Author: Anna Banks
Release: May 22nd 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mermaids, YA
#1 in the Syrena Legacy trilogy
Sequels: Of Triton (#2), Of Neptune (#3)
Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom...
Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.
Aw man, dude. I'm still not sure what to make of this book exactly. It's kind of the same issue I had with the apricots this morning, I usually like apricots, but these ones just seemed to taste so weird. And even despite this, I kept on eating them even though I wasn't really enjoying the taste of them.
The thing that was the real deal breaker was the romance. I expected this, and I think me going into this knowing the romance was going to be horrible saved this from being a total no-go. Because I was sorta prepared for the awfulness, I can safely say that I still got away relatively harmless. Like, it was terrible, yes, but I have seen worse, so ... I don't know. I didn't even think Emma and Galen's relationship was THAT bad up until the last fifty pages, because that's when their relationship took a nosedive into "Oh no you didn't." Why you ask?
"He searches through his mind (...) [f]or a docile female who would be honored to mate with a Triton prince (...) who would take care of him, who would do whatever he asked, who would never argue with him."
What? WHAT? JESUS CHRIST WHAT A HUGE FUCKING DICKBAG. Alright, so he basically wants a ninny with no brains who never disagrees with him ever and only does whatever Galen asks of her? Sure. It even seems like he found the one:
"But I'm not in danger of becoming 'that girl.' (...) The one who sacrifices everything she wants in order to make his dreams come true, to make him happy. (...) If that kiss were real, I might have thrown scholarships to the wind and followed him to our own private island or his underwater kingdom. (...)'The one thing you might not be able to live without.'Well, that's a no-brainer. It's Galen, hands-down."
No. No no no no no no! Ugh. Why even? There's a scene shortly after this, where Rayna wants to paint her nails a color she likes and both Rachel and Emma are like "Uh, no, that's sooo not your color!" and then they suggest she paint her nails her boyfriend's favorite color. Her reaction is to be flabbergasted, because why would she paint her nails her boyfriend's fucking favorite color if she's painting them for herself, not for him, and rightly so. This book is a fucking disgrace to feminists everywhere and I am speechless at how Banks really just did such a 180 into Mysogynisteria towards the end of her novel.
Other than that, most of the relationships were very unbelievable and felt very detached and unemotional. I only ever came close to liking the tentative friendship between Emma and Rayna, because I am all for kickass girl partnerships, but even that was slightly questionable because Emma seems to move on from her best friend dying pretty seamlessly. It's a traumatic event that happens during the freaking novel, yet it has close to none lasting damage. It's the motivator for some of Emma's actions, and is brought up once or twice to make Emma appear pitiable, but all in all, it never bothered Emma that much, it seemed.
Which brings me to my next point, characters. They were all irritating, really fucking irritating and frustrating. I swear to God if I have to count Mississippi's with Emma one more time in order for her to calm down, I am going to tear someone's throat out. I like having little quirks, some trademark signature to mark a character as an individual and to make him or her more memorable, but that, coupled with her CONSTANTLY being like "Ohmysweetgoodness!" just made her sound like she was eight instead of eighteen. Seriously, what the hell? The other characters were just mostly unrealistic, in both their actions and their attitudes, except maybe for Toraf, although he only plays the minor-est of roles. I was counting on some kind of weird behavior, I was getting ready to cut them all some slack since, hey, how are they supposed to know better, they're basically dry fish on land, eh? But no, they allow themselves so many faux pas' it's impossible to turn a blind eye to.
The only thing that really saved this book and made it more than the reality TV level of entertaining was really the whole world building and plot itself. There were some "twists" in there, especially the one at the end was great, that made me want to read on and managed to keep my interest. The concept itself isn't the most original, but I do believe it's hard to be creative when it comes to mermaids because it's all been done before. So, bearing that in mind, I did like the set-up a lot, even if everything else wasn't very attention grabbing.
I've heard the world is delved into deeper in the sequel, so I'm definitely going to read that and I'm really excited to see where this is gonna go. It could be either that Of Triton is much better and I'm going to end up liking the series after all, or it could be that I'll end up hating everything and anything about it after I'm done. It depends, I guess, so ... we'll see.