Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction.
Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.

When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.

Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.

Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

The blurb for this really grabbed my attention, it had so many things that I enjoy in a book, sectret society, a hidden library, a great sounding magical system (and the cover is awesome too). Unfortunately when it came to reading the book this one turned out to be a DNF for me.

I was gripped at the beginning as we are introduced to Libby and Nico, start learning a little of their world and the antagonistic yet somehow reliant relationship between the two of them. As focus shifted to some of our other protagonists and the introductions happened in a largely similar way the narrative started to feel a little sluggish. Even though each of the characters were interesting in their own right the repetition didn’t let them shine as they could have done.

Bringing all the characters together in a group should have been an opportunity for another launching point in to the story, instead I found myself not really engaging with any of them. None of them made me want to root for them, or were even captivating as a morally ambiguous or darker character. I don’t mind if not all characters are likable but they do have to have something that makes me want to keep reading them. Unfortunately for me none of these characters had that.

I can see why other would love this. The magical system is intriguing with lots of disciplines available and some people having an innate ability within one of them. If you are a reader who visualises as you read then the descriptions of the building would add to the feal of the world (I’m not, I can’t see images as I read). It was just one of those books that for some reason didn’t work for me even though everything about it says I should have loved it.

I found I was having to force myself to pick the book up and at that point I realised I didn’t want to keep reading it either – a DNF for me.

With thanks to Netgalley and Tor for a digital copy in exchange for honest review.

The Atlas Six will publish on 3rd March 2022