Atlantia can be summed up in one word, one harsh word, ‘disappointing.’ I don’t know how I could’ve expected to enjoy the story when I had previously read Teardrop by Lauren Kate, which was also about Atlantis. I hoped for this story to be different. I hoped to like the characters. I hoped for it to be better than Teardrop! But no.
Atlantia is about Rio and Bay, twin sisters who live Below. They are given the choice of whether they would like to stay Below or go Above. Rio stays, but Bay leaves. My first issue was that the names called were not alphabetical. Had they been, this whole dilemma could have been resolved. What kind of a list of names isn’t alphabetical? I realize this is incredibly picky, but I couldn’t think of a conceivable reason for why this wasn’t the case.
I really liked the concept of Atlantia, if I didn’t then there was no way I was going to pick it up after the Teardrop debacle. I thought it was new and exciting, but the world-building was almost non-existent! How the Below gets electricity or power wasn’t explained. Neither was how the logistics of everyone living in a large bubble under the sea. I thought how Atlantia dealt with dead bodies was the only thing well explained; it was a very Romantic idea, if a little strange if I thought about it for too long. The controversy of the Above was also poorly explained. The sanctity of the sirens I understood, but I didn’t really understand the relationship between the two worlds.
I felt like even the things that were explained, weren’t explained fully. I didn’t understand the religion element at all. I’m sure Condie enjoyed creating her own new religion, but the idea of the three miracles was confusing and the only way I found out what was right and wrong depended if one of the character shouted ‘blashpemy!’ Or the ‘water-lung,’ which I’m guessing was pneumonia? Or the witchy powers that sirens could potentially have. Or Rio’s mother’s death!
I guess I liked Rio, but why she had to suddenly start working in the mines even thought they weren’t producing anything beats me. The sister relationship was enjoyable, but should have been stressed a lot more than it was. In the middle I felt there was too much emphasis on an insta-love relationship (that wasn’t explained either.) She was determined and motivated to save her sister and this didn’t waver.
The writing style, let’s talk about it for a moment. One thing that I picked up on almost straight away was the emphasis on line breaks. They built up tension, but it was forced. I kid you not, there was a whole page of simple/minor sentences each broken with a line break. It got to the point where I would read the lines with an exaggerated voice to Maddie for the ridiculousness. Although the lines where not my favourite the pacing was consistent, if a little slow. I think we spent way too long Below. It took Rio over 200 pages (out of 300) to reach her goal, and after that the story went a little skewiff, and the characters were going up and down and up and down and suddenly I wasn’t aware of any purpose.
Therefore, I only gave Atlantia two stars because it really didn’t meet my hopes and expectations. My advice is that if you want a good Ally Condie novel: read Matched and if you want a good Atlantis story: stick with the Disney movie.