on October 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours, 7 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—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 complex 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.
Atlantia is somewhat of a genre mash up of science fiction and fantasy. Set in an underwater city on the ocean floor in what I assume is Earth’s future. The main character is a girl named Rio whose sister Bay betrays her by taking her only chance to live on the surface.
The benefit of the doubt
Rio is so much nicer then I would have been in her place. She believes there must be a really good reason for Bay stealing her lifelong dream of going to the surface. I guess I can honestly say I don’t know if I would have reacted similar since my sister is also my best friend. I just think I would have been more bitter. Does that make me mean? Hey hey – I love my sister…a part of me would think she had a really good reason too. Anyways Rio is determined to get to the surface and find out the reason why Bay left knowing that she was destroying her dream in the process. Along the way Rio makes friends with a young man named True who’s best friend also chose to go to the surface without telling him why.
A smidge of a romance, more of family emphasis
There is a slight romantic element that comes into play between Rio and the boy True. I liked that this wasn’t a book about teen romance. It was there because romance usually is in a teen’s life but the emphasis of this story was really about Rio, her personal struggles with her abilities and her relationship with her sister, mother and aunt. It was nice seeing that Rio put those things at the forefront of her mind throughout the book.
The fishy details
The background behind how some of humanity ends up living in under water cities is that the surface world had become too toxic to live in so these cities were built and purple were sent down there so humanity could survive, and the surface people support them by sending down supplies. I had a few peevy moments about the details in regards to the historical and current background that deals with life under the sea, the surface dwellers supporting them and how very preposterous that would be for the city to COUNT ON the topside people to continue to supply food and materials for them if the whole premise of humanity needing to go live underwater revolves around the fact that all the folks left topside were going to die. That part just wasn’t solid enough for me and it kept bugging me as the story progressed. The bulk of the story takes place in the city of Atlantia and covers Rio’s attempts to figure out ways to get to the surface and trying to raise money to reach that end. She ends up doing some form of water racing with the help of True’s little mechanical inventions to draw a crowd. She muddles over several different ways to get to the surface.
Let me hear that siren song
This is where the mashup of fantasy comes into play. While living underwater humanity some very small subset of people are born “sirens” with voices that can compel people to listen to them and do whatever they say. There isn’t any sort of reasoning given behind how this happens which I would have expected a little bit of one given that I viewed this as more of a science fiction book rather then a fantasy but I was able to roll with it. Obviously one of the main characters had to be a Siren for this to come into play and that person just so happens to be Rio. And her and her mother/sister have been hiding Rio’s abilities her whole life because sirens have all sorts of service and restrictions laid upon them that her mother didn’t want her to be subject to. When Bay leaves to the surface Rio starts to have all sorts of inner turmoil dealing with her family, why her sister left, and aunt who is also a Siren (and is now aware Rio is one as well) and starts a very hesitant relationship with her.
What it boils down to
Atlantia was a quick, very light on the details that could be easily breezed through in a sitting or two. Don’t expect a lot of depth on the background of the world building though but it was nice to see family relationships as the focus here rather then romantic ones.
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