Book Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

23519363Title: Atlantia

Author: Ally Condie

Format/Length: Paperback/298 pages

Publisher/Date Published: November 6th 2014/Penguin Teen Australia

Category/Genre: Young Adult/Dystopia? Paranormal? Urgh, I don’t know.

Source: Library

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookworld

Description: Set within a civilization that lives deep beneath the sea, twin sisters, Rio and Bay, are about to make the most important decision of their lives. Will they choose to stay Below, sacrificing their soul but living in happiness, or to go Above, keeping their soul but living in weakness and misery. No one could have predicted their choice.

2/5 stars –


Confession: Years ago, when Matched was first released, I read it, enjoyed it . . . but never picked up the rest of the series. Why, do you ask? Presumably because I lost interest in it. If I had really liked the first book, I’m sure I would have picked up the rest, so I think it’s safe to say those books weren’t for me. And, after reading Atlantia, I can also say that this was not for me, either.

I was one of those people, who, weirdly, thought this was about mermaids. And pretty much, this was my reaction when I read a review that informed me that this was not, in fact, about mermaids:

loop animated GIF

There is something just very . . . mermaid-y about that cover, don’t you think? The cover, the title, the colours. Man, I really wished this was about mermaids. I really did. But that’s enough of me lamenting over the book I thought it was, and time to start reviewing the book it actually was.

This is a story about family, sirens (NOT mermaids), and the Above and the Below.

The family aspect of it was one of my favourite parts, because despite the fact that I was disappointed with this novel, that element of the story was done well. Highlight with mouse to see mild spoiler: (Except I’m still really confused as to why Bay chose to go to the Above. How was that supposed to help Rio? Maybe I was just bored by that point and wasn’t digesting anything I read.) The relationship that Bay and Rio shared, though, was done so well. There should be more books revolving around families in YA, I think! But, well, that was really only my positive thing to say about this. I suppose it was nicely written, too, but the plot failed to hold my attention. It was one of those books where I keep looking through the pages to see where the next chapter would occur, and flipping through to see how much of the book I had left.

bored animated GIF

Additionally, the worldbuilding was a little . . . confusing. There is the Above (our world, I guess you could call it, but a more polluted version), and the below, Atlantia. And that was as much as I understood of it, really. I wish that more about the Above had been explained; there was a distinct lack of history there that bothered me, though perhaps I’m alone in sharing that opinion. I’ve quite some quite positive things about Condie’s worldbuilding — but for me, it didn’t hit the nail on the head quite as I would have expected it to have.

You should read this. You’ll probably even like it.

But I did not. It was not for me. The siren concept of the story was interesting, I’ll give it that. But everything else, save for the family aspect of the story, did not hold my attention.

What about you? What did you think of Atlantia. Have we got different or similar thoughts! Feel free to discuss below.


24 thoughts on “Book Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

  1. I want to read Atlantia but you are so right… I thought it was about mermaids! Weird. Well good review haha I will have to read it :)

  2. After reading the blurb I would indeed expect it to be about mermaids, what a disapointment :(. I have read Matched and enjoyed it, i did read Crossed as well but was disapointed and never picked up the rest of the series.
    Although I think that cover is really pretty and that family aspect is done well, I love it when there’s attention to family in this book as so many books don’t pay attention to it. And how sad the world building wasn’t explained well, I love world building and if it isn’t done right I probably won’t enjoy the book. Don’t think I’ll pick this up. Great review!

    • I’ve seen a few people commenting on how they liked the worldbuilding… so maybe that was just my opinion? But yeah this wasn’t great overall. I guess if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, perhaps don’t pick it up, but I hope my review hasn’t discouraged you too much!!

  3. It seems like this one wasn’t the cup of tea for a lot of people! I read the sampler on NetGalley and LOVED it. And I have been wanting to read the rest to see what was happening. Also, Ally Condie and I live in the same state so… I kind of have to :)
    Olgia @ Orange Owls & Books

  4. I decided a while back that I shan’t be reading this. =/ It seems to be lacking something.

    It’s funny, every single blog I’ve come across that reviewed said THEY thought it was about mermaids and were sorely disappointed. It’s a shame, I don’t think I saw one favourable review.

    One last thing. I dunno if you accept awards, but I nominated you for the Sisterhood Of The World blogger award, because your Worldbuilding posts are pretty awesome. (I’m getting round to commenting, I swear.) Sooo have fun. =]

    • Ooh thank you so much for the nomination! :) I’m glad you like my worldbuilding posts.

      Yeah, I did feel like this one was missing something, and honestly, I haven’t seen too many positive reviews for it. O.o Perhaps it just wasn’t to my tastes. :(

  5. Wonderful review, Kara! I don’t know what it is about this book, but it seems as though it’s lacking…something. I actually have a review copy of this, so I should probably read it soon…I don’t really have any desire to, unfortunately.

  6. This book still confuses me because no matter how many times I’ve heard SIREN I still think MERMAID HAHHAAHAHA But the lack of world building has put me off this one. Plus the names. Too alternative for this granny, unfortunately :P

  7. YOU AND ME BOTH. Haaah. I pretty much felt the same way. And I feel so guilty for hating it for some reason (well, I guess not “hate” but I was so freaking bored. It took me like 4 days and I always read books in, like, a flash). >-< I just feel like nothing even happened…and I don't even get the ending. It felt a bit random. There, there, though, don't cry mermaidy tears. I thought it was about mermaids too.

  8. I didn’t mind the Matched series, but felt this one was even too bland for me as well sadly. I thought Sirens WERE mermaids too. It didn’t have any structure and I didn’t get the ending either. What happened to half of them? I did enjoy the setting, but like you, this fell flat for me too.

    Lovely review Kara, I hope your next read is so, so much better <3

    • Thank you! <3

      Yeah, from what I can tell, most of us bloggers have similar feelings about this book. Which is a shame, you know? Because I was really, really hoping this would be good. I'm a little confused on the difference between mermaids and sirens, too: I think sirens control people with their voices, but don't always have to have tails, whereas mermaids just have tails? Haha, I don't really know! :)

  9. Everything about this book does scream Mermaids, and I am a little disappointed it isn’t about mermaids, but I am excited about this one. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. I’m hoping I will like it when I eventually get around to it, which could be awhile, but I will eventually.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I also thought this was about mermaids, but I think everyone did. I read the entire Matched trilogy and while it was okay it didn’t blow me away. It’s not the thing I usually read either, not enough action and excitement.

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