Can you hear Atlantia breathing?– 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.
I love the Matched trilogy and I really wanted to see what else Condie wrote. This sounded like a Little Mermaid retelling and it is in a lot of elements, but do you know what else it is?
Little Mermaid Dystopia.
I loved the premise of this, the ideas and world building -that we got to see- but the fact it’s a standalone might have actually hurt the book rather than make it stronger. The ideas have no room to grow with such a short time frame to work with. So much that I was so fascinated by was half fleshed out and tossed to the side as we had to see the plot push forward, the length did the ideas a disservice.
That also suffered from being cut back instead of letting grow into perhaps a duology at the least. This would have allowed Condie to really go in-depth with this underwater city instead of tossing what she could at us and leaving confusion behind. The Sirens themselves were fascinating but their origins unclear and their purpose even more so. I still don’t quite get their connection with Above but I won’t say more so I won’t spoil it.
The romance was unnecessary but also not horrible, I did enjoy the interactions between Rio and her love interest. The real connection was between her and her Aunt (dystopia take on Ursula) and her sister and the previous connection between her and her mom. So much was about love in a sisterly/familial bond.
Once it was clear the story had to start wrapping up it felt like it took off from 50 to 100.
The Above and Below suffered so much from this rush and if it weren’t for the sheer delight I had in the creativity of this world I might have rated it lower but I overall did like it enough to be intrigued and want to know more. The ending was pretty satisfying but the last hurdle of the book before that was just so rushed.
Overall 3/5 cups of coffee from me because I freakin applaud the thought put into this even if it didn’t quite pan out.