I enjoyed myself immensely reading The Atlas Six.
The hype was pretty intense for this one. (It went from self-published book to getting a cult following fandom online and then due to that it was picked up by Tor Books for a big deal…I think it’s even optioned for a movie now? So wild origin story.) And usually I’m at odds with the hype these days (tragically) but this suited me utterly and thoroughly. I also listened to the audiobook and couldn’t recommend it enough. I’s a full-cast narration and has 6 different voices. Usually I find so many narrators overwhelming, but I loved how this one unravelled.
The Atlas Six is about secret societies and the Library of Alexandria. It’s dark academia and uncoils a story around the power of exclusive knowledge, arcane sacrifices, and magicians getting drunk on their own power. It is slam packed with magic, in an academic and somewhat philosophical way. A lot of the science-mathy scenes went over my head, but I still really enjoyed those sections. Compelling if ostentatious. There’s lots of unravelled psyche and messing with heads too, and I loved always love that.
Six incredibly powerful magicians are invited to the exclusive Alexandrian Society. If they get through their first year of initiation, they will be full members. Six are chosen, five can go through. But the five have to kill the one. We have two physicists, an empath, mind-reader, illusionist, and a naturalist.
I loved the insane levels of magic powers, how these six are clever and powerful and academic rivals, each arrogant but also longing to be part of something more. It is so very character driven and the dynamics were fascinating.
Tristan ended up being my pessimistic favourite. Nico and Libby were the ADHD/autistic duo, I cannot be convinced otherwise. (Literally Libby is just so autistic, I adored it. I also liked that though they are locked in a frenemy-enemy dynamic, they aren’t slated to be a couple at all.) I liked Parisa; she definitely wants to burn the world down but she is beautiful and we’d let her. Reina hates people, loves books so thoroughly relatable. And Callum can go choke.
However overall I have to admit…nothing happens. I kept waiting for plot to start, but genuinely it’s full of conversations and discoveries and mindscapes and all that. But that saying, I was not bored! I’m not sure how I feel about the very final twist but I do want the sequel asap.
It’s an academic and twisty introspective dark academia with a rotting undercurrent of magic and power. These six people could make or break worlds and you can’t look away from the process.
Title: The Atlas Six
Author: Olivie Blake
Date Published: March 1st, 2022
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Purchase: Book Depository, Blackwells
Add it on Goodreads
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.