Hi! I’ve decided that after a two week streak, it was time to take a weekend off. My cousins were visiting so I didn’t really have time to read or post, but now I’m back and still insanely pumped to be active on here. So, let’s kick off the week with a review.
- Publication date: September 28, 2021
- Age demographic: Adult
- Genre: Fantasy
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.
Wow, for the first time ever, a book I feared was going to disappoint me greatly (the hype is just… huge), actually did the complete opposite! Although by no means was it perfect, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Or maybe I’m just getting less critical.
I knew very little about this book going in – it was self published at first, it’s dark academia and there’s a secret society, where 6 powerful magicians enter but only 5 make it through the initiation. I thought it sounded interesting and wanted to give it a go, because… why not? Fantasy is my favourite genre, yet I’ve been let down by it a lot in the recent months, so as you can probably guess, my expectations were low.
The Atlas Six is a very character driven story, and I think it’s what makes it so polarising. The people who like it, REALLY like it, and people who don’t, seem to hate it. I think it boils down to the main characters. I’d call every single one of them pretentious and not very likeable. Reina was probably my favourite one and the least offensive to other readers. So, even though I didn’t necessarily like any of the characters as people, I did like them as characters. They fitted the story and the setting. They were meant to be powerful and that they were, some more obviously than others, and so it makes sense they were pretentious and full of themselves and distrustful. It explains why they schemed and constantly questioned other people’s actions, and why they made unlikely alliances. They talked in big words, yet sometimes said nothing of substance – I think that’s the trait and the appeal of dark academia (or really just academia in general). I thought Callum was a really well done “villain” of the story, and Libby the underestimated character turn dark (I think that’s where her story line is going).
I think the book was lacking in plot a bit, but what it lacked there it made up in atmosphere and character drama. I would definitely describe the book as slow paced, but I enjoyed that about it. The characters took precedence over the plot, and I’m absolutely fine with that. Do I think the way the sacrifice was resolved was a bit of a cop out, though? Absolutely. But I can’t tell if I mind yet, not until I see where book 2 leads.
I kind of wish we got more magic explanation. I know the book wasn’t set up to be a magic school kind of a story, but I wish we knew a bit more about people’s abilities and how they really worked. I’m sure it’ll be more of a plot point in the second book – it makes sense that the first one focused on the characters discovering their real potential but being fairly clumsy about it. I am hoping the world expands as I found it quite interesting and promising.
I am very intrigued where Blake will take it from here. I’m so pleased I decided to pick this book up.
Rating and recommendations
For fans of:
dark academia, The Secret History
Have you read The Atlas Six?
Thanks for reading.