Book Review: The Atopia Chronicles, a Heavy Read

Atopia Chronicles, by Matthew Mather, is one of the few books I actually borrowed from the library a while back. I buy most of my books these days–used or new on Amazon or Audible, at garage sales and library sales–for a variety of reasons. And I borrowed it through OverDrive, the library ebook app, which was awesome. If you like to check out books from the library, I definitely recommend this (although you often have to wait in long virtual lines for some books).

While at first I was intrigued by the premise of this book, which is that Earth’s elite humans have flocked to an idyllic, enormous, corporate-owned artificial island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to escape the rest of what has become a too-polluted planet, I was ultimately disappointed. It’s epic sci-fi in terms of its scale, with very detailed explorations of a society taken over by technology, and is a compilation of several peoples’ stories.

What Atopia Chronicles is About

In the near future, to escape the crush and clutter of a packed and polluted Earth, the world’s elite flock to Atopia, an enormous corporate-owned artificial island in the Pacific Ocean. It is there that Dr. Patricia Killiam rushes to perfect the ultimate in virtual reality: a program to save the ravaged Earth from mankind’s insatiable appetite for natural resources.

What I Liked About It

Of course, in a book like this, the world building, or descriptions of this different world, has got to be thorough and imaginative and unique. If not, the whole book, like all big sci-fi books, falls flat on its face. The worldbuilding also has to be integrated into the story, as opposed to just being done in long tracts of text. I thought Mathew did a good job of this.

What I Didn’t Like About It

The main thing I thought could have been done better, to make this book stronger, was to have taken out half of the characters and their stories. The theme could have been conveyed twice as strongly in half as many pages. None of those stories are really related to the others, so you spend the whole book jumping from story to story.

And some of the characters were…well, just really not relatable. I almost didn’t read past the first chapter because the first main character is so not likable. If I were Matthew Mather, I would have picked any one but her to start the compilation.

Who Would Like This Book

If you’re a fan of books like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley or Foundation by Isaac Asimov, then this book might appeal to you. It’s thought-provoking, heavy, and elaborate.

Nutrition Facts, Gifs, Stars, Etc.

As mentioned, I don’t have the book in my possession anymore, so I can’t provide a nutrition facts label. But I can give it four out of ten stars, and give you this gif to illustrate how I felt when I read it:

via GIPHY

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