The world’s best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.
Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few . . .
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás 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.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.
Almost too cerebral to be enjoyable, The Atlas Six has fleeting moments of keen observation drowning in egotism. So, of course, I was utterly enthralled.
Many people incorrectly assume time to be a steady incline, a measured arc of growth and progress, but when history is written by the victors the narrative can often misrepresent that shape. In reality, time as we experience is merely an ebb and flow, more circular than it is direct. Social trends and stigmas change, and the direction knowledge moves is not always forward.
If you’re confused, don’t worry, I am too. Full of contradictions, The Atlas Six pulls you in with the concept while repelling you with its contents. The characters are so wrapped up in their own drama they can’t see beyond a few feet in front of themselves. This makes the story feel like it’s moving in concentric circles or some sort of labyrinth; no matter which way it turns, you always seem to end up in the same place. If you think about it, nothing really happens in The Atlas Six. But then, if you think about it more, didn’t everything happen?
I honestly can’t tell if I loved or hated The Atlas Six. Something about the narcissistic properties of a story so caught up in its own lore can’t help but charm you in the same way. But there were moments when the illusion shattered, and I found myself questioning whether it was even worth reading. I think if Callum were a book, he would be this one – manipulating your thoughts, letting you realise it, and then dragging you back under.
Honestly, no matter the rating I give would be misleading and a misrepresentation of how I really feel. Four stars? I can only hope The Atlas Paradox provides some clarity or at least a means of deciphering my own experience.