Book 25 of 2015
Atlantia is Ally Condie‘s first book since her bestselling Matched series and I was really looking forward to reading it. It seems rare these days to find a dystopian YA tale that isn’t part of a series, and even though I do love trilogies, this story was a breath of fresh air.
Atlantia is an underwater world, built when the pollution on earth became too toxic to handle. There are people who still live ‘above’ on earth, but they are said to have short lives, filled with disease and hard work to supply for the people of Atlantia.
The novel centers around a set of twins named Rio and Bay. At the beginning of the story, the twins are at the age where they must decide if they want to live ‘above’ or in Atlantia for the rest of their lives. Their parents are dead, and although it has always been Rio’s dream to live ‘above’, Bay makes her promise that she won’t. Rio accepts that their fate will be living together underwater in Atlantia, until Bay makes the unexpected decision to go ‘above,’ leaving Rio shocked, confused, and betrayed.
Rio can’t believe her sister left without telling her; all while Rio has a secret of her own to keep. She’s got a special power of being able to manipulate others into doing whatever she wants, known to her community as a Siren. Sirens are seen as dangerous in Altantia, so while Rio tries to defy all odds and make her way ‘above’, she also needs to keep her secret hidden. And in the midst of everything, Rio meets a sweet, caring love interest. For once, it’s nice for an author not to use a love triangle to hook readers. Rio’s escape to the ‘above’ is the main focus of this story, and that seems to be the way Condie wants it.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. As I mentioned above, it was nice to read a novel in this genre that wasn’t a part of a series, however I am sure it could be made into one. I always enjoy the parallel’s Condie draws with issues in present day society too, as she did in Matched, Crossed and Reached. The only cons are that I thought the story moved a bit slowly at times, and it could have been a bit shorter too. However, overall it was a pleasant read that I would recommend!