29 Nov 2014
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Futuristic Fantasy/Mythos
Format reviewed: hardcover first edition
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.
Maybe I'm just super used to series, but everything seemed to be solved pretty quickly. The beginning of the book felt slow to me, but about halfway through it picked up enough that I didn't want to put it down. Had I not been curious as to what exactly was up with Rio's aunt and fellow siren Maire, I might have given up. In the end, I am glad I didn't, because it was a nice story that was enjoyable overall. The writing was good, the characters believable and human, and the romance honest.
In truth, if this book were longer or there were more books, I think I would have enjoyed it more than I did (although that is not to say I did not enjoy Atlantia). I'd have loved more of a chance at world-building, to see more of the Above and how exactly it functioned, and to see how the Below restored itself and how the people Below reacted to everything going on Above and with the sirens. Also the disease many characters had been infected with, Water Lung, I was interested in learning more about. I just wanted more. But not bad for the stand-alone that it was. I'm glad a friend read it before I did and told me it was a stand-alone, because like her I would have expected more than just the one book and would have enjoyed it less. It all does sort of seem to end abruptly, and if you are not expecting it to end when those pages run out, you will be left confused - not being it does not tie up the loose ends, but because it was not what you expected.
What I really liked about Atlantia was Rio's character. She was so human and believable that it made her character and her romance fun to read. I don't want to spoil much for anyone who has not read this yet, but I do like how Rio focused more on what she wanted, and on finding out why her sister went Above, than on her love interest. She was willing to set him aside if need be, to give him up for the bigger picture, which is lacking in many YA (and let's be honest, many books with romance) reads. Not that I want more characters to give up their love interests, but there are times when characters put their new romances in front of things that are more important that make me question the character's sanity - haha. But I do like a little romance in my reads. I loved how understandably selfish she was, but yet selfless at the same time. She was human, she was likeable, and she was honest.
The siren lore was interesting, especially to me, for I'm a big fan of mythology (and writing a siren novel myself). Atlantia was a fun tie-in of multiple genres, those being mythological, fantasy, a little sci-fi, and futuristic. If you are a fan of any or more of those and love stand-alones, I recommend giving Atlantia a shot. If you've read Ally Condie's Matched series, this is quite a different tale. And if you find yourself getting bored, I do suggest sticking it out, as the story does pick up eventually and you get most of the answers to the questions raised earlier, making up for the earlier lull. Everything all unfolds rather quickly towards the end.
Overall, I enjoyed Atlantia. As a stand-alone novel, it was pretty good. I myself would have loved a two or three book series to allow for more world-building and to get to know secondary characters better, but Ally Condie made the story work in a satisfying way in the near three hundred pages. For anyone sick of trilogies and looking for a stand-alone that is not contemporary, Atlantia would make a good choice. This is definitely one you want to pick up knowing it is a lone book to avoid disappointment, and one you want to give a chance past the halfway point.
Atlantia was published October 28, 2014
Check out Atlantia on Goodreads