The Atlas Six – Olivie Blake

Damn this book. In an elevator pitch, I’d describe it as sexy and compelling – it’s that kind of book. Once you get sucked into it, you just can’t stop. I’m so glad I’ve got my reading mojo back thanks to these lovely publicists sending me the exact right books to get me out of my slump – The Atlas Six and Blood Scion worked wonders! This is one of the most hyped releases of this spring, and I hate to say it, but the hype is correct…

Massive thanks to Black Crow PR and UK Tor for spoiling me and sending me an ARC. All opinions are entirely my own.

RELEASE DATE: 03/03/2022

STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

SUMMARY: The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.

Most of them. (from Tor)

OPINIONS: There are many different things I tend to like about books. But selfish people in an academic setting, competing, sleeping with each other and other people and a healthy dose of backstabbing and magic is a formula that never fails to grip me. And The Atlas Six can compete with the best of them in that regard. It is the sort of book you just have to devour once you get stuck in, the kind that makes you stay up far later than you’d like because you simply need to know how it ends. And now I am eagerly waiting for book two…

It is not highbrow or necessarily the most creative story out there. It is made up of a slew of tropes, but I think that’s exactly where this book’s charm lies. It takes many of the elements from books we’ve all read and loved growing up and turns them into pure entertainment. In some ways, The Atlas Six is a The CW show of fantasy books – glossy, full of beautiful people who really are horrible, and compulsively readable, pure escapism. And for me personally, that’s exactly what made it resonate so much. Taking these shiny elements that made it fun, adding a good pinch of escapism and combining that with the magic school and library setting that I click with as a book nerd? You’ve got a winning formula there.

And despite the characters all being objectively terrible and selfish people with moral issues, I loved basically all of them. For me, that speaks to good writing – because them being interesting mattered more than them being actually likeable, and they charmed their way into my heart anyways. I think my favourite was probably Libby, disaster bisexual that she is, with her weird rivalry with Nico, bordering on obsession. But honestly, all I want to do is start rereading the book again. I have a feeling this may become a comfort read…

Add The Atlas Six to your Goodreads here, and pre-order a copy via Bookshop here (affiliate link), though it’s worth checking if Waterstones, Illumicrate or Fairyloot still have any of their announced special editions available…

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