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Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Updated: Mar 15, 2022


Release Date: 3rd March 2022

Thank you Tor & NetGalley for my e-arc review copy!


Trigger Warnings (Potential Spoilers): suicide, death, sexual content, violence, murder, alcohol, toxic relationships (familial, romantic/sexual, & platonic).

 

The world's best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.

Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.


It is so so rare that ‘bookstagram/booktok’ books live up to the hype for me. I always expect too much, and I’m always disappointed. My feelings about ‘dark academia’ books are similar, especially novels that lack a certain self-awareness of the troubling elitism and toxicity of academia. I have a love-hate relationship with Tartt’s The Secret History, and when I saw another blogger (I forget who!) describe The Atlas Six as ‘The Secret History but with magic,’ I was apprehensive. As it turns out, my worries were unwarranted: the hype for The Atlas Six is well deserved. The world-building is incredible, the magical system so intricately realised that it's easy to lose yourself in the pages. My desire to learn more about the world and the characters (primary and secondary) drove me through the chapters faster than any other novel I’ve read in years.


The main cast – Libby, Nico, Reina, Tristan, Parisa, and Callum – were each unique, memorable, and compelling characters. Each POV is expertly crafted. I never felt the urge to skip over any of the chapters, which I (shamefully) admit I've done in another multiple POV novel where I found one character is a little dull. When dealing with multiple narrators, it’s often a challenge to, a) decide what character should tell what part of the narrative, and b) make each chapter as indispensable as it is intriguing, with no pointless repetition of plot points. Blakely makes this seem effortless, weaving voices in and out to form a beautiful and satisfying tapestry. (Is the tapestry metaphor overdone? Yes, but I’m using it anyway).


That all being said, if I knew these people in real life, I would avoid them at all costs. They’re a group of intensely dislikeable people. The choices they make are questionable to say the least: using magic to manipulate people’s memories and emotions, passing off infidelity as a form of liberation, and excusing elitism and other very bad things (intentionally vague because spoilers!) in the favour of personal gain, to list just a few examples. However, as characters, I hold a soft spot for each of them. Except for Callum. (Fuck Callum). But I did still enjoy reading his chapters. I like reading about morally grey characters who are both smarter than me and make choices I wouldn’t dream of. What that says about me, well, the less I think about it the better. Although, isn’t that the point of fiction? To find yourself in the shoes of someone so drastically different from yourself, to live a life you never could?


The Atlas Six will pull you in and stay with you after you finish the final chapter. If I have to say one negative thing, it's this: the novel ends on a cliff-hanger and the Atlas Paradox is not expected until autumn. It's going to be a long 8 months!


Star Rating: 5/5


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