Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy (ARC) of this book; this book will be released on October 28, 2014. Undoubtedly, there will be minor changes between the version I read and the published version. I picked up the ARC at the 2014 ALA Conference.
I recently read Ally Condie's other series (Matched, Crossed, and Reached) which kind of swayed me to pick up her book, Atlantia, but that might have been a mistake...
I was waiting in line to get the book signed by Ally Condie (which was pretty dang cool) and I kept hearing people say, "It's not about mermaids!" I grimaced, shrugged, and still waited in line to get my book signed anyways. I find it bizarre that a book would be titled Atlantia and have nothing to do with mermaids.
An amazon summary, "“Utterly captivating. A heroine unlike any I’d met before, a setting I’d never glimpsed, a story I’d never imagined. Atlantia is fresh, wild, and engrossing. I love Ally Condie.” —Shannon Hale, award-winning, bestselling author of Austenland and Dangerous
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—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 corrupted 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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
Atlantia focuses on an underwater city (Atlantia!) that was created because the air on the surface world got SUPER polluted, people were dying, so they built an underwater city to escape air pollution. Also to mine minerals and stuff I suppose.
Then Atlantia has a bunch of rules that will help them maintain life underwater, sanity, and the pursuit of the three miracles.
There are phenomenons referred to as 'The Three Miracles' for no apparent reason. They're not defined by anything, the people seem to just point fingers at something SUPER weird and go, "Look, A MIRACLE".
First miracle: The Sirens. Some people who live in Atlantia start developing these crazy voices that enables them to manipulate people....and sometimes objects. Did I mention this was a weird hybrid between science fiction and fantasy? The book really really wants to have science, but whenever science can't explain things, BAM; MAGIC (or unexplained, MIRACLE?!?!).
...so the sirens are usually carted off at an early age for the gains of the council that runs Atlantia, but mostly to keep them out of the population and making sure they don't make people do stupid things.
Second miracle: BATS. There are these bats that cropped up in Atlantia who have evolved to have purple/blue wings. They're the only creatures besides humans that live in Atlantia.
Third miracle: UNKNOWN. Wildly speculated. BUT, when the third miracle is found out; it hopefully signals the time when Atlantia can rejoin the surface world and have all the air again! Yay air!
Atlantia also has this choosing day ceremony where once a year, youths who are seventeen get to make the choice to leave Atlantia and go to the surface world or to stay in Atlantia.
Which brings us to Rio; the heroine of the story. Rio is a siren; her mother and sister hid her abilities from all of Atlantia. Rio has a desperate, holy crap you will read so much about how much she wants to go to the surface world, need that she will never stop thinking about, being concerned about, or just thinking about all the time.
ANYWAYS. So Rio and her twin sister, Bay, go to the choosing ceremony where Bay has pleaded with Rio to stay in Atlantia so they can be together forever (they both can't go to the surface as they're the last in their blood line, and they need everyone or else, well, inbreeding). Rio chooses to stay in Atlantia, and Bay chooses to go to the surface.
If you just went, "Wait, what?" and reread that last paragraph; bravo! That is exactly how I reacted to the book.
The story really begins to spin as Rio tries to desperately figure out why Bay left, how to get to the surface, and just how much she distrusts her aunt. Rio's mother and father are dead; her father from lung disease and her mother may have been murdered (which is part of the mystery of the book).
....but really, I didn't care for the book. I got to the end and my reaction was basically, "...that's it? That's all?" The wind up led to an okay pitch, but I don't think it ever connected with the bat....I think it just rolled across home plate, lamely, without obstacles.
...yeah. It was a weird read. It's a weird blog post.