Published by Penguin Group USA on October 28, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Girls & Women, Fantasy & Magic
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Penguin Group USA
I received this book for free from Penguin Group USA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The King's English
“Utterly captivating. A heroine unlike any I’d met before, a setting I’d never glimpsed, a story I’d never imagined. Atlantia is fresh, wild, and engrossing. I love Ally Condie.” —Shannon Hale, award-winning, bestselling author of Austenland and Dangerous A New York Times Best Seller! Can you hear Atlantia breathing? For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—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 corrupted 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.
Rio dreams of living in the Above, the unknown above her watery home of Atlantia. Her promise to her sister, Bay, to remain below when Bay decides to leave Atlantia and live Above. Because of the death of her mother, the powerful former minister, she is left alone and begins to search out the reasons she was left behind. Oh, also, she’s a siren, which can be a dangerous prospect in Atlantia, which has a bit of a conflicted relationship with the humans that can control with their voice.
I was a big fan of Condie’s first series, Matched, because I appreciated her poetic tone. I feel similarly about this book. The pacing in this book is not for everyone, but it worked for me.
The story and mythology that is woven into the characters and put into a more modern setting is beautiful. Sirens and underwater creatures can be tough to pull off. I liked the humanistic approach to these myths. The sirens aren’t mermaids or supernatural. They are people with special abilities that can seem scary.
Here is one of my favorite quotes (from my uncorrected ARC):
I remember the day when we were five and I made Bay cry so hard she could barely breathe. I did it on purpose. I liked it when I was doing it—I felt hot and cruel and clever and powerful—but afterward, I broke down in remorse. My mother held me tight. She was crying, too. “You are a good girl, Rio,” she said. She sounded relieved.
“I hurt Bay,” I said. “And I wanted to.”
“But you were sorry after,” my mother said, “and you don’t want to do it again.”
I nodded. She was right.
“That is the difference,” my mother said, almost as if she were no longer speaking to me. “That is the difference.”
Here’s where the novel breaks down a bit for me. There just isn’t enough. Rio’s penchant for mechanics is discarded partway through the novel, among other things. The construction and elements of the setting needed an extra push. With more development and more information to keep me invested in Atlantia, this would have been phenomenal.
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