Anthropologists from the future will trace the cultural obsessions of the early twenty first century United States and its corporate hegemony thusly: Wizards -> Vampires -> Dystopias -> Mermaids! I first encountered Anna Banks’s Syrena Legacy while casting about for a break from grim fiction, grim nonfiction, and dry nonfiction. I tend to read about three books at once. Sometimes it’s wonderful. Other times it’s a bear trap.
Enter The Fierce Reads Anthology: a collection of short stories by female YA authors supplemented by opening chapters from their novels. It had been lurking in my Kindle library among the other anthologies offered for free by Tor.com for quite awhile. I figured it might be a good way to lighten the mood while I was stuck in the bear trap.
I figured correctly. All of the stories were enjoyable, but there was something compelling about “Legacy Lost.” The opening chapters of Of Poseidon were slower paced, but still intriguing. The blurb is forbidding.
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…
But it, ahem, rises above the ad copy as the kind of page turning what-happens-next adventure that the best YA delivers. There’s mystery, romance, ancient history, uncertain future, and personality. This isn’t Leslie Marmon Silko or Salman Rushdie, but it’s the kind of thing that makes for great summer movies. An, y’know, it can’t hurt to have those set on the beach. Apparently some Hollywood big shots agree:
The project is being produced by Mad Hatter topper Michael Connolly, whose production credits include both “How to Train Your Dragon” movies and the second season of Netflix series “Hemlock Grove,” which airs on July 11.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Anna on this project,” said Connolly. “There is a great deal of fascination about mermaids and they have become the next big thing in the YA world. The ‘Syrena Legacy’ is far and away the best and most interesting series in the sub-genre as it combines the mysticism of the undersea world with a red-hot Shakespearean romance.” – Variety