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Atlantia by Ally Condie ARC {4 Stars}

Atlantia by Ally Condie is a standalone that mixes a post-apocalyptic future Earth with magic and a strong environmentalism message. Atlantia is not, as I first thought, a mermaid book, but instead takes place deep under the ocean in a habitat humans constructed when the air pollution on land became too toxic. There is also magic in Atlantia though in the form of several miracles that appeared after the humans moved into Atlantia, including people being born with the ability to force others to obey with just the sound of their voice. Beyond all the cool world-building though, Atlantia is the story of a young girl dealing with the loss of her family and trying to understand who she is without the help of her twin sister.

Note: I borrowed an advanced copy of Atlantia. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Atlantia by Ally Condie ARC {4 Stars}

Atlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.

4 Stars


  • I’m really liking this trend of authors mixing elements of sci-fi and fantasy together in order to build worlds that are unique and intriguing. Atlantia at first comes off as very much a sci-fi story because of the setting and emphasis on technology to overcome humanity’s problems, however Atlantia still managed to bring in a whimsical beauty with bits of magic here and there.
  • The romance in Atlantia is pretty darn adorable and a great example of how to develop a romance in a short book while still making it realistic. Rio doesn’t instantly fall for the male lead and instead slowly realizes what her feelings really mean. I just wanted to hug her and giggle and braid her hair when things finally got figured out between them ;-).
  • Atlantia really focuses in on familial bonds between women in a family  despite much of Rio’s family being gone. The entire plot of Atlantia is motivated by Rio’s deep sense of obligation to both her sister and her mother and the bonds demonstrated in flashbacks and memories made it clear why Rio felt so strongly. If you’re a fan of sisterly bond books, definitely grab Atlantia :).
  • There are a couple of strong messages that come out in the telling of Atlantia and they are environmentalism and the importance of not fearing the Other just for being different. Using story-telling to demonstrate the importance behind an idea is one of my favorite things about sci-fi, so I’m happy to see that element being incorporated into more YA sci-fi.
  • Atlantia is a standalone! Praise the publishing gods!!! I love a good trilogy as much as the next addicted reader, but it was really nice to burn through Atlantia and then feel a nice sense of satisfaction.


  • The writing of Atlantia ended up being a bit simplistic for me. I mostly didn’t mind it until I realized that I had very little idea what Atlantia looked like or what the people Rio was talking to looked like. There was so little description that I found myself struggling to make a mental image despite there being pretty metallic trees to imagine!
  • While I like messages being incorporated to make a point, Atlantia started to verge on preachy when Rio was discusses how horrible Above was because of human pollution, etc etc etc.
  • I have enough questions still at the end of Atlantia (significant questions that I really expected to have been answered) that I’m wondering if a sequel is planned. I’m not a reader who really appreciates any sort of mystery being left by the end of a book, so at the end of Atlantia I was sorely tempted to start making up answers for myself >.>.


Atlantia is a fast and intriguing sci-fi/fantasy hybrid. It is definitely not a mermaid book, but instead is a new spin on a story under the sea. Atlantia’s strength was really in the character relationships that develop and strengthen as Rio grows into her own skin, though discovering the mysteries hidden in the secret places of an underwater city is pretty fun too!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Atlantia by Ally Condie

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I thought it was a mermaid book too, but super powers even better! I love the mix of fantasy and scifi! This sounds so good with the world building and the romance. I’m worried about the preachy-ness though. I thought her matched series was good, I wanted more action of course, but for not being a romance lover I surprisingly liked it. Now I just have to get my hands on a copy of this book!
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    • It’s so funny how all of us thought that it was a mermaid book ;-). The preachyness though is about environmentalism, so it is mostly just “the world above is going to get messed up with pollution etc” ya know?

  2. I have this book and really need to get to reading it. Thanks for the review. I have yet to read other Condie books so I am not sure what to expect of the writing at all. I too thought it was a mermaid book- oh well, hoping it is better than a mermaid book :)
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    • Yeah, as long as you don’t mind having to make up details to imagine in your mind, the writing shouldn’t bother you too much hopefully ;-)

  3. Have you read the Matched Series? (I haven’t). If you have, does this book seem similar to it at all? Anyways, I won Atlantia in a giveaway, and I’m excited to start it! Though, I don’t know about the simplistic writing. I like descriptive writing. But I’m sure it will be a good read for me!
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    • I haven’t, so I can’t compare at all. I do get the impression that the tone is different though since the Matched books are dystopian + romance/love triangle and Atlantia is definitely not like that at all. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Adelynne Chang says:

    Wow! This got a better review than I expected. A lot of readers have been giving this bad reviews but it’s cool that you liked it. Now I really want to read it! :D It seems like it’ll be a good book about relationships between the characters. I wonder if there is a sequel too… but it doesn’t seem like there will be one.

    • I apparently have been missing those reviews, but I suspect it might be because it is different than we expected? I’m pretty sure it’s a standalone at this point though I wish it wasn’t, gah!

  5. I thought Atlanta was a mermaid book. I am more excited that it’s not, since this plot sounds even better. I like this trend of mixing fantasy and sf too. It makes some interesting settings. And I like that it’s a standalone. I might give it a go. :)
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  6. Oooohhhh nice review!! I thought this was going to be a mermaid book as well but soon learned otherwise! Still can’t wait to read it because it still sounds fascinating! Again, great review!
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  7. This sounds really interesting! A fantasy / science fiction hybrid that takes place in the ocean. And I love the ocean, too. I may have to check this out at some point…

    Anya, you have no idea how much I blame you for expanding my book wishlist like crazy. :p ;)
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  8. I just wanted to hug her and giggle and braid her hair…

    Woman, sometimes you scare me… I have a mental picture of this that keeps popping into my head and I’m getting nothing done for giggling :)
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