Atlantia by Ally Condie
Digital Audiobook narrated by Rebecca Soler
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 28th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 298 pages or 8 hours, 7 minutes
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Twins. They were meant for a common life. But destiny separated them.
Bay, I miss you so much, she whispered into the shell. From inside, a rushing singing sounded, recalling a time when water and land still belonged. Wherever her sister was now on the land surface, she had to find her - even if no one was allowed to leave the city under the glass ball.
In a world divided into the water and the rural population, the twin nurses Rio and Bay are separated by a fate. Bay takes her trip to the surface. Rio remains back in Atlantia. To see her sister again, she has to find out why water and land have been separated and what wonderful and destructive gift the women of the family have in common.
Oy vei this book was such a chore.
I read Crossed by Ally Condie recently, and didn’t like it, and when this popped up on my wishlist, I repeatedly reminded myself that I didn’t like her previous books. I told myself over and over again that it was a bad idea.
BUT. It’s an Atlantis inspired dystopia!
I have such a weak spot for Atlantis.
Okay, so here’s what what cool about this book. Because it wasn’t completely bad. The concept of an underwater dystopian city is great, and it’s not one I’ve seen very often. If the air was poisoned, if there was something wrong with the sun, moving humanity underwater makes sense. I would like to have seen more of the worldbuilding. The idea is there – and it is strong and good – but Condie tried to make this more of a character-driven story and stopped talking about Atlantia early on. We don’t even specifically find out what caused the poisoning.
And I like character driven books, I really do. But the character has to be good. Rio is flat and unoriginal. She has no original thoughts. She talks to a person and immediately adopts all their ideals… until the next person comes along and she does a 360. It’s so frustrating. I know there are people like that in real life, but a protagonist without her own convictions is really frustrating.
Don’t even get me started on the romance. What a joke. It’s like she felt like there needed to be a romance, so it got shoved in there awkwardly.
The final nail in the coffin, for me, has been the narrator. If I read this in hardcopy, rather than an audiobook, it may have been better. This is a siren story, and Rio has to hide her voice. The narrator chose to take this quite literally, and every piece of dialogue spoken by the sirens (most of the dialogue) is spoken in a robotic monotone. It honestly makes me want to scream. It grates on my ears.
Atlantia has cemented it for me: I’m totally off Ally Condie’s writing. I wish her well as an author and am happy for all her fans, but there are a lot of books in the world and I see no need to waste my time on novels I’m sure I won’t like.