Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—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 corrupted 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.
1. Let’s start with something positive: I really loved the world and Atlantia itself.
So, those who live Below (which, obviously, is below the sea) live in a city called Atlantia. The world is beautiful. It has whimsical colors, beautiful metal trees, and gorgeous architecture. Our protagonist, Rio, is sitting in the temple with her sister, Bay. The book opens on a day where each person of a specific age must choose to stay Below, or to sacrifice their lives in the Above. Bay asks Rio if she can hear Atlantia breathing. And, throughout the book, the readers themselves can hear Atlantia breathing. It really and truly is beautiful world building. I can very clearly picture Atlantia in my head and all of its different sections, temples, and living quarters.
2. I hate Rio more than I’ve hated any main character in recent memory.
Okay, so I hate Rio. She is annoying, repetitive, and cowardly. She is not anything how I wanted this heroine to be. She’s the worst. I hate her. I was really hoping that she would die at some point, and that’s one of the main reasons I even finished. She’s so whiny and all she focuses on is her sadness. I mean, I get it, you’ve lost your family, but at least you’re still alive, right?! You’ll have to read the book to get what I mean, but really, she sucks.
3. With as much as I hated Rio, I did not expect to love her boy toy, True and her aunt, Maire.
So, I updated multiple times in Goodreads how much I hated Rio. Then, as the story progressed, I updated many times about how I wish the story were about True and Maire. I would read those books, because at least those characters are interesting. Maire is supposed to be painted as a villain. She is untrustworthy and unknown to Bay and Rio at first. Then, she shines. She is probably the best character in the book, which is only accentuated by her flaws. Next, True. I thought True was going to be the most basic, ground level love interest for Rio. However, True is smart, insightful, compassionate, and he is never annoying like Rio when it comes to his grief. See? He’s grieving, too! And I actually liked him! Trust me when I say I understand grieving, but for more than half the book I had to listen to Rio whine about how lonely she is. Get over it already.
4. The best part about this book was the end.
I was so bored through most of this. I was really hoping that I wouldn’t be, because the synopsis totally grabbed me. The sirens are so interesting and I’ve always adored the mythology of sirens. I loved the siren part of this book, especially when it came to Maire. But Rio is the worst. Anyway, most of the book is Rio trying to get Above to find her sister. It is insanely repetitive and boring; I was looking forward to the parts where True would show up and tell Rio how stupid she is. The end of the book was the best. It felt like more of the adventure this book should have been instead of the bore-fest I encountered.
OVERALL: 2.5 stars. I’m giving it the extra half star because I loved the last maybe 50 pages. However, I was extremely disappointed in this. I love Ally Condie. I went to ALA over the summer and chose Marie Lu’s line over Condie’s, and I believe I made the right choice 1000%. Click the link below if you’d like to read it. I know you shouldn’t have to take my word for it!