Penguin (US & CA: 28th October 2014; UK & AU: 6th November 2014)
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My suspension of disbelief can only be so strong for so long before it collapses. Atlantia is a mind-boggler. To the author’s credit, Ally Condie does try to describe the actual world-building: the city of Atlantia is underwater, inside giant, connected “bubbles”. But I can’t properly imagine the engineering and logistics required to build a city and move it into these “bubbles”, or bring the materials INTO the bubbles, and build them inside. What are these bubbles made of, and how are they connected?
Then there’s the matter of the “floodgates”: you go into the empty room, lie down the corpse, and then vacate. There’s some button or lever to use, and the room floods with water. The corpse rises, and…exits? Then somehow the water is drained, so the room is empty again. I CANNOT FIGURE THIS OUT. I can kind of picture it, but can’t understand the structure and drainage.
The book gets better, though, or at least more interesting. I gave up trying to understand, and the story picks up from thereon. There are mysteries to solve: why did the narrator’s sister choose to live Above, and who killed their mother? When revealed, the answers are anti-climactic, but at least the second half of the book is much better than the first.
Rio Conwy is an alright heroine, working towards her goal by breaking it down into components. While her swimming efforts are fabulous, a little knowledge of lungs and pressure would have cut out that plotline altogether. Albeit, her training isn’t for nothing in the end, though it does come across as a bit of a waste.