cover image The Atlas Six

The Atlas Six

Olivie Blake. Tor, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-85451-3

This melodramatic, series-opening magical school tale from Blake (The Answer You Are Looking for Is Yes) eschews action adventure for more cerebral, emotional beats. It begins as six young medeians, the most magically adept members of the populace, are initiated into the Alexandrian Society, the secretive body that alone has access to the reborn Library of Alexandria and all mystical knowledge therein. Each initiate has a skill set: Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona, long-standing rivals from their college days, are both physicists, practitioners of elemental magic; Reina Mori is a naturalist; Parisa Kamali is a powerful telepath while Callum Nova is her equal as an empath; and Tristan Caine has the power to see through illusions. Over the course of one year, they study in the Society’s mansion headquarters, learning more about magic and each other, all while knowing that at the end, they must choose to eliminate one of their number. Little happens for much of the book outside of the shifting social interactions of these privileged and often smug or neurotic characters. It’s not until the final twist that things pick up, a villain is revealed, and the stakes are set for the rest of the series. Die-hard lovers of the dark academia aesthetic will enjoy this, but others likely won’t have the patience. (Mar.)