This YA debut sees a teenager’s car accident expose her connection to the supposedly mythological Poseidon.
High school senior Callista Ann Sunders and her twin brother, Tad, live on the coast of southern California with their family. Meredith, their mom, is a lawyer, but their father died from a heart attack two years ago. Grandma Anne runs a store called The Broom and Trident and knows that the family has Selkie (sea folk) blood running through it. One day, Anne has a vision and tells Callista: “Don’t drive in the rain today.” Later, as Callista drives to pick up Tad from swim practice, a vehicle forces her truck from the rain-slicked road, through the guardrail, and into the ocean. She struggles to escape the rapidly flooding cabin when a dashing rescuer appears. Callista’s hero is none other than Triton of Greek mythology. He gets her to the hospital, where she lies comatose thanks to the toxic sting of a stonefish. Meanwhile, Tad experiences an elaborate dream that reveals Prince Triton once trysted with Princess Nehalennia, who had been betrothed to his half brother, Proteus. This got Triton banished from Poseidon’s royal family. Triton has now dedicated his life to medicine and plans to keep the bewitching Callista safe even if it means the draining of his own godlike energy. In this fantasy series opener, Sherman (Ocean Depths: A Time, 2017) deftly explores the concepts of healing and transformation—both emotional and literal—by viewing Greek myth through a Twilight-style lens. The author’s own illustrations depict key moments, like Callista’s near death in the truck and Triton and Proteus in merman form, further transporting readers to the shore and beneath the sea. Though Callista spends much of her time convalescing, she does have the presence of mind to ask the mysterious Triton: “Why would someone of your education, age, good looks, and health be interested in me?” Indeed, the answer combines numerous captivating motifs (including mermaid dreams and witchcraft), yet the primary narrative arc—the romance—is paced quite slowly. Readers expecting a strong heroine may flinch at Callista’s dependence on Triton’s healing touch and lavish home. The author also throws down the gauntlet when Triton says: “Life starts from conception for us all.” Fractious events and surprise returns clear the decks for the sequel.
A leisurely plotted fantasy series opener.