Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Atlantia is a young adult dystopian novel by Ally Condie, the author of the Matched trilogy (my review for which can be here).
This novel takes place in a time after the Divide, where there is the Above, ruined by cancerous air, and the Below, underwater cities that have clean air and are supplied with provisions from the Above. The religions became different after the Divide, and the Below worship gods that resemble creatures of the Above, while the Above worships gods that feature creatures from the Below.
The Below had been waiting for three miracles, two of which passed shortly after the move to the underwater cities: bats came from the Above and evolved to live in and match the Below, and sirens were born.
Rio has always wanted to go to the Above, and her twin sister knew this. But upon choosing day, Rio’s twin sister, Bay (only seconds older than Rio) got to chose first, and she chose the Above. Devastated, Rio seeks answers for why her sister would do such a thing, but deep down, Rio already knows why: her sister chose the Above because Rio is a siren, and sirens die in the Above. In this society, at least one family member must stay Below in order to ensure their family carries on, because the above’s air is toxic.
Eventually, the air is once again livable, and the Above finds that is no longer wants to support the Below, despite the loves ones that remain. They find sirens to be a bad omen rather than a miracle, but the sirens are there to save.
Rio trains herself everyday trying to find a way to get to the Above. There are limited options. One can get to the Above as a dead body, being a council member, or trying to swim through the ocean past explosive mines set there to keep the people in the Below. Eventually, Rio finds a way, and she must save her voice for the sinister haters of the Above in order to bring peace to both worlds.
Of course there is a lot of other stuff going on as well. Rio investigates her suspicion that her mother didn’t just die, but was murdered. She seeks help from a powerful siren: her aunt, and she meets a boy named True, whose best friend also left Atlantia for the Above. True helps Rio with her training, but Rio keeps her secrets and True keeps his.
I really enjoyed this book and found it to be fresh. Even though the concept has been seen before, it was presented in an artfully appealing way, and I would say YES, you should read this book.