STAR RATING: 4.5 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 482
WHAT SERIES? The Atlas Series
WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Atlas Six
HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 2
CW: Suicide, death, sexual content, violence, murder
IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
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.
When I originally added The Atlas Six to my TBR, I knew very little about it, other than the fact that it had been praised over and over by pretty much everyone. Then, as time went on, I saw more and more critical reviews, which lessened my enthusiasm in finally getting my hold from the library. More than once, I thought about removing my hold entirely, and just abandoning The Atlas Six altogether.
I’m glad I didn’t.
While The Atlas Six isn’t perfect, it is a wildly imaginative, delightfully twisty story. Nothing really happens in way that you expect it to. I saw more than a few people with this book on their One-Word Review Top Ten Tuesday posts this week — the one word I saw that sums it up best is betrayal. However, the betrayal I was dreading the most does not actually happen. I kept gearing up for it to, for something absolutely atrocious to happen by one character in particular, but it never did. Thank goodness. The reveal at the end…it had me hooked, I tell you. I WAS HOOKED.
That half star I’ve docked is because at the same time the book is twisty, almost nothing action-y happens for a good chunk of the book. The story is driven by the characters, and how they relate to one another. If you’re looking for something that’s full of battles, full of physical magical attacks, well, look elsewhere. You won’t find it here. Around 70% of the way through the novel, I was a little bored. However, after a few chapters, things picked up again and it all caught my interest once more. There also isn’t a whole lot about what they’re doing at the Library. It’s all just…almost hand-waved, or vaguely described. I wish there had been more about that, honestly.
The characters are what makes this novel as great as it is. Libby, Nico, Reina, Tristan, Parisa, and Callum are all vastly different, and they all have incredible personalities on the page. Without a doubt, Libby and Nico are my favorites. They twirl around each other, and are described as binary stars — always in orbit, one can’t exist without the other. I love that.
I will absolutely pick up the next book in this series when it comes out later this year!