Knowledge is Carnage: Reviewing The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Hello everyone! It is a beautiful day to stay inside and read some book that the internet told you to read. While I’m happy to have access to such wonderful recommendations, I also feel that “Book Tok” is getting out of hand. Recently, I purchased a book that had a “Seen on Book Tok” (or something like that) sticker on it and I honestly wanted to gag. Ok, that’s the end of my tangent. Let’s get into The Atlas Six.

The Society only recruits the most powerful magic users into its mysterious and elite depths. Every decade, six of the most talented individuals are selected to join the Society. In order to do so, they must pass a series of tests to prove that they are worthy. The six newest recruits quickly find themselves making allies, or enemies, in order to get to the top. The stakes are even higher when they realize that one among them will not survive the initiation into the Society.

I went in wanting to like this book as I was given the impression it was like The Secret History but with magic. Despite Olivie Blake having a fully fleshed out magical world, there really wasn’t a lot of magic actually being done in the book. If I’m being honest, I was rather bored at times as there were long stretches of the book that were just characters having drawn out conversations, or having long internal monologues. As much as I enjoy introspection, when you promise me magic then I want some magic. I am not going to tell anyone to not read this book. I will be nice and say that I did enjoy the characters quite a bit. I also liked how well Blake captures the spirit of dark academia in the book. There is still plenty to like, but it just didn’t transcend my expectations or thrill me in the way other magic – based novels have.

Bloody, Bold, and Resolute: Reviewing If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Hello everyone! I have officially survived my final semester of grad school and tomorrow I will have officially have a Masters degree. Needless to say, I am equal parts exhausted and excited. I am mostly looking forward to being able to read what I want for the foreseeable future. In all my excitement, I am going to give you my review of If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. (Side note: Many of the books I’m reading I found on the book side of Tik Tok or Book Tok).

Oliver Marks is one of seven eager Shakespearean actors attending the prestigious Dellecher Classical Conservatory. Their days are filled with friendly, but fierce competition as they rise above the ranks and get the leading roles. Each member, though, plays their own role in the group that reflects the characters they play on stage. As tensions begin to rise and the competition turns fierce, a mysterious tragedy strike the group. Now, Oliver and his fellow thespians must uncover what happened and use their skills as actors to convince everyone else of their innocence.

As a fan of Shakespeare (and theater in general) and dark academia, this book had my name written all over it. I also loved a good whodunnit mystery. If We Were Villains is a perfect combination of all of those elements. Rio does an excellent job combining the prose and play narrative structures while also emphasizing the richness of theater and the sketchy reality of prestigious university. You all may know that I am a huge fan of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and this novel is very much in the vein of that genre. Overall, I thoroughly enjoy the way this novel unfolds and I would consider it essential for any fan of dark academia novels.