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The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake – ARC Review!

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. 

I received an arc of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Yes… I gave into the hype. The Atlas Six was a book I was incredibly wary to pick up, it turns out for semi-valid reasons, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be definitely picking up the sequel. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past few months then you will have already heard about this book so I’ll make this a quick overview. 6 people picked by the Alexandrian Society for their skills, told they have one year to qualify for initiation when they will have the full wealth of knowledge the library holds open to them. The catch? Only 5 will make it. What follows is a story filled with vivid characters and a not too well built magic system, but a story that I loved nonetheless.

The strength of this book most definitely comes from it’s characters. We spend a lot of time learning about their pasts and presents, what types of magics they have, how they came to be selected by the society. Libby, Nico, Tristan, Callum, Reina & Parisa are all selected because they have skills that no one else possesses, they are the elite in their own specific magical skill set’s but personality wise, they couldn’t be more different. Some characters I instantly bonded with, others took a little time and some I just never warmed too at all but they are all morally grey, some slightly darker than others, and they have all joined the society to further their own goals, for their own personal reasons. If Blake does one thing incredibly well it’s write vivid & complicated characters that absolutely jump off the page, which is good because they absolutely save the book.

The magic system was… under-developed to say the least. We almost get chucked in at the deep end, there’s no easing into the world, or magic and while I understood and enjoyed reading about most of the characters using their powers, there were some that I just couldn’t get my head round. There’s also a whole bunch of unanswered questions. Where does the magic come from? How come only certain people can access it? I should say that, even though we lacked a lot of information it never quite annoyed me enough to stop reading and, thanks to the strength of the characters, I found it near impossible to put down.

The writing style was a little too descriptive in parts and there was a whole bunch of introspection that just wasn’t needed, didn’t further the plot and could have easily been cut. So I guess I’m saying this book could be a whole bunch shorter and I would have enjoyed it more. It takes a big portion of the book before we get to anything really ‘interesting,’ and I do think that the fact one of the characters has to die should have been kept a secret because it just didn’t pack the emotional punch I think it was meant to when it was revealed. That being said, towards the end of the book we get an additional POV that adds a spanner into the works and ensures that you and the characters question everything you’ve been told so far. This definitely made an impact on whether I would want to pick up the second book & made sure I raced through the last few chapters.

The romance was messy, as you would imagine with a bunch of young people being stuck together for a year. It got a little steamy in parts, but there was only really one romance arc that had any true impact on the story. I’ve seen a few people’s pairings and some of them I get, some of them I don’t at all, so I’m intrigued to see where the authors going to take them in the second book.

I know the above seems slightly more negative than positive but, for a book that lacked in pacing and could have done will significantly more development in parts I genuinely enjoyed it & gave it 3.5 stars. If you, like me, enjoy character focused reads then this is definitely the book for you. However, if you prefer a more plot focused approach, you might want to give this one a miss. I’m excited for book two, especially seeing as it’s out later this year and will definitely be picking it up.

10 replies »

  1. This was one of my disappointments so far this year. I didn’t really care about of the characters enough to bother finding out what happens next. I did love the last few chapters though. I just thought it could have been so much better.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep hearing about this one too, so I was expecting a slam dunk. A bit disappointed to read that there were quite a few flaws or improvements that could have been made. I’ll keep an eye out at the library to see if it’s worth the hype! I at least have to check out these characters and Blake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s definitely worth the read if you’re prefer more character to plot driven stories & I think, with the amount of mixed reviews, one that’s worth checking out for yourself 😊

      Like

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