Sunday, 23 November 2014

Atlantia by Allie Condie : Review

Atlantia

Having started this book with considerable misgivings , I must say I am not enthusiastic about sirens, the new novel my Allie Condie greatly surprised me .I expected a romantic fairy tale and instead I found a compelling story about love,sacrifice and the never ending human thirst for power.

The novel depicts a world divided between the citizens living above on the ground and the ones living below the surface of the sea.The descriptions of the submerged city of Atlantia , the temple with its metal trees, the deepmarket with stalls selling saffron scented pure air, the gondolas and the plaza conjure up images of an underwater Venice.A wonderful place to live in ,except for the lack of sunlight ; a miracle of engineering and collaborative work which unfortunately is on the brink of extinction.

Rio, the main character , whose name means river in Spanish ,is a strong-willed girl who has lost everything and everyone that mattered to her. She is the last siren in a world where being a mermaid is considered threatening.However, after spending her whole life in silence to keep her secret , she finds the strength to speak up and fend for herself .It is difficult to explain the learning process Rio goes through without giving away too much, I will only reveal that she overcomes prejudices and misconceptions that abound both in our society and in our own families.


What fascinated me about this novel ,apart from the beautiful setting, was the idea that despite evil and greed humankind has a chance to live peacefully, that enemies can manage to live together and help each other. Neither the ones above nor  the ones below  are  defeated , they find a way for both societies to thrive.I guess I am a dreamer!

Ally Condie has written a novel worth a film adaptation, that will appeal to readers of many genres , a tale told by a siren ,full of sea water and hope.

I bought this shell when I was a foolish tourist travelling around in Cartagena de Indias, I keep it as a reminder of how the greed of some and the stupidity of others can destroy the environment.

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