In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.
As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?
I tried to swear off mermaid books as they left me with lukewarm feelings last year, but once I start a series, I almost always read the sequel. I like Emma and Galen a lot more than I like Calder and Lily, plus there’s Toraf and Rayna added to the mix, so I actually enjoyed this one. It’s a quick read at 250 pages, and I enjoyed pretty much all of it. I really liked how quickly the “Nalia thinks Grom is dead” thing is resolved. I really didn’t want to read alternating Galen/Emma chapters in which Galen chases Nalia all over the US. Emma acts like a brat for awhile, but I don’t really blame her. Everything she knew is being revealed as false: her parents’ relationship, her mother’s name and age, things like that. So she’s having a hard time reconciling not only that, but also the fact that her mother now wants to return undersea. There are two storylines: Nalia, Grom, and Galen returning undersea, and Rachel, Emma, and Rayna staying safe on land.
No matter how much Nalia wants to return, however, the Archives do not offer her a warm welcome, and refuse to accept who she is. The Archives are jerks, basically, bribed to say Nalia isn’t Nalia so that Grom must stay mated to Paca, daughter of maliciously ambitious Jagen. Galen is starting to freak out, as Toraf has turned into a different person overnight, and Galen suspects Grom and the Poseidon king want to use Emma to prove Nalia’s identity. The Syrena Royals are forced to endure a farce of a trial, and it’s very frustrating to watch unfold. It’s never fun when the villains have the upper hand. I love Toraf though. He made a lot of the book for me. Not only is he amusing, he’s also a very good actor. I also really loved Rayna in this one. She annoyed me in the first book, but she’s a real friend to Emma, and Rayna is also a badass.
Emma goesoff on a trip to see Dr. Milligan with Rachel and Rayna, and I want to answer a question Emma asks in chapter 11: yes, you can indeed get hungover from champagne. Trust me. It’s just fizzy wine, and wine creates the mother of all headaches if you’re not careful. There, that was my Old Tina Talks to the Kids moment for the day. I love and hate Emma at equal intervals. Maybe “hate” is too strong, but her reactions annoyed me, even though I understood where she was coming from. Pull it together, Emma! You’re a freaking mermaid! It doesn’t matter though. Her mother is someone she doesn’t recognize and her father has only been dead a few years. It’s a lot to take in.
There’s a teensy bit of body-shaming in a later chapter, about 2/3 of the way in. It’s just a passing reference to “people who shouldn’t be scantily clad,” but it stuck out enough that I remembered it. I liked this one anyway, maybe even more than I liked the first book. The Syrena politics are complicated and interesting, and I love a good coup. Emma was a little bratty and did things impulsively, but she at least had a sense of self, a sense of the world beyond Galen and the Syrena. Syrena law has been the same for so long, and they need some amendments. It was cool to see how their society worked. This is a pretty solid novel, and if you liked the first one, you’re almost sure to like this one too.