Publisher: Penguin Canada
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Genres: Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 wasn’t the hugest fan of Condie’s matched series, so I was a little dubious with Atlantia. However, I must now admit: I was really impressed and taken aback by how much I really enjoyed Atlantia.
One of the best parts of Atlantia was the world building. I thought it was very well explained and coupled with Condie’s beautiful prose it just flowed naturally. You get descriptions of both the ‘Above’ and the ‘Below.’ I felt as if by the end of the story I had a crystal clear picture of both of the worlds described. I felt as if both were explored in a way that wasn’t overwhelming but more balanced. As the story continues you get to discover more about both worlds and learn some secrets about them. The setting stood out from unique from others in YA and I particularly enjoyed reading about the ‘Below’ as you got to see a underwater universe unfold. The political aspects of both worlds also made sense along with the societal norms. It was fascinating to see how Condie interwove these political tensions along with the history of the sirens and the council.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed was how important the sister relationship was to the storyline. In Atlantia you get to see a sibling relationship and I think the way it was handled was quite realistic and full of emotions. When the two separate it becomes the source of confusion, hurt and really a jumble of emotions for our main character. Throughout these confusing emotions it’s clear that Rio still loves her sister and this was reinforced throughout the story. In YA sometimes the romantic relationship tends to take center stage so I was glad to see that even with romance later in the story, the relationship between Bay and Rio is what is seen as the most important.
Speaking of the main character, Bay, she and I had a interesting love/hate relationship. There were some aspects I admired about her and others that annoyed me. I loved how determined she was in the face of all of her struggles. She was vulnerable and quite emotional which made sense considering her plight. I couldn’t really truly connect with Bay though. Yes, I could definitely sympathize with her yet I couldn’t completely understand or relate. There were times where Bay ignored clear dangers and I couldn’t help but be annoyed by some of her attempts to get to her sister when they would obviously would fail or were even dangerous. Rio did go through some character growth in the later parts of the book which was nice to see. I always enjoy having a character with a limited viewpoint on the world have their eyes opened by the true nature of things.
There was romance in this, but I definitely don’t think it took over the plot. I’m going to say something I don’t usually say: I think there could have been more romance. Hah, that’s odd for me to say. Nevertheless, the romance included was quite well developed and done so in a nice slow burn way. I really enjoyed the love interest and believe there’s so much more unexplored potential in him. I feel like more focus on the love interest would have benefited the story, just because there were times I wished the love interest was the main character. He reached Rio’s character growth from the very first pages and I easily loved him. He cared for others and not only himself, which the same can’t be said for Rio at some points. The love interest also held secrets of his own which I felt was interesting.
An issue I had was the pacing. Though Condie’s writing is beautiful, there was times where I felt it wasn’t describing anything. For the longest time you see Rio grieve which is understandable given the circumstances. However, I would have liked to see some sort of plot development even if with side characters. It was like the entire world just stopped while Rio just had a emotional crises for like 80 pages. I feel like more action could have happened in this period.
Atlantia was still a read I’d recommend though. If you’re looking for a more unique dystopian with great world-building, political intricacy , beautiful prose and a great sister relationship then Atlantia may be up your alley.
~Thank you Penguin Canada for the review copy~
Thanks to the lovely people at Penguin Canada we have an physical ARC of Atlantia to give to our lucky winner. This giveaway is only open to residents of the USA/Canada. Good luck lovelies! <33
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