Author: Ally Condie

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book Review

Posted November 6, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book ReviewAtlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
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.

I’ve been looking forward to a new novel from Ally Condie for quite some time, so I dove in to Atlantia as soon as I could! It took me a little while to fully immerse myself in the story, but I ended up really liking Atlantia. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’ve always been a huge fan of books that take place underwater. Atlantia is a beautiful, self-sustaining, world under the sea that actually sounds a lot like Venice, believe it or not. They have canals and gondolas, and the city is colorful with lots of shops and places to visit. There’s a market in the depths of the city, plus an arena for after-curfew swimming competitions (I found the swimming arena rather random and out of place, though.). Basically, the city is unique and very fun to read about.

2. Rio is secretly a siren, who has had to hide her true voice from everyone in order to keep herself safe. Siren voices are very powerful, and can be used as weapons. Sirens are more rare now, which puts Rio in even more danger. When I heard siren, I immediately thought of mermaids. Sirens are human beings with special powers, though. I liked this unique twist!

3. Rio has always wanted to live Above, but when their mother dies she promises her sister, Bay, that she will choose to stay Below during the choosing ceremony (which is very similar to Divergent’s faction choosing ceremony). On the day of choosing, though, Bay announces she is going to the Above. Since only one child from each family can go Above, Rio is stuck and hurt. Alone forever. Rio starts planning her escape, and will stop at nothing to journey to the Above. This is where you see Rio’s stubborn, persistent, dare-devil personality. I really liked her!

4. Obviously, everyone is hiding something. There’s a lot of lying, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Rio’s aunt kind of takes her under her wing and mentors her, but this aunt is shady. Everyone is. And there’s a lot of secrets about Rio, her family, and the politics behind the separation of the Above and the Below. How did these people end up Below? Why is there no traveling between worlds? What’s the point of a city below water?

5. I loved the worldbuilding and Ally’s writing is descriptive and lovely.

6. I was so hoping for more romance between Rio and True.

7. Throughout the entire book I was expecting a sequel, so to find out it’s a standalone was kind of exciting. In a YA world full of trilogies and series, it’s nice to find a standalone. At the same time, though, Atlantia was wrapped up so quickly that I wish we were getting a sequel. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Overall, I really enjoyed Atlantia. I love underwater settings, and Ally’s writing and really enjoyable to read. I’m excited to see what she chooses to do next! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good dystopia. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like dystopias are becoming pretty formulaic and predictable. Atlantia is very unique, though, and breathes new life into dystopia.


Matched by Ally Condie (Book Review)

Posted February 3, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Matched by Ally Condie (Book Review)Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Published by Speak on November 30, 20120
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 366
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I read this book right when it came out (and reviewed it at The Broke and The Bookish), but have decided to post my review of it on here as well because I’ll be reading and reviewing the sequel, Crossed, as soon as I possibly can! This is a wonderful dystopian book, that really made me think. The people of this world live in a time where everything they do is governed and decided by the Officials of the Society. People are matched up with their spouse, their job, their extra-curricular activities, and even the day they will die. All the literature, music, and art have been paired down to the best 100 pieces of each. The Officials have destroyed everything else. The people are not allowed to write. Everything they do is monitored—even their dreams are recorded. They are only allowed to exercise a certain amount. If they go over that time, or do it too vigorously, they are marked as a person with body image issues. They are only allowed to eat a certain amount of food, which is delivered to them three times a day. Pills control their emotions. Their possessions are regulated. What kind of life would that be? What purpose do the humans even serve anymore? If they go against the rules, they are marked and are no longer a respected part of society. They are pulled out of the Matching Pool, no longer allowed to be married, and are given menial jobs that lead to an early death. Choices are against the law. This is the world Cassia lives in, only she’s not happy about it.

The Officials messed up. A glitch in the system showed Cassia the corruption behind the decisions these Officials made, and now she’s rebelling—hoping that she can somehow beat the system. Sure, the guy chosen for her might be the most ideal, most compatible, and most practical Match for her, but what about the one she’s fallen in love with? Love doesn’t matter anymore.  What if she doesn’t want the job they assigned her? Too bad. She can’t even choose the clothes she wears. The only time she was ever even allowed to wear a color was for her Matching Banquet, where she was assigned a mate while wearing her beautiful green dress (hence the symbolic book cover image of a girl in a green dress, trapped in a glass ball of dictatorship)—a green dress she chose from a catalog of approved choices. Of course, she could not keep this dress. She was sent a small piece of the dress fabric mounted between two pieces of glass after the Banquet was over.  This is the control these Officials have. The people are being drugged to forget things. They are all lost in a world of conformity. They are being brainwashed into thinking this is all ok. Cassia finds a person who remembers the past. He has access to old “destroyed” writings. He knows how to write. He knows the history of humankind, and it’s a whole lot better than what they’re going through now. The more Cassia rebels and learns about the past, the more corruption she notices. She’s also falling deeper and deeper in love—with the wrong person. She’s going to do something about it. She’s going to change her destiny.

I really loved this book. Many of the passages are extremely poetic, and somewhat lyrical. The descriptions of the scenery make you feel as though you were there. The emotions and feelings are easy to understand. The situations are easy to relate to. The characters are real people. I connected so well to the entire storyline. Cassia is a great heroine. She is not the rule-breaking rebel to the extent of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, but this IS only book one. We might see more rebellion in the future books. She was weak in the beginning, but learned more as the book went on. She grew a backbone! I liked her character development. I really enjoyed the love triangle, which I think ultimately symbolizes rebellion vs. submission. She was told to do one thing, but really wanted the forbidden. It’s a relatable dilemma on many levels. I enjoyed the relationship she had with each of the two boys in this triangle. One was very sweet and innocent—two childhood friends realizing they’re going to get married and exploring the new feelings the Society says they should be developing. The other one was forbidden but equally, if not more, sweet. They snuck around and tried to stifle the underlying tension of wanting, but not being allowed to have. I love this relationship more than the other. It seems more real to me. There could have been a bit more chemistry between them, but I understand that it had to be very hidden in order to protect both of them. With the rebellion I expect to see in the coming books, I expect to see more chemistry as well. All in all, this was a great book, and I really enjoyed it!

Discussion: I love a book that makes me think. At the very beginning I enjoyed the idea of being matched with my ideal man. I wouldn’t have to date a bunch of jerks to find him. He’d just be delivered to me, and we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not it was going to work out. I would have never been dumped, and I wouldn’t have had to dump anyone! Wonderful! But… then I thought about the what-ifs. What if I fell in love with the wrong person? What if I did not love the guy I was paired with? Then the what-ifs started spiraling out to encompass everything. Part of the wonderfulness of life is that we CAN choose who we marry, what we do for a job, what we read, what we listen to, what we eat, when we eat, what we wear, etc. I think life would be pointless without decisions. It made me grateful for the life I have. Next time a really crummy date goes down in flames, I’ll remind myself that at least I had the opportunity to choose! Haha. So tell me. What do you think about Cassia’s world? Would you enjoy having your entire life planned out for you, or would you fight back too?

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