Review: The Atlas Six

1.5 out of 5 stars

A little LOT less conversation, a little LOT more action, PLEASE. The Atlas Six, by Olivia Blake (The Atlas #1)

It’s been a good, long time since I hated a book. The Atlas Six ended that streak. So I’ll cut to the chase: TOO MUCH TALKING. My high school English teacher was a big proponent of the “show, don’t tell” style of writing. Well no one ever taught that to Olivia Blake. The Atlas Six is 97% “logue” – dialogue and inner monologue. Almost nothing at all actually happens. When it does, it mostly takes place off-page and the characters just tell each other/think about it. The verdict: Infuriating, dull, do not read.

Perhaps the worst part about this book is that it could have been great. The premise certainly is: six young magical adults are chosen as the world’s best at their respective powers. They’re recruited by a secret magical society to train for a year in their hidden archive – which happens to be the now-magically-mobile, thought-lost-to-history Library of Alexandria! At that time, one will be eliminated (but how?!) and five will move on to a life of power and influence.

In the first quarter of The Atlas Six, there is some action. It turns out the society isn’t so secret, and it’s enemies know the new class of initiates always presents a weak point for attack. There’s a fun, satisfying battle sequence that deepens the book’s mystery. Then….

Nothing. At all. I listened to this on audiobook, so I can be accurate: The action takes place at 23% of the way through. By 64% I was really concerned nothing would ever happen again. I was starting to hate the characters and get very bored. The only word for it is dither. Everyone dithers astonishingly. They talk. They think in complete sentences. They suspect and wonder and talk, talk, talk endlessly: to each other, themselves, to the reader. Every single one of them is a complete and utter weenie by this point, paralyzed by their discussions and wholly useless. And Steve West, the world’s sexiest narrator voice, plays the worst role of all! It’s misery.

I slogged through to 83%, where something finally, sort of happens – but it’s off-page! Our characters only discover it after. Mystery, sure. But no action! There went our only chance. I hate-finished this book thinking surely no editor would have let such a promising start go to waste. I was wrong.

Overall, The Atlas Six is about as interesting as watching local government proceedings on public TV. Vote for something better.

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