Monday, December 28, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Atlantia by Ally Condie

I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I first cracked open Atlantia. Condie is one of those authors that I remain on the fence about; although I thoroughly enjoyed Matched, the next two books were a bit dry. 
And, despite the fact that Atlantia is about an underwater city, I also found it to be a bit dry. 

In the beginning, Atlantia gave me a Divergent sort of vibe; it's an underwater city, built because things above water had become so intolerable (as far as conditions for humans to thrive), that a group of humans were sent to an underwater city to ensure the continuity of the human race. Over the generations, the population of Atlantia grew, as did the families within it. When each citizen turns a certain age, they can choose to stay in Atlantia or to go Above.

Rio, a girl who has always yearned to see the Above, promises that she will stay in Atlantia with her sister, Bay. Bay has never wanted to leave the city, and with the recent death of their mother, she is terrified of being left alone. However, (surprise!!) Bay decides to go Above. Because of the rule that only one of each family may go Above, Rio is the one left behind in the Below.

Confused by her sister's actions, she seeks counsel in her aunt, Maire, a dangerous siren who supposedly uses the power of her voice to control others against their will. From Maire, she learns things about herself and the well-kept secrets of her city; things that will change her perspective forever. 

It sounds like a good story, doesn't it? At least, that's what I thought from reading the blurb on the back of the book. I think we should have a new saying: "Don't judge a book by its blurb." In fact, maybe we shouldn't judge the book by anything but the book itself. Judging it by anything other than that often leads to disappointment.

There was nothing inherently wrong with the plot. Although it had many dystopia elements that you've seen before (thus the Divergent reference above) it was fairly intriguing, and that kept me going. What I hated was simply the writing style. 
If I could give this book an award, it would be the "Dullest Characters of All Time" award. 

Rio, the narrator, is the MOST BORING OF THEM ALL. She's supposed to be *spoiler alert* a siren, but at the end of the book I still wasn't entirely sure what a siren actually was. And there was some emphasis of her being the "last siren." What is the significance in this?? I DON'T GET IT.

I don't know how to explain what I felt, reading through Rio's eyes. Her voice feels flat and emotionless, and she sees things through almost a tilted perspective. Her sentences were choppy and repetitive, like a kindergartener wrote them. 

She’s going to tell me the story, and I’m going to listen. And I am afraid.

I am going to pick up this book, and I am going to read. And I am bored.

Seriously, where was this girl's spunk? I'm not saying she has to be one of those heroine's that refuses to let anyone stand in her way and eats men for breakfast, but she should at least be a little pissed off that her sister left her behind. Instead of being mad, she throws a Rio pity party. 

What is my point...
Think, Sarah, THINK.
Oh right... So, in short terms, this book had a beautiful "feel" to it, Atlantia was serene and magical. BUT,
her characters were ill-developed and made me want to yawn.

Short and sweet! (Sort of.)

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