The Atlas Paradox was an existential masterpiece


Little Chmura

One of the many stunning illustrations by Little Chmura in The Atlas Paradox

Existential, riveting, and at times, downright confounding: The Atlas Paradox was, once again, a sequel that did not disappoint.

I have made a habit of buying, reading, and promptly reviewing sequels of my favorite books, and The Atlas Paradox may have been the best sequel so far. The Atlas Six, its predecessor, was a phenomenal, mind-twisting book filled with an ensemble of diverse characters, settings, and themes, and The Atlas Paradox only added to its magnificence.

The Atlas series follows a group of six young people as they are initiated into a secret organization that houses the remains of the Library of Alexandria. Just that concept alone is enough to spark any true reader’s interest as the loss of such a well of knowledge is a tragedy to all who appreciate books and learning.

The six protagonists are joined by many other side characters, and although the concept may sound simple, it is anything but. Twists and turns are prevalent throughout both books.

Both The Atlas Six and The Atlas Paradox start out slowly and gradually crescendo to a hugely climactic ending, and each creates a burning need for the next book in the series. The third and final book in the series—The Atlas Complex—will not be released for another year, so the wait will be challenging.

The writing style of the author, Olivie Blake, is uniquely pretentious but easily understandable, and the series has the tendency to make the reader feel extremely smart. The concepts discussed are just as deep, from wormholes to time travel to time travel through wormholes.

The concepts discussed are just as deep, from wormholes to time travel to time travel through wormholes.

The discussions of family, loss, and love are poignant even as each character is lovably irreverent. The diversity between these characters also adds incredibly to the book. From an Iranian telepath to a South African empath to a Japanese naturalist, each character is unique in ethnicity, sexuality, personality, and even trauma.

One of the most compelling aspects of The Atlas Paradox is the character arc of Libby Rhodes. She is introduced in The Atlas Six as a shy, anxious, but extremely talented and intelligent physicist. She has no self-confidence and refuses to explore the full extent of her powers. 

In The Atlas Paradox, however, because of certain unnamed (spoiler) circumstances, she is forced to overcome her anxieties, step out of her shell, and uncover the magnitude of her magic without regard for the consequences. Her growth is incredible, and I cannot wait to see her in the final book.

Another addition to The Atlas Paradox that I thoroughly enjoyed was the introduction of several new characters and therefore points of view. Both Atlas books are told from multiple points of view, and each chapter is told from a different character’s viewpoint. In The Atlas Paradox, several new recurring points of view were added, creating even more depth in the story.

Finally, the discussion of women in STEM is astonishing. It captures perfectly the feelings of inadequacy, fear to speak out, and frustration of women in all fields, and it is a perfect addition to the story.

The Atlas Paradox was one of the last books I read in 2022, and it was one of my favorites. From the characters to the themes to the plot to the writing, every aspect of this book excelled. As soon as the third Atlas book is released, you will know where to find me: curled up with a cup of tea, book in hand.