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ONE FOR MY ENEMY by Olivie Blake – double review!

A thrilling story of rival witch families in New York City, from New York Times bestselling author and internet phenomenon Olivie Blake.

In modern-day Manhattan where we lay our scene, two rival witch families fight to maintain control of their respective criminal ventures.

On one side of the conflict are the Antonova sisters — each one beautiful, cunning, and ruthless — and their mother, the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants, known only as Baba Yaga. On the other side, the influential Fedorov brothers serve their father, the crime boss known as Koschei the Deathless, whose community extortion ventures dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan.

After twelve years of tenuous co-existence, a change in one family’s interests causes a rift in the existing stalemate. When bad blood brings both families to the precipice of disaster, fate intervenes with a chance encounter, and in the aftershocks of a resurrected conflict, everyone must choose a side. As each of the siblings struggles to stake their claim, fraying loyalties threaten to rot each side from the inside out.

If, that is, the enmity between empires doesn’t destroy them first.

Title : One For My Enemy
Author : Olivie Blake
Format : eARC / Physical
Page Count : 384
Genre : paranormal romance / retelling
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : April 4, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5 / ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 3.5 star review

One day I hope I can love one of Blake’s book without any complicated or mixed feelings about it. But we’ve yet to have that day, it seems.

Having said that though I think this is the closest I’ve gotten so far? Maybe? It’s certainly less pretentious and academic, with an ensemble I sometimes like but often times don’t, than The Atlas Six (and it’s sequel); and certainly less pretentious and strange than Alone With You in the Ether, and.. well, that sums it up.

One for my Enemy is a little more straight-forward and other than being a classic retelling there isn’t much pretension at all. Plus not only was it Shakespearean at it’s core but it also had the delightful bonus of Russian/Slavic folktales with the inclusion of the Baba Yaga and Koschei monikers. So that was fun. Oh, also? Witches. There’s a lot of good going on here. And we open with quite a bang.

But.. I’ll admit things did get a little too drawn out, too same-y (take a shot every time someone meets up with The Bridge for a deal.. wait don’t that happens every other page), and even though there was a bit of a wind-up for a big reveal at the end, this big grand master plan, I felt we’d lost too much momentum right before it all came clear. So it kind of pfft fell flat.

Admittedly, too, I only felt invested in two characters. Masha and Dima were everything. The antagonists were successfully antagonists and that’s good, sure, fine, but everyone else we were supposed to like or root for (mostly Sasha, Lev was okay) I just.. didn’t. Maybe because it was insta-lovey? And they were very dramatic. Which I guess ties into the whole R&J angle. And now that I think about it I wonder if Masha and Dima were Blake’s way of writing a better R&J story. Because it was. It was so much better.

So the set-up and all the references or homages? Good. The unique take so it didn’t feel like a direct retelling? Even better. The twisty familial ties and bonds? Fun because neither side were the “good” guys. And those aforementioned characters? Insert heart here. But it was definitely too long, or too drawn out, and there was too much death and too much not death (IYKYK).

Also I feel like halfway through the story I had forgotten Baba Yaga’s whole motivation slash enterprise goal unless it was just general New York/world dominion. Which kind of ties into the whole what was known to the world vs not when it comes to magic and creatures. As much as it felt like there was a setting, though not really in the sense that I always knew this was happening in New York (often I would convince myself this was in Moscow because of all the names and fairytale references), I’m not sure I really grasped the world.

But of all the Blake titles referenced above? This might be the one I would recommend. It’s the one book I’ve left feeling more good than not about.. even if I rambled complaints and confusions for the last few paragraphs. For all that I wasn’t sold on all the bits, it still manages to pass the vibe check.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

Micky’s 4 star review

Sweeping characterisation
Polarising families
Irresistible connections

I’m sure most readers dipping into reviews know that this story is founded in Romeo and Juliet and honestly, Blake executed this vision of witches in New York with two competing families so well. What I expected, was to end up on the side of one family over another but the Antonovas and the Fedorovs were equally entracing as they were unpleasant. Each family had some characters I really loved and some I hated.

For me, it felt like there were four main characters in this book (who I loved equally) and then a set of really strong secondary characters with some others in the background. The idea of Baba Yaga and Koschei the Deathless were initally rather intimitdating with a mafia boss feel to their families, legacies and business dealings. The children of these families however had more grounding, practicality and loyalty to one another, I trusted most of these individuals more.

The story was incredibly surprising, the directions it went, the shocks and twists. I was kept glued to the page, sometimes a little heartbroken, sometimes doing a double take.

Could he really taste so sweet, being her enemy.

I know people have sometimes struggled with the density of Blake’s writing, its tendency towards a convoluted narrative but One For My Enemy was truly accessible, linear in the main and easy to read. I’m definitely a fan of this book.

Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the review copy.


Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.

Everything else, however, is slightly different.

Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.

Title : Alone With You In The Ether
Author : Olivie Blake
Format : Physical
Page Count : 288
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : November 29, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

I’m finding this a difficult story to rate and I’m not convinced by my rating stil.

This story was a sweeping example of messy love. These characters of Aldo and Regan are consuming their complexity and problems. Both characters had diagnoses of mental illness, those illnesses while sometimes overwhelming, were not the sum of them. Regan by far was the most complex of the two and her chaotic take on life, sex, relationships and ethics had me reading through my fingers at times and gritting my teeth for the impending implosion but…(here is where you read the book for yourself).

Aldo seemed a little more grounded while still off in his world of theoretical mathematics and time. I liked him more than Regan even though I feel like this story reveals more of Regan. I totally got why these two worked at times and why they didn’t at others. It is hard to like or love these characters though.

There’s a definite irreverance for conventionality in this book and I really appreciated that element. There’s nothing linear about this plot or how it begins and ends; that’s its beauty. However, sometimes the chaos was confusing in moments and I didn’t always understand the why of these characters.

The author note at the end is utterly impactful and the more I think about the story and author note as I write this review, the more I think this might be nearer 4 stars than 3.5. Blake’s exposition at the end brings focus to the context and characters in a very real way. I respect her hugely for that.

Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the review copy.

THE ATLAS PARADOX by Olivie Blake – double review!

Six magicians. Two rivalries. One researcher. And a man who can walk through dreams. All must pick a side: do they wish to preserve the world—or destroy it? In this electric sequel to the viral sensation, The Atlas Six, the society of Alexandrians is revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way. But the cost of knowledge is steep, and as the price of power demands each character choose a side, which alliances will hold and which will see their enmity deepen?

Title : The Atlas Paradox
Author : Olivie Blake
Series : The Atlas (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 400
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : October 25, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating :

Hollis’ 2 star review

Boy did this drag.

Look, I know I wasn’t out on the rooftops shouting about book one to begin with but I saw the potential, saw how many directions were open for intrigue and secrets and manoeuvrings, etc, for the books to come but I feel like this one both went off in a bunch of directions but also spun it’s wheels. Where things went, for the most part, felt tedious. Any potential spark? Fizzled. Dead.

Also maybe it’s just me and how I don’t really love mess but there were a few times I just felt tired from all the shifting dynamics and convoluted feelings everyone was having about this person, that person, and on. Maybe it’s supposed to muddle up the end games and keep you guessing but honestly it just headbutts me out of the story. Which is also how I felt every time we had a Reina POV. Talk about a buzzkill character.

Also, I’m now convinced when I reread The Atlas Six I must’ve not actually read the changed up/traditionally published version (and would track considering I was skeptical there had been any changes when I did that reread) because some things were just outright stated in this one, early on, and I felt it came totally out of left field. So either that was done on purpose, for some bizarre reason, or I legitimately missed something (example, Callum and the pain).

With so much tedium, hardly any stakes, and the characters now halfway scattered in various directions, I have no clue what is to actually be expected from book three. I will read it but I have a feeling this instalment may turn out to have been rather unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. That or it’s just typical book two syndrome. Womp.

Micky’s 2.5 star review (ish)

I’m not 100% sure what I just read but I’ve made note of the headlines from the plot. I have to admit this second installment was a struggle of rather epic proportions. It was confusing and convoluted and yet I’m still invested to some degree with certain characters, namely, Libby, Nico, Gideon and Ezra. That’s not to say I like Ezra, I don’t, but that storyline is an interesting one. I continued to dislike Parisa and I started to intensely dislike Reina. Atlas is fascinating.

I will be returning for the third go round for this series with the hope I can recapture the enjoyment I found in book one.

THE ATLAS SIX by Olivie Blake – double review!

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.

Title : The Atlas Six
Author : Olivie Blake
Series : The Atlas #1
Format : Physical ARC / eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Adult Fantasy
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : March 3, 2022 (UK) / March 1, 2022

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ / ★ ★ .5

Micky’s 4 star review

Full concentration needed ahead
Clever and complex plot
Multiple MCs in a good way
A marathon but worth it

The Atlas Six felt like a read of epic proportions. This was a story with a grandious and complex plot, weaving and winding but by the end, you’re impressed by its stature. It constantly left me with the feeling that I wasn’t quite grasping things as I went along, but honestly, I think that’s part of the appeal as you reach the culmination of book one.

The book centred around six main characters and three or four substantial side characters. The main characters were truly fascinating, one was completely awful and one I grew to understand but didn’t like. They were all very different and that was what made them part of the chosen Atlas Six; their differences and their talents.

The world building was again…complex and as long as you concentrate, you’ll keep up as a reader. Learning the characters, the talents, the magical world, the organisations and the plot as it twisted and turned was challenging sometimes but ultimately rewarding. I enjoyed some of the unexpected rise to prominence from side characters and the things that weren’t what they seemed.

I would say this read was pacey. It felt long, sometimes trudging but always engaging. I appreciated this as a buddy read and being able to chat the plot and characters through. I’m definitely pumped to read more from this crew, I want to see my favs come through.

Thank you to Black Crow PR and Tor for the advanced copy.

Hollis’ 3.5 star review

No, it isn’t deja vu you’re feeling, I did already read and review this one. However, I also thought I had read that the re-release via trad publisher was going to have some edits or minor changes and.. I don’t think it did. So it could be that I misremembered a thing or two, the changes were subtle, or I was wrong in thinking that changes were to come. Pick your poison.

Either way, alas, my thoughts have not really changed from the first go round. I do think I enjoyed my time with the book a little more (which is why I bumped it a bit, even though it’s just semantics) but fundamentally my thoughts are the same.

This book somehow manages to be big and small in scope and the ensemble is a merry go round of shifting dynamics, in a mostly good way, but I think this’ll be a series that shines more in hindsight than it does in the infancy of it all. But, I mean, it could also all go to pot along the way depending on what awaits us. But. I choose to hope.

If you love an ensemble, if you are into academia-settings, fantasy and magic, and a whole lot of wtaf and mystery, you should definitely give this one a go.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **