The Atlas six by Olivie Blake

cover image

The Atlas Six is advertised as 'The runaway Tiktok must-read fantasy novel of the year,' enough to make any fantasy fan want to pick it up. The Alexandrian Society is a secret society that preserves all the knowledge from ancient civilizations. It is an exclusive club that guarantees wealth and power to anyone who is invited to join it. Atlas Blakely approaches six young people to see if they are prepared to join. Even though they are warned that only five will survive, all agree to spend a year to try and quality for the honour of membership. All have different powers that are important to the Society:

Libby Rhodes and Nicolas 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. (Publisher).

As time passes for the characters, they are given instructions and dangerous quests that test their ability to problem solve and use their unique skills. The reader, knowing that only five of them will survive, is kept alert trying to work out which one could be eliminated and how this would be done. Each chapter is told in the voice of one of the characters, giving the reader one perspective on what is happening and insights into the feelings and beliefs of that person. Like Gallant by V.E. Schwab, the book is interspersed with illustrations, this time of each of the main protagonists. They are not labelled, and it is fun to try and work out who is portrayed.

This is a very dark story with some scenes of a sexual nature that make it unsuitable for a younger audience, but adults who like fantasy will find it very intriguing with a fascinating conclusion that leaves an opening for a sequel.

Pat Pledger