Author: Ally Condie
Genre: YA Adventure
Publisher: Dutton Children's
Length: 368 pages
Original Publishing Date: October 28th, 2014
Where I got it: Audiobook from the e-library
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Main characters: 1/5
You know, I actually do hate to write these sorts of reviews. The ones where I go through and rip everything apart. But the fact of the matter is, this was a bad book, and it starts out with Rio.
Rio made me want to stab myself in the eyes. She was a combination of needlessly reckless with stubborn and stupid. She is selfish, even when she tries to be selfless, and only thinks of herself. She has absolutely no depth and I ended up not caring a whit about her.
Secondary characters: 1/5
Okay Bay, or Bae as I call her, is basically Rio except without a backbone. If at all possible, she has even less of a personality than Rio. She runs away and leaves her sister with nothing except a boatload of crappy clues. Everything is "save Bae, save Bae"! Literally, this girl needs to grow up if she can't do anything on her own.
True Beck. Yup, that's his real name. Has a knack for making mechanical fish. Don't know anything else about him. Instalove on page 2.
Nevio sucks as a villain. Maire is contrived. The mom is only seen as a saint.
Writing style: 1/5
Sorry Condie, it just didn't work. Some of the quotes from the novel were ridiculous. People say that Condie's writing is poetic, but I didn't see it at all. And the thing is, I can excuse writing that isn't gorgeous but just gets the job done, but this wasn't that. And what's more? It wasn't even exciting writing. I wanted to fall asleep through the whole thing, and it was only in hopes of writing this review that I forced myself forward.
Ugh. Okay, I wasn't even really interested in the concept honestly. It had some baby ("bae") potential, but just fell flat on its face.
When I heard that part of the concept was the above world versus the below world, I was hoping for an exciting quest to the top and lots of action along the way. Well, that obviously didn't happen. The choice to keep Rio (and thus the narrative) below was both a disappointment and ultimately, a mistake. The story then became a snore as Rio works to make enough money to get to the surface. None of her ideas are smart or clever, and it takes her half the book to come up with anything.
When we finally get away from the dullest time spent in an underwater world ever, it doesn't get much better. Most of the time is spent trapped in a closet. Enough said.
Just when you think it can't get any worse. The plus side is that we get an interesting rumination of the origins of religion, and we get some warm and fluffy family appreciation. Other than that? The conflict and its resolution were both juvenile and lacked authenticity and weight.
Best scene: When it was over
Reminded Me Of: A sad version of Dark Life
Positives: Potentially interesting concept
Negatives: Everything else
Verdict: Sorry Ally Condie, it's a hard pass from me
Rating: 2.4 / 10 (1 stars)
Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!