This did not go quite as I envisioned.
The blurb doesn’t specifically actually say what the book is about, so I thought it was a mermaid book! Hello?! Water on the cover! THERE WERE NO MERMAIDS. Not that it’s a bad thing. But I just want you, people of the internet, to know that this is not a mermaid book.*
But it does have sirens.
Although the sirens don’t have fins. They’re just normal people who speak and people obey.
The problem is, I feel like I just reread Matched.
The Matched trilogy is Ally Condie’s first series and…Matched and I didn’t have a good relationship. A lot of authors’ writing matures or changes as they go, so I thought, “Hey, there’s a big chance I’ll love Atlantia, so why not give it a go?”
Well? No. It did not go. It sank.**
* I repeated it because it kind of shocked me. NO MERMAIDS?
** Epically lame pun intended.
The narrator’s name is Rio.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I like the name Rio! It’s just…the whole time my head was doing this:
ANYWAY. (Sorry.) Let’s talk about the actual book, right?!
Besides sounding 87% like Matched, Atlantia was very watery. And blue. And ethereal.
I could basically feel the water sloshing around and that is fabulous. The descriptions of the world were perfection. Just think of a giant octopus-structure underwater where people live in like this bubble. Like The City of Ember but…underwater instead of underground.
Then I got bored.
The writing was beautiful and very plain (which I actually like) but it was very repetitious. We’d be told something and then — we’re told it again. And maybe one moooore time! I didn’t mesh with the plot. It all seemed so illogical to me. It had the trimmings of a normal dystopian: choosing day, government conspiracies, random murders, nobody eats or sleeps but are still spritely, aaaand the occasional background info dump.
I was also really really bored.
It’s dystopian, but also paranormal.
There’s sirens and magical seashells and gods. Lots of gods. I do most emphatically NOT like reading books with cults. (Not that the cult was a main focus, but it was pretty big.) THIS IS JUST ME. But I feel like cults are backward and you’d have to be uneducated and misinformed to swallow the wild tales. Why in your right mind would you worship a piece of stone?! I get people who worship cake (at least it does something for you) but a weird gargoyle like rock? I don’t get it.
There’s a heavy “family” influence…which is nice!
Rio (narrator) has a twin sister (Bay) and when it comes to the “hey you’re 16 so you can pick whether you go Above or stay Below” Bay makes Rio swear to stay below. Rio agrees and then Bay (the sneaky little blighter) goes above. Way to go, meanie sister! There’s a reason, but I felt it was incredibly unfounded. It just didn’t make sense. If Bay had communicated with Rio at the beginning: THERE WOULD BE NO STORY.
And Rio felt so like Cassia from Matched. (Who I really didn’t particularly like.) But she has a boy (cue romantic sighs) called True Beck. I LOVE THAT NAME! I loved True. He was really sweet and kind and useless and had no personality but oh so sweet.
I’ve come to the conclusion Ally Condie’s writing is probably not for me.
If you liked Matched, READ THIS BOOK. If you like dystopians with interesting settings, give it a go! I like the style, but I was bored to
a watery grave.
Just know, before you read it:
– It’s not a mermaid story. (I seriously thought it was)
– But there are sirens. Just without fins.
– It’s got Ally Condie’s very specific style.
– True Beck is adorable.
– Everything else is just there. Whatever. True Beck, I tell you.
Thank you Penguin Australia for the ARC! Atlantia by Ally Condie hit shelves on November 6th, 2014.
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.
Cait has this thing about not reading blurbs properly. In fact, she barely ever reads blurbs. She mostly reads books based on a) cover, and b) genre, and c) author’s name. She realises this is an odd method, but whatever, she survives. Currently she’s colour-coding her bookshelf. It’s fabulous. She just finished THIS SHATTERED WORLD and is trying to form a coherent review. Bah ha. Not working.