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
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.
- 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!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Atlantia by Ally Condie
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