Title: The Atlas Six
Author: Olivie Blake
Series: The Atlas #1
Genre: Dark Academia/Fantasy
Audience: New Adult
Length: 470 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 1, 2022 (first published January 31, 2020)
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Recommended for fans of: Ninth House, The Raven Cycle
Content Warnings: suicide, suicidal thoughts, death, violence, emotional abuse, physical abuse
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.
I LOVED this NA dark academia fantasy. It gave off similar vibes to books like Ninth House and The Raven Boys. I thoroughly enjoyed the wry, cynical, intellectual tone of the writing. The scientific magic system was fascinating, but it requires extra brain power (this is not a good bedtime book). While it took me a bit to settle into the story and keep track of the characters, I grew to appreciate their diversity, uniqueness, and moral grayness. I still have so many questions about magic in this world outside of The Alexandrian Society.
That being said, if you do not like character-driven stories, The Atlas Six will not be for you. Almost the entire plot of this 470-page book can be gleaned from the synopsis: the world’s six most powerful young magicians (medeians) are recruited to join a secret society. At the end of a year, only five will be initiated. They study magic. They improve at magic. They interact with each other. It’s all very mysterious.
The story developed slowly but steadily, with the characters learning more and more about themselves, the true potential of their magic, and what it truly means to be a member of The Alexandrian Society. Just when I thought I knew how this story was going to end, some twists at the end completely blew me away and left me so impatient for book two.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC.