The front cover of The Atlas Six By Olivie Blake suggests it’s going to have a lot going on. There’s going to be a bit of science, a bit of magic and it’s all going to be dark, brooding and cool. Well, this is all true but somehow Blake, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to make it at all appealing to read about.
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The Atlas Six tells the tale of a secret society of magicians. Each year, six of the most powerful magicians are chosen to attend and at some point, this must be whittled down to five (why, I’m not really sure). So that’s the premise of the book. Sounds cool right? Yeah, it does. But again, that’s all that really ever happens…
The Atlas Six plot – 3.25/5
The idea of The Atlas Six had so much potential. If you’ve got powerful magicians, why not get them doing some really cool things? Make them do things that will change the landscape of the world forever, and have them engage with villains and conspiracy theories. No, The Atlas Six would rather have them all just sort of talk to each other, have Alex with each other, and try and work out the route of all of their late-teen or early-twenties issues whilst doing little to no magic at all.
The book starts off exciting – they’re all getting recruited and told about the society, we start to get to know them all a little bit more and things start off promisingly. However, the book quickly dissolves into 300 pages of nothing. They go around falling out with each other, having trippy episodes, deciding who is most expendable, and then Blake tries to throw a fairly weak twist on us at the end.
I think the reason I’m being so scathing in this review is because there was so much potential with this book that has been wasted and not tapped into. Blake’s writing is both very impressive and also incredibly off-putting. It’s formulated well, and her vocabulary is good but also it feels more, at times, like I’m reading someone’s dissertation than reading a fictional book clearly written for 20-somethings looking for something a little Harry Potter-esque.
The Atlas Six characters – 4/5
I think the characters in The Atlas Six are what Olivie Blake was trying to focus on. With so very little plot happening and so many characters interactions where they’re seeming to have conversations, I feel like Blake was attempting to build deep characters you’d vouch for. However, I just didn’t care.
Without going into the extent of the characters, the only character who I had any interest in really was Libby Rhodes. She seemed to have the most interesting storyline and seemed to be the only one who actually acted like somebody of their age, rather than all of these other broody, overserious people surrounding her. I did worry she was going to end up getting into a relationship with Nico de Verona, a boy who is also part of the Six who has been incredibly mean to her throughout her whole schooling and is generally a bit of a dick.
As I said, everyone else is just generally a bit too serious and dull for me. 80% of the book is spent with everyone talking about each other, deciding who the one who has to leave will be and then starting to all have sex with each other and falling in love with each other. Not really sure what the goal is here.
I’ve given the characters a four because Blake has done a solid effort of trying to build up character relationships and depth and, as I said, I did actually like Libby, she seemed nicer and more sensible than the rest of them.
The Atlax Six by Olivie Blake final rating – 3.5
The Atlas Six came with a lot of hype. It has a fantastic premise and a delightfully attractive front cover, plus it does start off strong. But, it just then completely falls apart. After some initial action sequences, there’s then absolutely nothing that happens for ages until Blake tries to round everything up towards the end. Even then it feels like the final few chapters were written with no real direction but to have a sequel possible. The Atlas Six is one of the lowest ratings I’ve given a book on my blog because it was just so dull and way too serious. I hear the sequel is worse, so this may be the end of this series for me already.