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Normally, I wait to post my reviews until close to a book's launch, but I make exceptions when events are involved!
The good news? I really enjoyed reading ATLANTIA...and I'm so excited to talk about it with you this fall!
I was so excited when I heard that Ally Condie was releasing a novel that ventured into underwater territory. I read MATCHED back before the dystopian genre was a BIG THING. The first book came out before DELIRIUM and before DIVERGENT. I read MATCHED first. I loved it for what it was, for how fresh the ideas were. I didn't love the second book, CROSSED, nearly as much because it's more of a "journey" book, but I wasn't ready to give up on the series. I'm glad I didn't, either, because REACHED turned out to be the best book in the series. You can see how much Condie has grown as an author when you read both REACHED and ATLANTIA. There's more grit and depth. Characters are so much fuller and their world is scarier and more complex than expected. ATLANTIA is also stand-alone novel, which is so refreshing among the sea of duologies and trilogies currently flooding the YA market (Though...I wouldn't be opposed to a return trip in the future!).
Rio and her twin sister Bay have always lived Below. Rio dreams of exploring Above and breathing air and seeing sky, but after their mother's untimely death, she promises to remain Below with Bay at their choosing ceremony. Only...Bay chooses to go Above. Bay, who never wanted to leave Below. Why would Bay leave her, knowing Rio couldn't follow? Why does Rio have to remain behind? Without her mother and her sister, Rio must fend for herself while protecting her deepest, darkest, secret: She's the last of the Sirens, and the government would do anything to get their hands on her. But when Atlantia is in danger, Rio is forced to choose: Protect her secret, or let Atlantia fall?
There is so much going on in ATLANTIA. So much good stuff! I don't want to leave a trailer of spoilers since the book isn't out for another two months and is so hotly anticipated, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Condie has created a complex, thriving world Below, and proven the fact that humans are smart enough to adapt event after we pollute ourselves out of our own world. The politics of Below are intriguing, and the Miracles that created blessings such as Sirens are awe-inspiring. I especially loved the way Rio became so strong on her own and plotted to save herself. She isn't weak, and she doesn't rely on others to solve her problems. I especially loved her underwater sport of choice and the way she went about training to achieve her goals.
While there are Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic elements that may turn off readers sick of the genre, it isn't the focus. Rio doesn't want to bring down the government. In fact, her mother was the head of it before she died. She just wants to be reunited with her sister. All of the elements that made the underwater city work and evolve fascinated me, and I loved seeing the blend of mythology and futuristic science. How does living underwater change us? How do we evolve? What sicknesses are eradicated, and what others introduced? How do Above and Beyond work in harmony together if they can never interact? There's so much to think about as you read. I finished this novel feeling thoroughly pleased, and I look forward to seeing what sort of world Condie introduces us to next.