Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
So, I’m probably not the first reviewer to say this, but I was expecting something a little more Little Mermaid and a little less dystopia. I am a fan of Condie’s early dystopia trilogy and I was kind of looking forward to a more fantasy/fairytale-esque book. And I’m not even totally sure why that was what I expected. The summary doesn’t quite scream Little Mermaid. Maybe it’s the whole wanting to live above, “Wish I could be part your world” connection I was making, but that’s kind of where the comparison ends.
Like with her other books, Condie’s writing style is very poetic. I can totally see why she has people drooling over her writing and why she has also has people not liking it. You either like it or you don’t; I don’t see many in-betweens. I happen to be one of the readers who loves it. The way she writes about this world is mesmerizing. She legit had me seeing the surreal underwater city. From the races to the black market, to the strange/mythological temple, I saw it all. This is definitely a book for those who like their world-building. Condie nailed this.
It was also slightly a twin story. And you know I love those. But more than that, what it really was, was a story of escape. There was the whole, typical dystopia theme of realizing that everything you thought you knew was most likely a lie. And there’s a lot about learning who to trust, what to believe, and doing what you need to do to survive. I found the siren aspect to be different. I liked that the sirens were both powerful and submissive. I liked how strong the ladies of this world are (even the ones who seem to be incarcerated).
There was a little bit of romance, and I liked it. The love interest (for the first time in a long time) was not a jerk! He was super nice and worked with machines, but was also an artist. All the scenes that took place with the romantic interest helping the main character with the races and the extreme sports type scenarios was just so much fun to read about. I liked the role seashells played in the story. And I also liked all the twists and turns the author kept throwing in.
I think the book is a standalone too (so yay!). It wasn’t perfect. It did read a little bit slowly and it did take me a week to read (though, it was also during the week I was finishing up with NaNoWriMo, which I’m finished with now!). But still, it was a bit descriptive heavy for YA. And I can see not everyone being into this. I did enjoy it though.
I also think the main character could have been a little bit more interesting. She was smart and strong and willing to do whatever it took to go above and find her sister again. But, I never really loved her like I do other characters. And I really wanted to love her.
All in all, the writing was beautiful, and the world-building top-notch. It was descriptive heavy and a little slow at times.  But, the twists and turns, and classic dystopian elements mostly made up for this. I do wish I felt more for the main character, but I’m not really 100% sure why I felt such a disconnect; I just did. I give it an 8/10.

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