Atlantia by Ally Condie
Published Dutton 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
One of the first things that sticks out to me when reading a book is tone. I love books that have an underlying feeling – maybe it’s creepy, sad, haunting, positive, uplifting. It’s something that not all authors can do well, but when it works, it shoots the book right up to the top of my stacks. That’s what Ally Condie did best in Matched and then she did it again with this book.
I loved the world building. Creepy, mysterious, and really enchanting.
You know that scene in The Little Mermaid when we are in Ursula’s cave? There’s something so enchanting about that moment, while it’s also really creepy. That was the first comparison I thought of when describing the mood of this book. Atlantia is an underwater city that lives off its relation with the people above ground. One of the first nuances of this relationship is within the first chapter, as we watch the young teenagers pick between the two, chanting a creepy oath about the differences between the two options. It shows the community of Atlantia – the good and the bad.
I liked the way the whole world came together. How Atlantia was established, the mysteries of the city, and the people who lived there. They have a very interesting religion that believes in all these miracles, one of them being the sirens. I’ve always liked the Greek concept of sirens, so I enjoyed seeing them here. The way they were portrayed was very haunting and creepy, but in a fascinating way. I wanted to keep learning more about the world, the sirens, and Atlantia.
While the world carries the book, Rio isn’t so bad either.
Just to say, I loved the way these characters were named. They all have some kind of water reference, like Rio and her sister, Bay. Anyway, the familial relationships were so on point in this book. Rio and Bay have a great sisterhood and while we don’t see them together too much, I liked the flashbacks as Rio considers her life with Bay. There is also her aunt, who may or may not be a villain. It’s very interesting as we learn more about their family history to learn more about the mystery passed from generation to generation.
Among all of this, there was a really sweet romance, a super climatic ending, and a really fun cast of characters. I loved the idea of the book and the world building pulled the whole concept with. And it left me questioning where I would want to live – Atlantia or aboveground?