The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.
Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.
Most of them.
My thoughts: this had a really interesting premise, and I liked many of the characters, except Atlas, who seems a bit suspect, however I felt that it lagged a little at times in the middle.
Despite the fact that the six are supposed to be adults, they often behave more like children, spoilt ones at that. With their squabbles, petty rivalries and inability to work together. Most of them have been out in the world, albeit a very privileged version, for several years, only Libby and Nico are recent graduates with limited life experience. But that doesn’t stop them from falling back into childish behaviour but as we know from reality shows like The Apprentice, people often do when they aren’t getting their own way.
I found Dalton to be a bit robotic, and there are hints that he isn’t quite human anymore, which should be interesting if Parisa unpacks that in book 2. I also really didn’t like Ezra, Libby can do a lot better, but again it looks like there’s more to him than just a side character. There are a lot of things being set up towards the end of the book that hopefully come to fruition in the next book.
I know this book has been something of a sensation (not that I remotely understand how you release a book via TikTok) and it is very well written and enjoyable, the illustrations of the characters helped me a lot as I’m not great with visualising things and I enjoyed the way each chapter had a different narrative voice. I just wanted more to the plot, which seemed to struggle a bit at times, hopefully all the sitting around pays off in the next installment.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.