Olivie Blake’s “The Atlas Six”, A Book that Caught My Attention from the Very Beginning

My Dearest Readers!

[Spoiler Alert: There may be spoilers for Olivie Blake's "The Atlas Six" ahead]

I’ve recently finished reading Olivie Blake’s  “The Atlas Six” and I am blown away. While I have read many good books recently, very few of them caught my attention from the very beginning as “The Atlas Six” did. The novel begins by referring to the Library of Alexandria, a subject endlessly fascinating to any reader and academic, of which I am both. Olivie Blake’s novel is based on the premise that what if the manuscripts of the library, and in fact the library itself survived its destruction? What if the library not only survived but grew and thrived, constantly expanding the knowledge found within its archives?

“The little-known truth of the matter is that the library of Alexandria burned down to save itself. It died to rise again, its burning less metaphorically phoenix-like and more strategically Sherlockian”. (Olivie Blake, “The Atlas Six”)

The novel is set in an alternate world where magicians called medians live alongside non-magic people. The story itself follows six medians which are chosen to be initiated into the Alexandrian society, a society of select individuals who have been granted access to and tasked with guarding the archives of the library of Alexandria. While the six candidates are promised unlimited and knowledge should they choose to join the society, they are informed that only five out of six candidates would chosen for initiation and that one of them would be eliminated by the end of the year. The story then follows the six candidates as they train for their initiation forming close bonds and alliances in the process. However, the society itself holds many secrets regarding the process of elimination and the initiation of the candidates.

Despite the novels setting in a fantasy world, Olivie Blake spends much of the novel exploring the psychological states of her characters. She uses the novels academic setting to explore the traumas, desires and motivations of her characters which she then uses to further address deeper questions; that is, how far would a person go to have access to unlimited knowledge? What would one be willing to sacrifice for such power? And how would such privilege affect the lives of the people who possessed it?

Multiple novels and movies have been compared to the fantasy classic “Harry Potter”, including the recent “The School of Good and Evil”. However, for me, Olivie Blake’s “The Atlas Six” truly seems like “Harry Potter” for adults. The novel’s academic setting and focus on the character’s moral dilemmas gives it a feel that is similar to “Harry Potter” while its premise and the intense focus on the psyche of its characters simultaneously makes it unique.

Despite the text’s focus on academia the novel is fast paced and easy to read. The fact that a major chunk of the text focuses on the lessons that the characters receive and the research the characters conduct does not take away from the pacing of the novel. The characters are well fleshed out and each one of them is faced with their own psychological weaknesses and flaws. This is a novel I would gladly recommend others to read.

“The Atlas Six” is the first novel in “The Atlas” series, followed by “The Atlas Paradox” which I am currently reading and hope to review soon. The third book in the series, “The Atlas Complex” is currently set to release in 2024.

You can purchase “The Atlas Six” in Pakistan here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this review. Happy reading everyone!



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