This sequel was a lot of wheel-spinning, ennui, and existential angst; since that’s basically my life all the time, I had to put this book aside for a couple of weeks, even though I’d scrambled to get my hands on it as soon as I finished book one (The Atlas Six).
In book one, the six are identified as the most powerful medeians (magicians) in the world and invited to study in the protected magical archives of the exclusive Alexandrian Society; the catch is that they will have to kill one of the group in order to progress to the second year of study.
Our main six are:
- Libby and Nico: manipulate the physical world; hate and need each other in equal measure
- Tristan: physical magician ++; angry, always
- Callum: empath; basically turned himself into a sociopath to avoid dealing with the overwhelm of all the feelings
- Reina: plants speak to her and obey her; coolest power and always underutilized by the books
- Parisa: telepath; described as the most beautiful woman in the world by everyone she meets; feels like an attempt by the female author to be sex positive but ends up feeling like the most cliched male fantasy and is kind of exhausting to read
In book one everyone was obsessed with and/or horny for each other; in book 2, they’re wary allies at best and active enemies at worst. It’s a shame as there were some fun, sparky dynamics in book one. Here, it was tiresome to be around thoroughly unhappy and lonely people for four hundred pages as everyone wallowed in the pointlessness of it all and basically never left the Society building. There’s nothing driving the plot forward, and the relationships don’t really evolve throughout the book. It could have been tightened up significantly.
I’ve been overwhelmingly negative here, but I’m still giving it three stars based on the change in setting and character combinations in the last few chapters. The way she’s set up the pieces, Blake should have no trouble recapturing the energy of the first book when book three comes out next January.
(edit: After thinking about it a bit more, I’m dropping it to two stars. I’m planning reviews for a couple of other books that feel like three stars, and I liked them way more than this one.)