Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. (Goodreads summary.)
|When I realised it wasn't about mermaids.|
Ally Condie's Matched series is one that I really enjoyed, although I know it's a series that divides opinion. I saw that Atlantia was by Ally Condie and I knew that I wanted to read it, I didn't really care what it was about. Her writing style is one that really works for me and I easily get through one of her books in just a few hours. I enjoyed quite a lot of Atlantia, even if it wasn't what I was expecting but it also had some problems that were really hard to see past.
I hadn't realised that this was a standalone, even for the majority of the story I was certain it was going to be the first book of the series. Once I was almost at the end and realised my mistake, I was actually pretty annoyed with the start of the story and the pacing of it. Not too much happens, a large majority of it is spent seeing Rio training in a pool to swim better so she can escape Atlantia and hopefully swim past the mines and make it to the surface. This takes up a large portion of the book, it's quite slow going in the beginning and I didn't see a ton of character development. But that seemed okay to me, I was assuming it was the beginning of a series and we would get more action near the end of the book and more development in later books. It was pretty disappointing when I realised that wasn't the case.
|The old 'miracle from God' cop out!|
I was also confused because there's a ton of elements to the story that aren't explained all that well. For example, Sirens exist in Atlantia and they appeared after the first generation who came down Below began having children. We never get this explained at all, which always frustrates me when books do that. I wanted some kind of theory as to why people suddenly gave birth to Siren children who can manipulate people to do what they want, using just their voice. The Above and Below are now highly religious though, praying to their animal Gods, and so the Sirens are just seen as a miracle from the Gods. This seriously irked me, it just seemed like a way for the author to not have to explain them at all. The people in Atlantia just accept them as miracles and never question it at all.
I read a lot of dystopians which isn't a bad thing but does mean that you start to see a lot of similarities between books. Atlantia, although so completely different to it in most ways, really reminded me of Divergent at times. Okay, maybe like twice... but still. They have a choosing ceremony once a year, where they must decide whether to go Above or stay Below. This ceremony uses two bowls, one that contains salt water to represent Below and the other with earth to represent the Above. It just really reminded me of the Divergent choosing ceremony where each faction is represented by a bowl of either earth, water, stone, coals or glass. And Bay's choice to suddenly go Above really reminded me of when Caleb chooses to leave Abnegation. Both are seen as being perfect for where they are, and their sibling doesn't really see them as someone who would choose to leave.
|Yes, Rio really does crave to go Above... To a world where|
she'll inevitably die a slow, painful death at a young age.
The ending of this book had all the twists, turns and action that seemed to be lacking for the majority of the story. It made the ending feel rushed, like too much was being crammed into that last 20%. Less time could have been spent on Rio's swimming and more time spent Above. That was it would have paced the story out a bit better, and not felt like everything happens right at the end. My other main issue with the end was how quickly and neatly everything is wrapped up.
I had originally planned to give it a 3.5, but writing my review has made me see that I have a lot of problems with the book. I really did enjoy reading it, I devoured it in a few hours and couldn't put it down. But the pacing of the book is all wrong, especially considering it's a standalone. The lack of character development and a barely there romance are also big negatives for me. I enjoyed the book but it's not one I am going to be rereading. If Atlantia is a book that you're looking forward to reading then I still suggest giving it a go. I don't feel hugely let down by this book, it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting and isn't something I would read more than once.
*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.