new; so new in fact, they don’t even know they exist.  Okay, well not that side of them anyway.  Convincing them is going to be a task and a half too, especially when the explainer and the explainee get a wee tad too close in the feeling department.  Best not to mix business with pleasure Galen, or didn’t your kingly brother Grom teach you that?  If things don’t get sorted out soon, it could spell disaster for them all…but that’s the least of their worries at this moment; especially when the Prince is in love with the king’s promised “right”.  *dun dun dunnnnnnn*  Now on to that second part I mentioned…

The “Little Mermaid” remark was not merely stated to T off any Syrenians reading this (just kidding, it’s fiction…or is it? LOL.), but to make a point.  You know how in that particular story, Ariel was all “I-want-to-be-on-land” and the Ursula was all “okay-if-you-give-me-your-voice-so-I-can-live-out-my-American-Idol-dreams-and-steal-the-all-powerful-tritan-you-can-haz-legs-and-walk-not-on-water” (^_^).  Well, there’s no sea witchy deals here, but they CAN transform their fishy bottoms (okay, that sounds weird, but you know what I mean) into legs at will.  It’s pretty cool actually, except for the whole life span shortening thing…oh, wait, I didn’t tell you about that now did I?  Syrena are fairly close to immortal…or rather they age INCREDIBLY slowly so they live for eons without the effects of time taking its toll on their form, a good thing too because if it did, they wouldn’t be able to go all camouflage in the water when they need to hide their presence (prune skin doesn’t exactly mesh with the ripples of the water)…which actually presents part of the conundrum with Emma.  Let’s talk characters…

Emma is a spirited albeit clumsy girl who never quite fit in.  She wasn’t an outcast or anything, but she made a close friend or two and just muddled through life the best she could without falling on her face.  Her clumsiness pays off during her Florida visit as she crash lands right into…the arms, excuse me, chest of one beachly hottie by the name of Galen…with a scowling Rayna (now SHE’S a net-ful, I mean handful!) at his side.  She’s embarrassed of course, and the girl’s scowl does nothing to help the situation but she dusts herself off, makes sure there’s no damages and scurries away with her bestie Chloe at her side; too bad for Chloe, Florida is not only known as the sunshine state but the last destination.  Things take a turn for the worst before getting better and then WAY worse, but she for the most part keeps her head about her, even if she is one to jump to conclusions a bit too much without enough information.  Moving forward….

Galen is…Galen is…okay, he’s a Prince who despite his monitoring of the human world, doesn’t really know a thing about how they work, feelings or otherwise.  To make it worse, he’s trying to balance his life under the sea with the world at his fin…I mean feet and the girl he may have just fallen for…HARD.  With a language barrier to break (sifting is to dating as mating is to….), a mystery to solve (just who IS Emma?), and high school to conquer, he really didn’t need something else to muddle his brain like “the pull”.  Remember I mentioned that Syrena can sense each other in the water?  Yeah, well it seems Galen can sense Emma OUT of the water as well and that magnetism is going to lead to some compromising situations. *wink wink*  Don’t worry, it doesn’t get too scandalous…but when you consider to whom she is promised if her heritage is proven….well, I’ll just let you bask in the glow of their infatuation and discover that issue on your own.

Rounding out our group is Rayna, Galen’s younger sister and Toraf, Galen’s best friend, big time tracker, and Rayna’s betrothed….not that it was her choice mind you, though to see them interact is so much more human than they realize (LOL)….and Rachel.  Rayna tries, but I never really felt comfortable with her character.  I think she’s always going to hold a grudge against Emma for whatever reason she chooses.  Toraf on the other hand, he’s a good guy…even if a bit dense at times.  They are an interesting pair and despite their feelings about Emma and/or Galen, rally when needed (or commanded) as the case may be.  Rachel is Galen’s assistant with a shady past (I think she’s suppose to be dead if some people had had their way… *-*), but my goodness can she get the job done!  Give her a task and it’ll be done in no time flat from securing a house several states away to getting a worried mother to agree to an away trip for her daughter with her new boyfriend to visit his sick grandmother.  Yeah, she’s cunning…just don’t get on her bad side.  All in all, a great cast of characters and one that I’m curious to explore further with the next installment.  Now for a few other things to note…

There were two other aspects of the book I wanted to mention briefly.  First, I found the setting to be really enchanting, it definitely helped to connected me with the story.  If you’ve ever read a book about somewhere you’ve been or lived…you know that connection I mean; its that little something extra that hooks you into the story because you can actually visualize the exact location they are in or perhaps even stood in that same spot.  That’s one of the cool points when it’s of work of fiction/fantasy set in the here and now.  The second item was a bit of a downer.  The histories of the two clans, families, groups, Syrenians I suppose…were a bit confusing to me.  It sorts its way out by book’s end with their visit to the archives and Galen’s solo visit to further understand Emma’s heritage or lack thereof, but for a good portion of the story I was left questioning the “of Poseidon” aspect.  What exactly did it mean to be “of Poseidon”?  You could simply talk to fish?  You were direct offspring or related somewhere down the line?  It was a bit befuddling but I think I’ve got my sea legs under me now with a clearer head.

In the end, it’s a story about discovering who we really are for better or worse and deciding what we’re going to do with it all...with a little romance along the way.  Life throws us a myriad of things, but it’s up to us if we catch them and run with it, or toss them aside and seek calmer waters.  Emma’s world is changed forever, but what that change means for her exactly remains to be seen.  All I know is that book 2 is definitely on my wish list…especially with an ending like that!  What were they doing?  How did they do it?  WHY did they do it? So many questions…and so much time until they are answered (no set time on the sequel as of this post).  Join me in my quandary? 

ARC for review courtesy of Ksenia at MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their completely fabulous catalog of bookish wonders, feel free to visit them online, check out their blog, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about author Anna Banks, be sure to stop by her blog, or follow her on Twitter.  This book was released May of this year from Feiwel and Friends and should be available on a bookstore shelf near you.  Recommended read for teens and beyond!

Until next time…happy reading!

                     

7 comments:

V (BookBorne) said...

Sounds interesting. Mermaids don't really turn my crank, but I might just have to check this out.

....Petty Witter said...

Seems to be one of those love it or hate it reads as I've read lots of good reviews and lots of not so good ones in equal measure.

Anna said...

So this mermaid thing is really happening huh? I don't think I'm really feeling it, but I'll read one or two before I decide. Thanks for the review :)

kimbacaffeinate said...

Awesome review,I thought the setting was enchanting too and will definitely read book two!

Melanie said...

I don't usually like reading about mermaids but your review makes me happy I got myself a copy today. :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

I do really like the sounds of this one. I want to get it one of these days. :) Thank yoU!

GMR said...

V (BookBorne): It's a different take than I've seen previously....

Petty Witter: Hmm...interesting...

Anna: Good call. ^_^

kimbacaffeinate: Awesome! *high five*

Melanie: Alright! Can't wait to hear what you think!

Melissa: Sounds like a plan.

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