Wandering in the markets after the sudden departure of Bay, Rio muses on the history of Atlantia; "The story is that the Minister at the time had a dream, in which the gods told him that our city should be patterned after the grand cities of old. The Minister saw Atlantia clearly in his dream - a beautiful place of temples and churches set on plazas. He saw colorful buildings with shops on the ground floor and apartments rising above them, and boulevards and streets connecting everything together. Of course, it all had to be underwater" (15).
This beautiful example of world-building likens to city of Atlantia to historical cities, and also describes the things that make the city unique: its bright colors, emphasis on temples and other houses of worship, and of course, its underwater location.
Walking in the Above
After escaping the slaughter of the sirens, True and Rio walk freely in the Above, though they do not speak for fear that their accents might give them away. Rio is delighted with the rough but lively appearance of the Above; "The buildings are dirt- and dusk-colored, not the bright hues of Atlantia. Someone brushes against me accidentally and nods in apology but doesn't stop. I have never seen so many people moving so quickly. The Above teems with inhabitants" (252).
This passage compares the colors of Atlantia and the Above, and emphasizes the large numbers of people in the Above. The reaction of the person who bumps into Rio also suggests that people in the Above are more curt than the warm and gentle people of Atlantia.
When Rio sees the Above for the first time, she observes that, "it is all glinting light and moving air, light coming down from the sky and reflecting on the water, on the metal bridge that leads from the transport to the shore, air touching every inch of my skin, warm" (233).
This passages vividly describes Rio's first experience in the open air; her primary impressions are those of warmth, light, and brightness, which makes sense given that she has lived her entire life thus far in an underwater world.
The Siren's Island
After she and her sister reunite the people of the Above and the Below, Rio spends some time with her sister on the island where the sirens were killed, which is a beautiful place despite its tragic history. The place is described thus, "The salty water feels cool, and in this season the sky's colors are softer, pink and blue. When I take off my shoes and walk on the sand with my bare feet, it feels grainy and separate, instead of a warm smooth whole" (301).
This sentence conveys both the vivid colors visible from the island as well as the feeling of the sand beneath Rio's bare feet. Additionally, the sentence also describes both the temperature and quality of the water nearby.
Atlantia Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Atlantia is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.