Monday, January 23, 2023

Hogwarts After Dark

 I'm evidently behind the curve on reading Olivie Blake's The Atlas Six, but I'm happy I caught up. 

We're in a world on a similar trajectory of history as the world we live in, but magic is a real thing here, with roughly 15% of the population having some kind of magical powers. (My math may be off here. Point being, it's not so rare as to be unheard of, but rare enough a vast majority of the population has no magic.) As we open, six major practitioners are invited to join the Alexandrian Society, which is presented as the original Library of Alexandria, now protected by the best of the best. Once a decade, the library will select 6 to join for a year, 5 will be initiated for a second year, after which they're allowed to return to their life or join fully. 

In this, we get Libby and Nico, two physical mages who just graduated from NYUMA as co valedictorians; Raina, who is both a battery and a plant master; Parisa, a telepath; Callum, an empath; and Tristan, an illusionist who can see through illusions. 

Each has several layers of outside baggage we get occasional in depth peeks at. In particular, Nico has a friend/lover who is the son of a mermaid and a fawn. Tristan's father is a criminal witch, Libby has a mundane boyfriend. Which all seem to matter less as they bond, even after finding out that the reason 5 get initiated is they're expected to sacrifice one of their own. 

In many ways, it's a grown up Hogwarts (most of the characters could be considered Pansexual; while none of it is presented in steamy terms, gender doesn't seem to matter to most of them as they begin to hook up), but rather than having a specific outside villain, we never are quite sure who could be considered the embodiment of the antagonist. While we end with a much clearer picture of whom is probably a bad guy, we really don't end knowing exactly who is moving which pieces and why. By the time I reached the last page, I had multiple possibilities swirling through my head as to how I think the story should progress, which I won't go into here, since there would be spoilers....)

Really well written and fun, since you spend most of the book both loving and hating the central six. I am looking forward to the next book, just to see what happens next.

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