Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Atlantia - Ally Condie

Summary: 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.
  (Pic and Summary from goodreads.com)

My Review:I have to admit that I read this book in spite of the title. Because let’s face it. The title is completely lame. Yes, it’s a kind of paranormal, YA fic spin on Atlantis, but Atlantia? Seriously. Just putting that out there.

So the thing that I don’t love about paranormal romance is when it turns all “But he’s my destiny!” and then you have 15-year-old girls running amuck, picking weirdoes they hardly know, and it turns all dramatic, and I know teenage girls eat that stuff up cause ya know, but I am far, far from a teenage girl. I am happy to report that this book did not have any of the destiny talk, although of course there was a romance. And I get that it’s no fun without a romance, and so if I’m going to read about a paranormal romance, this is a fine kind to have. Man, I’m an old fuddy duddy.

The story itself was interesting I guess. It wasn’t anything shockingly new, it was a kind of a typical paranormal romance post-apocalyptic story set underwater, but the descriptions and ideas were detailed enough and different enough to make it interesting in its own right. There were some holes and confusing things, though. First of all, metal work is a huge part of the story, and that was a little confusing—where did the metal come from? Why was everything metal when it takes place under water? Why was metal so significant? Also, what is the selection process for where people ended up working? And what’s with the sirens? Why are they paranormal and no one else is and how does it all happen, etc., etc, etc. These oversights were a huge part of the story but were basically overlooked. These were not small, confusing things, either. I’m thinking the author either thought the readers either didn’t need to know or maybe she didn’t even know, but it just made the book seem incomplete and the background story felt like it was missing. I think that because YA Fic can get away with some incomplete world building or less-detailed descriptions of how everything works, but to me this just felt like a huge oversight in this book—like the author had penned a book really quickly, just wanting to get it out there, and didn’t put the time or thought into what it would take to make it feel more realistic and complete.

This book is also apparently the first in a series, but I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here. Unless there is some serious backtracking (which I doubt at this point, since things have changed pretty drastically) I can only see maybe a sequel where things are wrapped up and stat, but a whole series of books set in this world? I dunno.

My Rating: 2 stars

For the sensitive reader: This is pretty standard YA fare.

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