The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is one of the best reads I’ve had in 2022. This review is way overdue, but I was in no way capable of writing it after finishing the book. It had to settle. A big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book. That was spectacular luck.
You know how it happens. You’re on Twitter, you’re deep into the book community – it’s inevitable not to come across the most hyped books. As it happens, those were Olivie Blake books, and more specifically – The Atlas Six. I’m always skeptical when it comes to books that quickly become the talk of the town – as it happens, the hype creates unrealistic expectations. So, I avoid both the hype and the book.
Am I glad that I gave in and requested this one! The Atlas Six genre is somewhere between Young Adult, New Adult, and Urban Fantasy. I’m very careful when diving into these genres at this point in my life (I’ll be 30 in a month and obsessed with sci-fi and grimdark). But I’d say the book is a low-key psycho-thriller. Let’s dive right into the review and find out why!
Olivie Blake’s Plot
Olivie Blake created the foundations of a world with potential. A world that doesn’t know it shares space with the so-called Alexandrian Society – academics with magical powers, caretakers of knowledge. And yes, you won’t be wrong to call them stingy hoarders.
“Knowledge is carnage. You can’t have it without sacrifice.”
Every 10 years, the six most gifted medeians are invited to the Society. On one condition – they have to spend a year together before qualifying for initiation into the Society. And even then, only five of them will be initiated. Their recruiter – Atlas Blakely, though, omits a crucial detail. The one who’s not chosen for initiation will pay the ultimate price.
Of course, eventually, all of the potential initiates find that out. And that’s where things get interesting. I’ll be honest – up to this point, the book was a lot of flowery prose and a whole lot of nothing going on. But once they figure out what happens to the sixth of them, the book doesn’t disappoint.
The Atlas Six: Characters
You guessed it! The book revolves around six central figures – the sworn frenemies Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, the aloof Reina Mori, the femme fatale Parisa Kamali, the lost lamb Tristan Caine, and the bored one – Callum Nova. And when I say “revolves”, I mean the book is character-focused. At first, I was surprised there was little to no action in an urban fantasy, but it eventually started making sense.
This whole book is one big mind game. Its advantages can be found in the way characters communicate and interact with each other. To be fair, their interactions felt forced at first. But as they started growing and their motives and stories were revealed, the hexagon of their relationships eventually became the heart of the story.
That probably won’t come as a surprise to most who’ve already read the book, but my favorite characters were definitely Nico and Gideon (despite him being a secondary character). And even though their plotline wasn’t quite related to the overarching narrative, I really enjoyed their dynamic and friendship. I hated Callum the most, but the story needed an obvious villain.
As a whole, I think the characters have some more to grow. And while, at first, it annoyed me a bit that they talked like royalty from a forgotten century, it fit the book’s atmosphere. I really hope we see them become multifaceted in The Atlas Six sequel.
The Atlas Six Age Rating & Warnings
The book is ripe with disturbing content. Alongside manipulation and non-explicit intimacy, you’ll find mind control, death of a family member, all the way to suicide. I’d say it’s not suitable for teens, and I very much doubt it’s been written with them in mind. Yet, I’d bet you tons of teens are reading it, so take a second and think it through, if you intend to gift the book to a younger sibling or even your own teen kid.
The Atlas Six: Review Verdict
If you’re into dark stories filled with mind games, schemes, and backstabbing, you should read The Atlas Six. It is a grim world with plenty of trigger warnings, but it’s also fun and almost scored the 5* with me. If flowery prose isn’t your cup of tea, proceed with caution. I can’t wait for Olivie Blake’s The Atlas Paradox – book 2 in The Atlas Six series. It’s shaping up to be a very dark, very cool ride. We’ll probably witness a goody-two-shoes character being corrupted. Yummy.
THE ATLAS SIX BY OLIVIE BLAKE