I received this book from the AudioSync program.

First, there was a struggle. I accidentally downloaded this audio using the Windows 8 Overdrive app instead of the desktop app. This meant that I could only listen to it on my computer, and not transfer it to a device (I also could not download it or open it again).  So, I needed to listen to this while within range of my laptop an/or cordless headphones. This is a combination that lends itself well to washing floors and deep cleaning a kitchen before a party.  In truth, I listened to 97% of this book in two days, while making my kitchen sparkle and shine, and consequently moving everything around so that Husband can no longer find any items in the kitchen. It took a couple weeks to get back to it (party, family visits, ALA, sick), but I finished it up while starting on the spare room.

I was a little unsure as I started the book.  Two girls on vacation in Florida, the clumsy friend literally runs into the merman in human form, he’s intrigued but she seems embarrassed/not interested.  And then it slowly drew me in and I kept cleaning to hear more.  This felt like a new take on the whole concept. There are two factions of merpeople. Galen is a prince of one, though not the prince who will become king. Emma is a human, or so it seems. The first in a series, this book sets up a lot of the mythology and the characters.

I read quite a few reviews that had several problems with this book. Honestly, I didn’t notice most of them while listening, but after reading the reviews, I recognize where they are coming from.

Problem the first: Emma’s best friend, Chloe, is too stereotypically black. She has a weave and fake nails. I’m not sure if this was intended to be a black stereotype or a Jersey stereotype, but I can see how that would be an issue either way, especially with the lack of diversity found in a lot of YA. We don’t really get to know Chloe well enough to see if these are facets of a richer personality. This is a problem because the human diversity in this book seems to start and stop with Chloe.

Problem the second: Galen is a typical YA male who is absolutely stunning and who all the girls want. He is also a prince. This makes him very entitled and a perfect jackass. Along with this is the general idea in his culture that females are for creating off-spring and nothing more. In the book, when Galen describes looking for a mate, the goal is to find someone that you could enjoy spending your life with and that would produce good offspring. I personally think it says a lot about the reader when they focus on only the second part of that statement. And really, what is marriage/mating supposed to be about if not finding an enjoyable life partner who will aid you in producing/raising good offspring? Now, there is the problem of one of the female characters being joined with a male in a ceremony that she was not present for. However, this is common in royal families in fiction and in history. Also, there is nothing to say that this is a normal occurrence, or one that would be considered in any other circumstance. The problem is that we are seeing the merperson culture only from Galen and Emma’s POV. Even Galen’s sister is seen through those two perspectives. I like the story enough to continue to the second book. I would love to see some of these issues addressed later in the story, but it not, I still find it an entertaining book. The world is not perfect, and while we should be able to escape some of that in fiction, art imitates life. These are real issues in many places in the world, and this book could actually provide a great vehicle for discussion with young women about they way they deserve to be treated.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book (as my kitchen can attest to!) The characters were interesting, if not always likable. (A book with only likable characters would get boring very fast.) The book had enough twists at the end to make me want to read the second book. I actually liked that when the POV changed, it went from first person (Emma) to third person (Galen), because I always knew whose POV it was. The one thing that kept drawing me out of the book’s world and back to reality was that Emma did not speak with the same New Jersey accent as the other characters who were native to NJ (Emma’s mom, Galen’s assistant).

Title: Of Poseidon
Series: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Narrator: Rebecca Gibe
Time: 9 hrs 32 mins
Age level: YA
Illustrated: No
What I was doing while listening: Cleaning my kitchen
Setting: Contemporary Florida, NJ, ocean
Favorite Character: This is a tough one, but I think I am going to say Rayna
Favorite Moment: Galen takes Emma underwater to a shipwreck (a famous one). Together, they explore what is left. I really like that the scene includes a bit of sadness as Emma realizes all the lives lost, but also lots of magicness.