Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Friday, 26 December 2014

23464372Atlantia by Ally Condie
Released: 28th October 2014
Published by: Penguin
Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
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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.
Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

As an existing fan of Allie Condie and her Matched series, I was eager to discover what she had come up with in this newest release. Atlantia, as I found out, contains a richly imagined world where the land and the sea converge, and a storyline that explores not only the sacrifices we make for those we love - but how to choose where our place is in society. Although not without its faults, I still enjoyed reading this book as a satisfactory stand-alone.

Under star-dark seas and skies of gold
Lives those Above, and those Below
They sing and weep, both high and deep
While over and under the ocean rolls

The worldbuilding which Ally Condie put into this novel was quite detailed and fascinating to read about. It's been said before, that unlike the cover may lead you to believe - this is NOT about mermaids. Instead, it almost takes a dystopian turn with some people after the 'Divide' choosing to live Above or Below, in Atlantia itself. While it would have been nice to have more of a background to this, the inner-workings of the city, from its social hierarchy, religious system and everyday life for its citizens were all explained really well. As opposed to mermaids, in this book there are sirens which I found quite fascinating to read about.

We are not lost mermaids with seaweed hair and coins for eyes, but human girls, alive and found.
We are sisters, and we did not drown. 

Admittedly, the plot did tend to be quite slow in some parts, especially at the beginning which had a lot of repetition around the concept of 'Atlantia breathing'. However, for the most part, there is a focus on Rio wanting to reunite with her sister Bay who had chosen unexpectedly to go Above. I liked the focus on family and sisterly relationships (although this was only really explored in the latter parts of the book), and sacrifices made. All of this was executed with Ally Condie's simplistic and clean writing style, which fans of her previous series will recognise, and that I found gave the whole story an ethereal atmosphere.


Atlantia is an enticing novel which builds around the disturbance of a seemingly tranquil underwater world. Though slow in its pacing, it feels as if you are being carried by the subtle waves of the storyline until you reach the shore at the end. If you enjoyed Ally Condie's previous work, I'd definitely recommend giving this book a try.


  1. I haven't sought this one out yet. I loved and adored Matched, but found the sequels somewhat lacking. This one sounds interesting though, I'll keep an eye out for it.

    1. This book might not be for everybody, but if you liked Matched and Ally Condie's style then it's definitely worth trying out :)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! For me, it lacked a lot of things, and I found it really hard to become invested in any of the characters--but I do see the appeal. I still think that Ally Condie is a fantastic writer, and I'll definitely be reading what she comes out with next. Also, I loved the fact that this was a standalone; there's not enough of them out there! Great review. :)

    1. That's fair enough Kara - there were a few downfalls, but in all I am glad that I liked it overall. You're definitely right - it's good to see a standalone when there are so many more series it seems coming out now too. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. I keep seeing meh reviews for this one. >< It's sitting on my shelf but I don't know how much I want to read it. I didn't love the Matched series much now that I think about so I don't know how much I'd like this. :P I'm glad you didn't completely hate it!

    1. I suppose not everybody is going to like every book they read, so I can definitely understand your reasoning Laura. It all comes down to personal opinion, and I'm glad that I did end up enjoying this :)


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