Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia by Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Hardcover copy traded via YA Book Exchange

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Well, I really wanted to like this one. I tried. I was super excited about this one, despite not really enjoying Matched and Crossed (never read Reached). A novel about an underwater city? Cool! No mermaids? Even better. Sadly, I was disappointed.

Rio has always wanted to go Above - she's lived Below, in an underwater city called Atlantia, for her entire. There is only one way to go Above: you get a choice as a teenager. Rio's twin sister Bay made Rio promise that she wouldn't choose Above, after their mother died. But then, on the choosing day, Bay chooses Above... after Rio chose Below. Rio is determined to be reunited with her Above. As Rio searches for a way out, she discovers secrets and the true history of Atlantia, of Below and Above. 

Like I said, I was really excited to read this book! I didn't get an ARC or eARC, and that was okay. When I finally got the book and started reading, I was intrigued. How dare Bay make Rio promise that she wouldn't choose Above, and then chose it herself?! And a boy also chose Above... suspicious. Poor Rio. Rio was so distraught, so alone. She literally had no one - no father (dead), no mother (dead), no sister (Above).

Rio's aunt, Maire, starts contacting Rio. Maire is a siren - like Rio. But everyone knows that Maire is a siren, whereas no one knows that Rio is one. Maire wants to help Rio go Above, but Rio doesn't trust Maire. Rio begins to uncover secrets about the city, just as the city is curiously falling apart. There has never been a better time to go Above, it seems...

The romance was probably the best thing about this book, honestly. I really like True and Rio together. They meet because True's friend is the boy that went with Bay, Above. True create mechanical fish, and Rio starts buying them to race against them, to make herself a better swimmer. True has secrets of his own, just like Rio does. He has a gentle, quiet nature, which I really liked. I liked the two of them together.

The whole underwater city thing was awesome, honestly. Those two aspects are where the book earned its two stars from me - the romance, and the underwater aspect. It was really unique, because the city is like a bubble underwater, at the bottom of the ocean, with humans living in it (with the exception of a few sirens). I had high hopes for this book... but it didn't deliver.

What I Did Not Like:

Okay my biggest problem started when Bay chose Above... which was pretty soon after the book started. To be completely, while I felt for Rio, I got bored. Real quick. The author spends so much time letting Rio wallow, letting the plot kind of meander along with no purpose, no twists, no bumps in the road. Bay leaves. Rio feels sorry for herself. She decides to swim. She evades Maire. La la la... that's kind of how I felt as I was reading. Not going to lie, I was in a really comfortable position on my bed while reading this book...

... And I fell asleep. Like, actually asleep, totally knocked out, unconscious and the whole nine yards.

That says something, folks. I'm on Thanksgiving vacation right now, so it's not like I've been lacking sleep. No, the problem was that forty, fifty, sixty, pages in, I was struggling. I was bored. I needed more oomph from the plot. I needed more than Maire hinting at secrets, more than a budding friendship with True, more than swim races that meant nothing to me.

Throughout the whole book, I didn't like Bay. She doesn't pop up until the end of the book, but I spent the whole book disliking her for leaving Rio, regardless of her reasons. If she had told Rio from the beginning, the whole angst thing could have been avoided. Of course, then there might not have been much of a story, but that doesn't mean that I had to like Bay. I didn't. I didn't want Rio and Bay to be reunited. I don't like Bay.

I'm also a little disappointed because while the premise of the story is very fresh and unique, the story was really cliche and over told, honestly. Evil tyrant, falling city, super powerful protagonist, save the world, last one left, blah blah blah. This book wasn't really anything special, if you took away the setting. Meh. 

Overall... things were boring. And I don't do boring. I wanted more action, or at least, more interesting SOMETHING. The "plot twists" and "big reveals" weren't that exciting or shocking.

Would I Recommend It:

Hmm, naahhh. I think I've come to accept to accept the fact that Ally Condie is not an author for me - her books and I don't really agree. Unfortunate to say, but true. So I wouldn't recommend this one. Don't let the pretty cover fool you.


2 stars. I'm glad I read this one, because I had been really excited to read it... but I'm sad that I was so disappointed. Tis life!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Aww, I'm really bummed that you didn't like Atlantia. I was actually really looking forward to it when I added it to my TBR. I didn't really like Matched, either, so I never read any of her books that followed in the series. From the way you described it, I probably wouldn't have finished the book to be honest. It seems to me there was a lack of character development, and the storyline appears to come to a stand still around the time that Bay leaves. If that's only fifty pages or so in, then I honestly don't know how you got through this one.

    I'll have to hold out on this one, thanks for the heads up!
    Matilda @ Characterized

    1. I had a hard time finishing this one... I don't think it's too worth the effort. Especially if you didn't liked Matched (I didn't either).

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Well, I'm not surprised you didn't like it! I read the sampler and although I felt like the world was intriguing and had a lot of promise... I just wasn't feeling it, and I disliked both sisters for different reasons... Now I'm glad I read the sampler and decided to skip this one!
    Thanks for a great review Alyssa!

    1. YES! Good decision, Pili. THAT is when samplers are really handy, honestly.

      Thank YOU!

  3. I've seen a ton of mixed reviews for Atlantia so I haven't been too interested in reading it. I really liked Ally Condie's other books – although like you I haven't read Reached – but I kind of doubt I'll ever give this one a try. Sorry to hear it was disappointing but nice review!

    1. Yeah, it's like you lose interest halfway through, right? Thank you so much!

  4. I've been hearing mixed things as well. Kind of saddens me as I have this one to read myself. I probably still will at some point, but might not mark it high on the priority list. It's a shame too.

    Nice honest review though! I will go into it knowing a little more and to expect a slower pace.

    1. Yeah, it's not one of those that everyone likes :/ Thank you so much, Jessica!

  5. lol, I love this review Alyssa. <3 But aw. I'm so sorry you didn't like this book :( makes me sad, because I have the hardcover, and I was excited about it too :p Hoping I might love it, but I doubt it :p I own her other books too, but only read the first one, which I disliked many years back. Anyway. Thank you for being honest sweetie :D At least you loved the romance, lol. <3

    1. Yeah I didn't like Matched at all... same with this one. I hope you like this book more than I did! And omg yeah the romance was most of the reason why this one got two stars (and not like zero or something).

      You're very welcome!

  6. Atlantia was my first book by Condie and I liked it. I really don't like books with mermaids and I was revealed that there were none here. I liked the world building, but I felt like the romance was lacking. Too bad you didn't love it :(

    1. I'm glad you did! Funny, the only thing I really felt positively towards was the romance. LOL. That's okay, Liza! ^_^


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