Atlantia is an interesting book. It’s not really as sci-fi as I had hoped, it could have been, had more been discussed about the biology of the evolutionary changes discussed, but instead the author relied on the commonly understood mythos of sirens. I got the sense the author wasn’t as interested in exploring the science or culture as much as she was telling a character driven story. It was a decent story and the characters were well developed which kept me reading despite my person preference for a more sophisticated world building approach.
I think Atlantia was just more YA focused than I had anticipated. It used a lot of the tropes like a big mystery that could have been shared with the main characters WAY sooner but is instead steeped in hoop jumping in order for it to be discovered, the feeling of being an outsider, having a secret, an innocent but fervent love story. It’s all there. It’s well done. None of these things bothered me. The one that did get to me though was the constant repetition. This is another common YA issue I have, like the reader can’t hold the plot in their minds long enough so it has to be said over and over.
The flip side of this is that the intended audience Is likely to really like it. My 13 year old read it in 2 days and ADORED everything about the story. She doesn’t like romance, although it’s hard to find stories with none, and this had just enough to intrigue her but not enough to make her want to stop reading.
The writing is exquisite. Condie is a master at describing impossible settings and making them come alive. The same descriptions get repeated a lot (see issue above) but they are very well done. You can feel the cold of the deep market, you can hear the press of the water against Atlantia’s walls, and feel the flap of the bats wings. All in all it was a good story, more fantasy than sci-fi, and definitely intended for YA readers.