Title: The Atlas Six
Author: Olivie Blake
Series: The Atlas #1
Release Date: 3/3/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 47
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free copy from UKTor ,via Black Crow PR in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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.
I would be surprised if anyone in the Bookish Communities that have not heard of this book yet. It even has the Marketing tagline "Tiktok Made Me Buy it" it is certainly a hyped book. It is worth the hype! It is dark academia fantasy at its finest. I absolutely loved this
First – We have Post Grads, and older protagonists in an academic setting! This makes me Post-Doctoral heart really happy. Personally to see older academically accomplished individuals in fantasy is so much fun. The competitive edge between them was a little unrealistic to me as in my experience the post grad environment (Particularly in science subjects). They are not particularly competitive environments and are more about building a cohort and a relationship, as you focus on your own private projects. However, I liked how the initial stand-offish, credential and metaphorical dick swinging, all played into how all the candidates built relationships over the book. It also allowed us to get to know each of them and for such a character driven story this was fantastic.
The prose is so exquisite. It can seem pretentious and flowery but it just suits the atmosphere so well. Creating such diverse, sexy, fierce and devious characters, who are torn between perpetually wanting to kill each other or sleep with each other and I was living for all the tension! I loved them all and hated them all, and wanted to climb into the pages and give them the good slap they needed.
Due to the focus being on the inter-personal relationships, the plot is slow but I really didn’t care. There was so much going on between the characters and in there own internal monologues that I was happy just getting to know them more and more and watching how all the relationships develop. The ending was a little predictable to me. There were some very clear and obvious elements for foreshadowing, but again I was just enjoying this so much I didn’t so much mind.
Lastly, that magic system was Science based!!! We know I love a good science based magic system, especially when its actually half decent science, or at least looked at more than a couple of Wikipedia articles as sources based science. I was living for the technical elements of this book. i loved how all the different aspects of power worked and how they were rationalised within how we understand the world scientifically. I loved the twisting of known Scientific Theory to add magical elements. This just made me want to explore this world even more. Ok I am always going to want more, I want to know more about this world, the magical politics, magical accounting, magical science all of which we were given brief glimpses of, but I always want more magical minutia in my books.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. I can see why it can be polarizing if you love your heavy action packed plots, or you are not a fan of the show off heavily flourished academic style of language these characters use when attempting to prove they are the biggest and the baddest of them all, then this isn’t the book for you. But if you love magical schools that are filled with drama but are looking to see a more adult cast swinging their weight around, with all the anxiety, imposter syndrome and bravado that entails I think you will love this one.