Book Reviews for Ally Condie's "Atlantia" and Ilima Todd's "Remake"

AtlantiaAtlantia by Ally Condie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to get an Advance Readers Copy of Ally Condie's "Atlantia."

I'll try not to give out any spoilers here (even if you want me to), but I will say that this is a wonderful story of independence, loyalty, family relationships, love, and sacrificing for the greater good.

I like the fact that this book kind of deals with 2 (well also mentions a 3rd) civilizations. While it focuses mainly on one, you get glimpses into the other. The one it focuses on, Atlantia, is fascinating and created wonderful visuals for me. (I'm ready for a whole Disneyland or Sea World theme park just focused on this place). It was nice to "live" in an undersea world for a while and not in the usual grime of dystopian futuristic novels.

I appreciated Condie's ability to focus on the inner struggles of Rio, the main character, while giving us the sense of the personalities and struggles of the other characters as well. I'm not a fan of when authors jump out of the main character's head and into another's just to be able to tell the whole story. But Condie didn't do this and was still able to tell the WHOLE story.  I love that Rio is a strong female character who makes her own choices without ever sounding like she's whining, even when she gets frustrated or down.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the book, (I'll leave out a line though, which I also like, because I don't want to give too much away). This almost sounds like a line out of the author's personal diary (or one out of any teenager's):

"When I was growing up, I often felt trapped by the constraints of my voice, the concerns of my family, the confines of my city. ...I know I am no longer trapped."

RemakeRemake by Ilima Todd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to get an ARC of this book. Lucky me! When it's available to all, I highly suggest picking it up. Fun, yet thoughtful read.

On the surface, it's a story about gender, choice, and freedom. However, it made me think much deeper about how the relationships we form actually free us to be who we really are, how the choices we make others may see as confining and limiting to our personal freedom. However, those relationships and choices actually make us grow and become more than we ever could have without them.

This book fit right in the dystopian genre, however I really liked the imagery and real-world elements of the island life in the middle. It made me feel even more connected to the world she created (maybe that's because I dream of living the island life). Some people may say, "oh this part is like this other book where people get to be made pretty," or "she named the main character NINE...she must've just added the number 5 to FOUR from that other book." But even though parallels can be drawn (LIKE WITH EVERY OTHER BOOK THAT IS IN THE SAME GENRE), Ilima does a great job in making every character and plot choice relevant to the book. So don't hate on the parts that cause you to possibly reflect on other books or stories. All stories spring from the same elements, and when a book is a specific genre, there are specific elements that MUST be there to put it in that genre. But honestly, I enjoyed this book much more than those other two I slightly referenced above.

I also thought the author created a believable, not-so-distant future, type of world ironically named Freedom. Yes, they have the freedom to choose who they will be on the outside, however, they are distracted by that superficial choice into giving up other freedoms. I think we are often distracted by the superficial in todays world, forgetting what's really important.

The author crafts the story in a way to help the reader and the character within the story naturally form opinions on what is really important in life. Can't wait to read more from Ilima Todd!

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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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