Atlantia by Ally Condie | Review

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Title: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Children’s, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Page Count: 368
My Rating: 2 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Synopsis (from goodreads):

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.

my thoughts:

Before I get into the review, let me just point out that this book is horribly mis-marketed. If it had been marketed properly, I probably would not have picked it up. From the synopsis and the cover art, it is implied that this is going to be a mermaid story. It is not. It is a dystopian taking place in an city enclosed underwater. This wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that I wasn’t even able to finish Condie’s other dystopian series, Matched. If I would have known I was heading into another dystopian, I probably would have passed on this one.

As with Condie’s Matched series, I found the world building in this story to be lackluster. There is a strong focus on the religious beliefs of this society, but other than that, there is no real reason given for why the rules, regulations, and rituals of the society exists. We also are not given much actual description of what is probably a very cool underwater world.

The characters of Atlantia are also pretty flat. I found our main character to be very similar to the main character in Matched. I didn’t understand many of her motives. She discusses how disconnected she felt from her twin sister, but then is spending all of her time trying to get back to her sister because she “needs” her. It doesn’t match up. Thankfully, this story was lighter on the romance than Matched was, and that was my biggest concern. I wasn’t attached to the romance in this story, but I wasn’t particularly bothered with it either. The villain was also a mustache-twirling bad guy, and very one dimensional.

Lastly, I found the plot generally enjoyable. It was a slow read at times, but there was a mystery element to it that I found engaging. Parts of that mystery element did drag, but overall, I still wanted to know how everything was going to turn out. By the end, I was left with all of my questions answered and was glad it wasn’t extended out into an unnecessary trilogy.

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Top 10 Heroines | Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is our favorite heroines. I love talking about my favorite female characters (and I’ve done so before on Top 5 Wednesday) but I can never pass up an opportunity to gush about my ladies.

10. Anita blake (Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton)

anitablakeThe Anita Blake was one of the first book series I ever fell in love with and Anita herself will always hold a special place in my heart. She started the series as a vampire hunter/animator (yes, of zombies) and has taken on so many different roles of power since then. I adore her wit, and her general level of badassness. Plus she keeps the company of a host of awesome (and attractive) side characters.

9. Sabriel (From the abhorson series by garth nix)

sabrielI read this series in high school and Sabriel remains one of my favorite characters of all time. She follows the trope of “girl who never really knew she had powers but is actually a badass”, but does so in a different way. She is a strong character that still shows a realistic amount of fear for her situation. And she has an ability that I LOVE to read about: the power to go between life and death, where she “binds” the dead to stay where they belong (“put that thing back where it came from or so help me”). I also happen to use her name for every video game character I ever create…

8. Elphaba (from wicked by gregory macguire)

wickedElphaba is a character that grew on me post-read. She is so morally grey, which I love, but she also really sticks to what she believes in. Her story is a tragic one, and she is way more complex than I ever expected going into the book. Elphaba is probably one of the most realistic characters I have ever read about in a fantasy world.

7. Katniss (from the hunger games by suzanne collins)

MockingjayCoverDo I really need to say anything about Katniss? She was the face of a revolution. She was strong, and flawed. She was a survivor.

6. Saba (from blood red road by moira young)

bloodredroadSo far I have only read the first book in the Dustlands series, but I adore Saba. Another strong character who takes no crap. What I really love about her is her flaws. She is incredibly stubborn, but also very driven. She is cold, but very loyal. Her flaws really highlight her strengths and I love that about her.

5. Katsa (from graceling by kristin cashore)

Graceling_coverAre we sensing a theme with my favorite ladies? Katsa is another badass, who takes no shit. Another character whose flaws highlight her strengths. She is stubborn, and cold, and aggressive, and proud. But underneath all that, she is just a girl who is scared, loyal, and incredibly brave. I love the character development we see with her throughout the series.

4. cleo (from the falling kingdoms series by morgan rhodes)

Gathering DarknessCleo is a different character than the previous ladies I have mentioned, as she is not physically deadly like so many of them are. Her strength comes from her power of manipulation and her intelligence. Throughout the series so far, Cleo has gone through AMAZING character growth. She went from a spoiled princess to someone who believes in something more than herself. She is smart and cunning, and knows how to manipulate a situation, which has made her a strong survivor in this deadly world. I cannot wait to see what happens to her in the rest of the series.

3. Lia (from the kiss of deception by mary e. pearson)

thekissofdeceptionAnother character who is not physically strong, Lia is a character who I instantly fell in love with. She is another example of great character development, even within just the first book in the series. She is loyal and determined, and she is going to end up being such a power player in the rest of this series. She has grown and learned so much in the first book and I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.

2. Kestral (from The winner’s curse by marie rutkowski)

thewinnerscurseKestral was another instant favorite of mine, because the first scene we see her in she is gambling. I love a good morally grey character. Kestral fits the bill of the last few girls I mentioned as well because she is a mentally strong character in a world where physical strength is idealized. But she is able to outwit and outmaneuver those around her with her intelligence and her ability to manipulate a situation to her advantage.

1. alina (from the grisha trilogy by leigh bardugo)

siegeandstormThis should come as no surprise to anyone if you have been watching my recent videos, but my love for Alina knows no bounds. She is such a realistic character for a world that is so unlike our own. I love the way that she embraces her powers, and those moments that she embraces who she is are some of my favorite moments from any book series EVER. I adore her character development and how she grows through each book (we do not talk about the regression in the very end of the last book… it doesn’t exist to me). Her character arc is my favorite from any series I have read thus far. I love her.

Who are some of your favorite heroines?

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken | Review

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Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, Book 1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, December 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Page Count: 488
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Summary (From Goodreads)

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to be blown away by this book, but I was left disappointed. I’m not sure what exactly I was looking for, but I just wanted more.

There were so many aspects I feel very neutral about. The concept and back story was interesting, but it’s something we have all seen before. The plot was extremely slow paced. I found the ending to be very fast, but overall pretty predictable. The characters were believable, but I didn’t find myself getting attached to them until the very end. The romance elements felt a little off. Overall, this book just left me feeling “meh.” I have no strong feelings either way about it.

I would categorize this book as more of a “survivalist” story than a dystopian. The world feels more post-apocalyptic than anything else, so fans of that kind of storyline will probably enjoy this. The characters felt very realistic as well, so if you prefer character driven stories, I would recommend this.

I do plan on continuing with the series, but as of right now, I am in no rush to do so. I hope the next book picks up the pace a little more and is less predictable.