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The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake – ARC Review!

Six magicians. Two rivalries. One researcher. And a man who can walk through dreams. All must pick a side: do they wish to preserve the world—or destroy it? In this electric sequel to the viral sensation, The Atlas Six, the society of Alexandrians is revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way. But the cost of knowledge is steep, and as the price of power demands each character choose a side, which alliances will hold and which will see their enmity deepen?”

As with The Atlas Six, The Atlas Paradox is a story that is near impossible to sum up without giving away spoilers, but while book one meandered a little too much for me, and left me with too many questions, this story starts bringing all the little pieces, all the hints and foreshadowing together to make for an electric sequel.

If there is one thing Blake does incredibly well, it’s show us the intricacies, the complication and depth of her characters. While they did some questionable things in the first book they still remained, for the most part, somewhat good. There was a nae-vitae to them, a belief that their time at the society could help change the world for the better. But in this book they start to question just what, or who, they are truly working for, why the society picked them specifically. Blake’s use of character pov’s especially when we jump ahead, or behind in time is incredibly well done, and, as a lover of a character driven story, I adore how much time we get to spend in their heads learning about their beliefs, their trauma and how delicate they all truly are. We do get the addition of a few other POV’s that I can’t talk about too much because… spoilers, however, they all add an impact in some way to the story, whether it be to further our MC’s story, or to drop little hints as to future/past events.

Alliances that were held in book one seemed to dissipate through this story as our characters not only learned more about themselves and why they were there, but also as their true priorities came to light. I did say that Black shows the intricacies of humanity incredibly well, and she does that by showing the weaving of alliances. Through these we get a better understanding of our characters, namely Reina and Callum, whose development were lacking in the first book, and I have to say, despite the super villain thing Reina had going in, I loved delving into their psyche’s more. Meanwhile, despite all the odds Tristain and Nico build a tentative alliance, started over their shared need to bring Libby back from wherever she was, and furthered when they realise that their abilities compliment each other. And, as usual Parisa watched on from the outskirts, her own plan in motion.

There was a sinister undercurrent running through this story that, despite the overhanging death, was missing from the first book. In the Atlas Six, I felt that Blake spent a significant portion of the book delving into our characters academic lives, showing them testing their powers, learning what they were truly capable of, and while this certainly propelled the character growth, it almost stalled the actual plot. Something I don’t think was helped by us going in knowing that one of the characters would die. But with the Atlas Paradox, Blake seemed to take the underlying tension and drama from the first book and just tripled it. Was it because we never quite knew what was going to happen? Where the story was truly going? I’m not sure, but I do feel like having the big reveals kept secret ensured that I felt more engrossed in the story, cared a little more for the characters and found myself significantly more invested than I was in the first book.

My ships sailed!… Kinda. There was significantly less steamy, or murderous scenes in this book which was a bit of a disappointment, but I do feel like we got to see our characters on a more personal scale. We learnt more about their insecurities, their wants and needs, which made the book have a more personal feel to it. Black did manage to through a few physical and emotional declarations in there, but it lacked the electricity that was ever present in book one, when we never knew whether out characters wanted to murder or fuck each other.

Basically, if you enjoyed The Atlas Six, I do think you would enjoy this. Blake managed to get even more character development, which is a feat after book one, but there were plenty more WTAF moments, that propelled the story along at a faster pace than the first and that ending! That ending was fucking epic and had me absolutely desperate to get my hands on the next book.

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