For our Supernatural Saturday, we're reviewing Anna Banks' Of Triton. We were left biting our nails after the ending to Of Poseidon last year, so we were thrilled to dive into this book.
(Pun ended, lol.)
Supernatural Saturday is a rotating segment where we discuss books that will appeal to the supernatural or fantasy crowd. This segment rotates with Sci-Fi Saturday and Historical YA Saturday.
Published May 28th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
Format read: Physical copy (owned)
So when May 28th rolled around, and the UPS guy showed up with my copy of Of Triton, I grabbed the package, opened the book and basically devoured the book within two hours.
As a half-breed, Emma would be considered a spectacle in the human world. But even worse, is that in the Syrena realm, Emma would be considered an abomination. Syrena has strict laws against half-breeds, and people like Emma are sentenced to death, on sight.
But as Emma's mother begins to reclaim her place as as the lost princess Nalia, Emma's forced to confront her hesitations and fears head on. She has one opportunity to decide if she'll stay out of the water and keep herself safe, or risk everything to prove herself to a people who may never accept her for who she is.
Things that worked:
Emma was slightly too young/impetuous for me in Of Poseidon, but she's clearly matured between the last book and now. She's more measured, thinks things through and is willing to calculate the risk of an action, before actually doing it.
However, this doesn't mean that she's not willing to put aside all of her reservations whenever her friends and family are in danger. There's one scene in the book where she shows the full force of her gift, and I loved just how in command (and honestly, badass) she seemed in the situation.
Of special note: I really liked Emma's internal debate when trying to accept her mother's relationship with Grom. She's initially resentful and disappointed - especially when Nalia confesses that her feelings for Emma's father wasn't what Emma believed them to be - but she works through it.
I think that Emma's acceptance of Nalia and Grom's relationship is an excellent example for younger readers on how to deal with new people coming into their lives. The maturity that Emma eventually shows in accepting Nalia and Grom, is an excellent example for younger readers to emulate.
* The pacing
Banks throws the reader into the story immediately, by opening the book with Emma being abducted by Nalia.
But even after the abduction is resolved, she makes sure to continue to drop obstacles and plot twists that keep the reader intrigued, enthralled and guessing.
* The writing
I loved Banks's decision to continue with using the alternating POVs between Galen and Emma.
The alternating perspectives not only brought us closer to Emma's feelings and her train-of-thought, but was also wide-spanning enough that we could better understand the dilemmas being faced by the royals, and how Emma and Nalia represented such a threat to their way of life.
In terms of general writing/stylistic choices: Banks definitely continues to grow as a writer, and it's very evident in her writing. The dialogue is fresher and crisper. The descriptions are more vibrant, and everything feels even more tightly-knit than Of Poseidon.
* The mythology/world-building
We delve even further into Syrena mythology in this book, and I loved all of the small details and backstories that Banks thought to add. Her world is a very, very rich one, and I loved it.
Of special note: there's one specific throwaway detail about the Lost General which I'm very intrigued about, and I hope that Banks adds more information about it later on.
* The family.
I loved the fact that there was such a strong sense of family in the book - from Grom and Galen, to Nalia reuniting with her father, to Emma being accepted by her grandfather, to even Rayna and Emma forming new bonds.
All of these relationships, especially the one where Emma and her grandfather become acquainted with each other, just made the book feel very loving and warm. Parents and families tend to make scant appearances in YA books, and I loved the fact that Banks chose to buck the trend by illustrating characters with such rich family ties.
I particularly loved how Galen seemed to integrate seamlessly with Emma's grandfather and mother - working with them to solve the obstacles which arose. To me, this really reinforced the idea that Emma and Galen were partners in their relationship, verses teenagers who are just in lust with one another.
* The ending
The ending was a thing of beauty. It resolved the situation at hand - but not without a few losses for Emma and Galen's side - and put all of the characters in a place where the reader would be satisfied in believing in their happily-ever-after.
However, at the same time, Anna also left enough loose ends for the reader would be intrigued enough to come back for more. It was simplistic, elegant and didn't have any of the shock!endings! that trilogies seem to like to often resort to.
I know I'm definitely going to be back for the third book, and I'm confident that other readers will be too.
Things that didn't work:
(Yes - there's going to be a third book!)
I would highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary stories with a fantasy/paranormal twist, especially for fans of Marissa Meyer, Josephine Angelini and Sarah J. Maas.
For more information on Anna, why not check out her website (and feed her pet fish), or her Twitter account?