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.
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:
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.
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.