Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Title: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: October 28, 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.

My Review:

Atlantia by Ally Condie is the story of two orphaned sisters, Rio and Bay, who live in an underwater city called Atlantia. They've spent their whole lives there, one dreaming of going above, and one wishing to stay below. It's also the story of lies and deception and a heroine will rise to save her world.

I really wanted to like this book, especially after reading the first few chapters from NetGalley. Unfortunately, I just feel like too many things went wrong for me to like it. 

I'll admit that I like it a lot better than Condie's Matched trilogy, but once again, Condie's writing style is lackluster. When I was reading, especially at certain points in the novel, I felt like Condie was trying to write to little kids instead of the target teen audience. When I read, I want to feel like the author is really trying to say something. Most of the time that is done by including sentences of varying length. In Atlantia, there are way too many sentences of the same length in a row. It makes reading difficult, like someone is trying to beat you in the head to get you to understand what is going on.

The introductory chapters in Atlantia are indeed great at capturing a reader's attention, but the pace slowed soon after. It was almost as if all the life were sucked out of the book. Much of the middle of the book is boring. There were many times that I wanted to put it down. The book eventually picks up the speed and action again in the last third, but at this point, salvaging an enjoyable read was out of the question for me. It was a chore to read this book.

Condie does create an interesting world in Atlantia, but only for The Below. She describes the city well, and I was able to imagine much of it in my head. It's hard to say that her world building is superb when she fails to give The Above half of the detail that she gives The Below.

The characters in Atlantia were okay. Rio really didn't impress me; I feel like Condie could have explored her a little more or at least made her a bit more interesting. Rio's sister, Bay, is mentioned a lot in the book, but I felt like I barely knew her at all. Atlantia also features many supporting characters, and some of them are interesting and characterized well, but I didn't really enjoy reading about them.

I think at this point, it's safe for me to say that Ally Condie is not the writer for me. I don't know if I'll be reading anything else from her in the future after this proved to be a book that bored me for weeks.


  1. I've seen the same problems you had with this book in other blogger's reviews as well. It's funny because I'm thinking in my head, "Lord, I hope I like this book." I'm still going to read it, because I bought it, but ugh. I hate going into a book knowing that it might not meet my expectations. Your review actually has me intrigued to read about the underwater world Condie has created, especially since I haven't read anything similar to this type of concept.

    1. I saw some of them too. It looked like a lot of the people with the same problems that I had also had the same problems with her Matched trilogy.

      The plot is really good. That's why I ended up giving it three stars. It had enough to keep me interested, but the writing style just made me hate it. I think it's going to be a love/hate kind of book for a lot of people.


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