Thursday, February 9, 2012

Atlantis by Lisa Graves

Title: Atlantis
Series: Atlantis
Author: Lisa Graves
Length: 4572 Kindle units
Rating: 3 stars

The Plot

Lilly meets Elliot, and she knows there is something special about him. As the two grow closer, Lilly begins to realize that though they share a secret connection, they do not exist on the same plane. As it becomes harder for them to communicate with each other, Lilly must take increasingly desperate steps to be with him, but is she willing to give up everything to be with her true love?

The Good

Atlantis was different than other books in the genre of YA paranormal, and it’s always good to be reading something I haven’t read a hundred times before. Everything to do with Lilly and Elliott’s relationship – the way they communicate, the method of travel, the place where they meet – is unique.

The characters in Atlantis felt very real to me. The people behaved in a consistent manner, feeling the emotions that were appropriate. I didn’t feel like anyone stepped outside their expected behaviors simply for narrative convenience. Lilly and her friends shared speech patterns that made them seem like they had been friends for a long time. Even Lilly’s mother and sister, who were not in the novel very much, had traits behaviors that made them come alive.

Also, Lilly had a large grey cat named Theory. I decided that it looked like my sister’s cat Princess.

The Bad

As I was reading Atlantis, I found myself experiencing a number of negative emotions. First, I was confused. At the beginning of the story, Lilly and Elliott have just met, but it seems as if they have known each other longer than that. Eventually I got into the rhythm of the story, but I remained confused because even after reading the whole thing, I am not sure what the mythology is in this universe. It seems to involve some cross of dreams, time travel, reincarnation, and psychic powers, but I’m really not sure how all these things fit together.

The second emotion that struck me was fear; for about 2/3 of the novel, I was actually afraid for Lilly’s life and sanity. She realizes that she may be hallucinating Elliott, and instead of getting checked out by a licensed mental health professional, she continues to do increasingly dangerous things to try to see him more often. I realize that, as my sister has told me, I do not always adequately control for teenagers doing stupid things when they are in love. But I do know what it’s like to be a teenager who literally feels like she might be going crazy, and it is the most terrifying thing in the world. And since no one in the book seemed sufficiently scared for Lilly, I had to take that burden onto myself.

Finally, as I got toward the end of the book, I started to dislike Lilly. I don’t want to go into too many details for fear of spoilers, but when Lilly starts manipulating people so that she can see Elliott – who may well be a figment of her imagination – I don’t really want to read about her anymore.

The Romance

In Atlantis I found myself in the unfortunate position that all fans of teen paranormal romance will find themselves in on occasion: I was on Team Wrong Boy. Elliott is set up as Lilly’s perfect love from the beginning, but the only things we really know about him are that Lilly feels an “connection” to him and that he is encouraging her to continue doing risky things to see him. Nicholas, on the other hand, has been Lilly’s friend for years, shares interests with her, and is repeatedly supportive of her during what, from the outside, resembles a schizophrenic break. (And, honestly, from the inside, it kind of does too.) So I don’t know how the majority of readers feel, but I’m definitely voting for Nicholas here. And Lilly is clearly on Team Elliott.

Will I read more?

I confess to some curiosity about the world and how everything will fit together, though I don’t think I’m curious enough to read another book. I don’t see enough evidence in Atlantis that the mythology will come together to form a comprehensive whole. It is possible all the pieces will align as the big reveal at the end of the story, but I’m not super-confident that this will be the outcome.

Plus, I’m really only interested in reading more books if the series ends in a particular way. (Endings are super-important to me and can impact how I feel about an entire series.) I can make a compelling case of Atlantis hints at my preferred ending, but it’s still enough of a long shot that I probably won’t pick up the next book.

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