Written By: Ally Condie

Published By:
Dutton Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                When I walked into my local Barnes & Noble iconand discovered that they were celebrating popular entertainment with a special event: Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble and giving away free book excerpts, I pounced.  One of my many acquisitions: Atlantia by Ally Condie.

                 Set in a not so distant future, Atlantia tells the tale of Rio, a twin who has come of age and must make an important decision about her future.  Rio and her twin sister Bay live in a city created "under the sea" some time after the world above became incredibly polluted and barely livable.  Living in the world Below has some advantages: breathable air, less of a struggle to make ends meet, beautiful architecture and more.  But there are the disadvantages: you can't leave the Atlantia construction, thus, your world is extremely limited. 

                Every individual in Atlantia, upon coming of age, must make a decision regarding their future.  Will they stay in the world Below and live out their years in healthy tranquility or will they choose the ultimate sacrifice and leave for the world Above, living out their short lives in hardship for the betterment of the world Below? 

                Her entire life has been spent dreaming of the world Above.  Only Bay knew of Rio's dream and supported her decision until the death of their mother.  When Rio and Bay's mother died, leaving them orphans, Bay made Rio promise to stay with her in the world Below.  So it comes as a shock when, at the choosing ceremony, Bay decides to choose the world Above, leaving her sister behind without explanation.

                Desperate to understand her sister's decision and join her in the world Above, Rio searches for answers.  What she finds is her mother's sister, a strange women with a secret power that Rio shares and information that could not only shed light on her sister's sudden change of heart, but also her mother's sudden death.  But Rio has always been taught not to trust Maire.  Should she go back on her teachings or accept her fate?

                After reading the thirty-plus page excerpt of Atlantia, I decided that this young adult fantasy was not for me.  The book is written decently, but I just don't feel vested in the main character's plight.  For some reason, I just can't seem to bond with the main character, despite learning quite a bit about her thought processes and emotions in the three chapter excerpt of the novel.  Sure, I'm intrigued about the secret of the siren voice and the reality regarding the world Above, but not intrigued enough to want to buy the book when it comes to stores in the Fall of 2014. 


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