Google+ Reading Teen: ATLANTIA by Ally Condie {Review}

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ATLANTIA by Ally Condie {Review}

Review by Elisa

by Ally Condie
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (October 28, 2014)
Goodreads | Amazon
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—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 corrupted 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.

The Overview:

Unfortunately, I don’t really have too much to say about Atlantia. It happened. It happened slowly. Although I just read it, I don’t really remember it well. Though, thankfully after such a slow start, at page 158 (or the like) it surprisingly got interesting. Then the story finally happened, peaked, and wrapped itself up nice and well.

The Style:

I actually specifically wanted to read this book because I find Ally Condie’s writing style really unique but I can’t decide if I like it or not. It has a dragging, introspective and poetical quality to it. It drones while simultaneously weaving a creative story.

In her renown Matched series, I liked the storyline of the first book, was engaged by the second, Crossed, but promptly decided Reached was the most boring book ever (I was horrified I when I found another audio CD weeks after being done--I actually thought I had finished it and then had to sit through another hour or two of blah).


But the idea of an Ally Condie story underwater intrigued me enough to bite this apple and try again. But there were no mermaids, or Nemo’s or sharks. Instead Atlantia was a dystopian world with a dab of fantastical creatures--miraculous blue temple bats and the sirens (a select group of people who’d evolved to be able control others’ actions with words).

I am pretty sure I don’t want to live in Atlantia, but it sure was creative to invent a “breathing” underwater world. Different from other dystopians (besides it being underwater) was that it was very religiously controlled, with the government and society tied to the Temple. I wasn’t in love with the world, but it wasn’t bad.

The Characters:

Most of the first part of the book is Rio’s personal character development. She is left behind in the Below with her grief, after her dad’s long-ago premature death, her mom’s recent murder, and her twin sister’s choice. She has a secret special skill, which is rather important. But what we see is a problem-solving, daylight-longing, hearted-broken girl--brave but pretty self-focused.

Rio bothers me because she is annoyingly reckless in her attempts to go Above, and relatively ignores more important things, like the cute guy in her life and her mysterious aunt.  But hey, she is grieving and figuring out her mystery. Those are my only complaints about her though.

The one other interesting character Rio’s aunt Marie, a powerful siren. I couldn’t decide whether she was good or bad, so I wanted Rio to pursue her a little bit more so I could figure Marie out. But, considering there was no trust between them, it took the whole book before I could make a judgement call on Aunt Marie. She added a smidgen of spice to this beautifully written but mostly meh book.

Relationships & Romance:

But the boy, True, seems like he might be cool. He is cute, inventive, attentive, wanting to connect with Rio, and really, really nice. But honestly, although he was a prominent character, I felt indifferent towards him. I didn’t get to know him, I didn’t fall in love with him, instead considering him more like a loyal dog.

In other words, this did not satisfy the lover in me at all. Instead of this book being a romance, it was more of a dystopian mystery that had to be sorted through, with a nice guy side-character to fall back on, probably to just tie a bow on it (and put some character for Rio to interact with, because we’d get sick of her forever lonely internal narrations).

The Best Part:

I would have never finished this story except after page 160, I started to wonder what more was going on under the surface (no pun intended). Finally (finally!) my interest was peaked and a greater plot appeared: Where did the siren’s come from? What are True’s and the new Minister's secrets? Is Atlantia trying to whisper something to Rio? What is happening Above? Can Rio actually use her giftings to help others beyond herself?

I actually really enjoyed the end--partially just because I wasn’t bored anymore. But also because I had no clue how it would wrap-up. For all I knew, Condie could have killed everyone off and I wouldn't be totally surprised. As this was my favorite part of the book--the last 1/3rd or so, I really shouldn’t say more or else I would spoil the best part! No more descriptions for you!

Actually, in summation, I think we should just cut-off the first half of the book and transform this into a short story. Sometimes the character development and world-building that unfolds at the beginning is essential to the plot, but honestly in this case it wasn’t at all. Like I said, I can’t even remember it.

Considering, I can’t give this a high review. If you might like this style of storytelling and you like mystery and dystopian--sure, try it out. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and skip Alantia, especially if you are looking for excitement and romance. 

Sexuality- Minor
Language- Minor
Violence - Minor
(Obviously, a clean read is the other thing going for this book!)

Ethereally and unequivocally penned by Elisa (@AverageAdvocate) at
Inspiring the average American to change the world

1 comment:

  1. I really liked Atlantia too, I'm hoping for another book or at least a short story, the ending was kind of open for me.


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