A review by natashaleighton_
The Atlas Paradox, by Olivie Blake

adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


The Atlas Paradox—Olivie Blake’s highly anticipated sequel to her bestselling dark academia, The Atlas Six—is just as deliciously cerebral and unputdownable as it’s predecessor. But now, the stakes have been raised and the initiates are wedged deeper into the murky depths of the Alexandran Society (and Atlas’s plans for them all.) 

Six magicians become five, with Libby’s whereabouts still unknown. Taking place a year after The Atlas Six’s ending the initiates are now in their second year at the Society. Alliances have shifted and new rivalries begin to form as everyone must now pick a side: to preserve the world as it already is…or to destroy it in the effort to create a better one. 

As pretty soon truth The Alexandrian Society will be revealed for what it truly is: a secret society with a raw and dangerously world changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change the world could be catastrophic. 

Full of wit, betrayal and plenty of intrigue, I really enjoyed it! Unlike The Atlas Six, the pace felt more consistent this time around and it was far easier to immerse myself in Blake’s beautifully complex and interwoven narrative which spans two timelines and eight main POVs. 

I know that may sound a little daunting but, the complexity of each character and how interwoven (and interconnected) even the smallest—and seemingly inconsequential—details were, really makes you forget how many POV there are. And I genuinely loved how seamlessly everything fell into place—Blake’s narrative structure and ability to make every twist and revelation truly unexpected was genuinely impressive. I didn’t know what was gonna happen from one moment to the next and I loved that aspect. 

I really enjoyed seeing how each character is copes with the events at the end ofThe Atlas Six, which has left almost everyone a little little off centre and out of their comfort zones. But, it does give us the opportunity to get a deeper understanding into some of the more standoffish/ emotionally guarded characters such as Reina and Callum who we didn’t get to see as much of previously. I also loved to delve a little more into Gideon who was briefly introduced in The Atlas Six and really came into his own here—he’s such a cinnamon roll of a character and I hope we get to see even more of him in future. 

The groups’ alliances and dynamics have changed too, and the effect that has on all of their relationships going forward was really interesting—we also get to see new partnerships/pair ups between the initiates that I definitely hadn’t expected, yet thoroughly enjoyed. I was surprised by Parisa’s slightly less frosty demeanour. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still sharp and manipulative (possibly even more so given her stellar observational skills) but her anti-social edge has softened a little. 

I was also surprised that the bigger picture still alludes most of the group (I think Parisa and Callum were the only ones who really began to grasp what was happening), though it was interesting to see them all start to suspect Atlas’s machinations. 

There’s still plenty of mystery to unravel as they continue to search for Libby, delve deeper into the libraries capabilities, as well as trying to steer clear of the people hunting them. But, id say it definitely focuses more on the internal conflicts and really sets everything up for the next instalment. 

Overall, an entertaining sequel with some of the best morally grey characters I’ve ever read and a few twists I definitely didn’t see coming. Perfect for dark academia lovers, plot twisty fantasy or fans of Naomi Novik. 

Also a huge thank you to Tor UK and Blackcrow PR for the finished copy. 

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