While I didn’t hear about the book on Tiktok like many others, my Libby app had The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake on the front page. I listened to it and was left feeling indifferent so I went for the sequel (The Atlas Paradox), which I just couldn’t find an interest in after 65% of the book. Maybe I’m impatient or maybe I should consider reading a book like this instead of listening to it. Maybe I’m not a seasoned / strong enough reader to gather all of the nuances of these books and really appreciate them. But these weren’t for me.
*Some potential spoilers ahead although I won’t go into deep details*Read more: The Atlas Six and its Paradox – Not for me
Instead of listening to Dungeons and Dragons podcasts on my way to work every day for months at a time (I still love Critical Role), I told myself that I should be listening to books. I don’t think listening to long form podcasts is an issue, and really, I think it’s a great alternative to music each morning. But for where I’m at in life, I don’t feel like I’ve given books enough attention in the last 10 years so I want to fix that.
Listening to books while driving is not for everyone. I think over the years I’ve mastered it. My commute is not stressful, and it doesn’t distract me from driving. If I miss a part of the book, I just back it up a few minutes and try again.
I’m not a strong reader (obviously) but I understand it’s a skill that needs to be practiced like anything else. I’m currently reading Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson on my Kindle which is great, but I also wanted to listen to books on my commute. I enjoy utilizing my 30-minute daily drive (10 hours a week, sometimes more) and doing something productive.
Enough ranting, back to the books.
From my opinion and in a nutshell, The Atlas Six is based on an elite group of 6 “magicians” that are handpicked by a person named Atlas. This person is the caretaker of a super-secret society which governs a wealth of information hidden from the public eye. The idea is that the people chosen for this society get to study the information. The tradeoff is that they are responsible for protecting the information while they are there.
Each person chosen is a specialist in their field, which allows them to research information to further their expertise and push their own boundaries. After their stay, they eventually end up back in the real world (assumingly) as the top percentage of magic users across teh world, providing an extreme amount of value for them.
Harry Potter meets Jersey Shore? I would describe it like this to someone who’s not interested in the book but wouldn’t want to offend those that enjoyed it. Taking six ( plus two ) people with varying skillsets, backgrounds, and ultimate goals and placing them in a common house is bound to end up in drama, trust issues, and backstabbing. Not really a ‘who done it’ murder mystery but more of a ‘who might do it’ alternative.
I found the characters interesting at first, with diverse magical abilities and histories, but where the book lost me is the conversations between all of them. And there are a LOT of conversations. Each chapter is told from a different character’s viewpoint which is not difficult to follow, but for me the conversations and thoughts about those conversations were exhausting to keep up with and difficult to care about. I gave up on the second book because I just didn’t care enough about the characters and there were not enough actions taken between these conversations to make up for it.
The writing was great and mature, the ideas were new (to me), and I enjoyed the overall premise. But I simply could not sink my teeth into the overall story after a book and a half of conversations. I’m not going to say the book(s) were bad in any sense, just not for me. I was just constantly waiting for something to happen and when it did, the significance was covered by more conversations! The scheming between characters become overdone and expected, especially when other events unfolded that added to the turmoil in the ‘house’.
I feel guilty for not finishing the book but I immediately ask myself why? I’m clearly not enjoying it and despite my ongoing attempt to get into it, I’ve clearly failed to do so. Maybe the ending has a big twist that makes it all come together in an ‘Aha’ moment…or maybe it’s just more conversations about scheming and planning and judgements. Either way, I’m going to look up other (better) reviews of the books and learn what ultimately happens.
Now I need to find something else to listen to…more on that later.