The Atlas Six: Knowledge is Carnage

The Atlas Six
384 pages
released March 1st 2022

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.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from NetGalley.

I actually looked into buying this book when I was looking for An Interesting Book to read for my Adult Self, Not For Reviewing, Just For Reading, For Fun, Remember When You Used to Have Fun Reading? (To be clear I also have a lot of fun reviewing, but I am also frequently very stressed about it.) Goodreads, however, had a lot of top reviewers pretty unimpressed with it, so I ended up buying IF WE WERE VILLAINS by M.L Rio. I am about ten pages into that book and really enjoyed those ten pages. Maybe this month I will read another ten pages. Anyhow, I was really intrigued by the fact that this book went BACK into NetGalley and is getting like, republished because it went viral?? “Now newly revised”? Because it was republished traditionally? I’m intrigued. But you know what, Chai of @proyearner (who is credited here as a “viral book reviewer”??) says that “The Atlas Six is a fantasy novel that understands that what the people want is more dark academia stories with flawless vibes and aesthetics and hot morally fraudulent characters who are constantly on the verge of either killing each other or fucking each other. I’m the people.” So I guess I am extremely here for it??? (Also there is a great recommendation from Chloe Gong). Honestly, blurbs have never really mattered to me at all, but both of these are incredible forces in The Book World and also, honestly, of my heart?

ANYHOW. This book. Honestly? I feel like it has good bones. I feel like I would write good fanfiction of this book. It starts and introduces all these interesting concepts and characters and ideas, and it doesn’t really do anything with them? The stakes are kind unclear, and I would kill for like, a description every now and again and honestly I don’t often say that. Erin L. on NetGalley writes that “it’s mostly hot people being mean to each other”, which is honestly its strongest and most interesting feature. Plus it’s set in a dark academia vibes world! And there’s a sequel coming!

I was extremely into “The 100”, the CW television show, which is about hot people and good ideas being destroyed by the apocalypse, and honestly that is kind of what this book feels like? I’m really glad that it’s gone viral and is apparently very popular on TikTok, because I’m hoping that means it WILL become a CW show and I can read really good fanfiction of it instead. Or maybe the sequel will be better!

I don’t know! I have confusing thoughts about this book! I feel both frustrated and intrigued! Three and a half stars, rounded up to four for NetGalley! Storygraph link here. Bookshop link here.

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