When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.
Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.
Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
I’m not entirely sure what I just read. Like seriously, I finished it a couple of nights ago and I am still left scratching my head on this one.
I found myself drawn to this book by the beautiful black, gold and white cover, purchasing it without looking up anything online about it, a rarity for me. Normally, my first inclination is to check out the reviews on Goodreads before I purchase. The cover was beautiful, the synopsis made it sound interesting, and I love a good dark academia setting, so I rolled the dice and bought it.
The story is told from multiple points of view (POV), one for each of the six chosen medeians. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that I have a love/hate relationship with multiple POVs. They’re either done well or they’re not, in my opinion. Sometimes it’s necessary to use multiple POVs, sometimes, it’s better off as a single POV. This was a scenario where the multiple POVs were necessary, but I found them lacking. None of the individual characters ever stood up off the page for me, except maybe one. The others were mostly only halfway developed. We are told their motivations rather than seeing what drives them. I want to feel why they do what they do, not just be told how to feel.
The world building was….something. Some parts were done well (the physical description of the library, some of the more basic magical elements), and some was just downright confusing to me (all of the more complicated magic). It had the feel of a sci-fi book at parts but I felt like it wasn’t explained very well, leaving me skimming these parts, and Physics was one of my favorite subjects in school!
The plot was shifty. The majority of the book is all about these six medeians who don’t realize what the term “eliminated” really means, and the majority of the book is just shifting back and forth between POVs of their everyday life when all of a sudden they figure it out. And when you think it’s going to get interesting, it doesn’t. In fact, it just gets more muddled when we are given more information (again we are told not shown) that just feels flat and did nothing to increase the tension to set up for the next book.
For all of my problems with it, I confess that I can see how this would make a great movie. I can absolutely see it in my head, moody, cinematic noir, fresh-faced young actors we’ve never heard of getting their magic on. So while I’m not sure there’s really enough to this book to make a compelling plot, it will probably be picked up for a screen play, mark my words.
That said, I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel or seeing the movie (if it gets picked up).
Until next time, happy reading!
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