Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined.
The Magicians messed with my expectations in a really fascinating way. While it would be easy to make comparisons between this book and Harry Potter (so many people have said It’s the adult Harry Potter) it’s really not.
Brakebill’s College is a school for a very unique type of magic that requires intricate hand-movements. We follow our main character, Quentin, as he is accepted into the school. Now, Quentin is not a character that I liked very much – I spent a lot of the book wanting to hit him, or throw my book across the room because of the decisions he makes or the things he said. At first, that made me wonder why I was still reading, and the conclusion I came to is this: Lev Grossman had created a character that I didn’t like – not because he was poorly written, but because he was not likeable. There’s a huge different and the latter actually makes the reader feel something and ultimately that was why I kept reading.
The world of The Magicians is unique – yes, it draws similarities to other popular fantasy series like Harry Potter or the Narnia books, but this is about magic set in a contemporary world with connections to a fantastical one. All the characters were flawed and this reflects the real world and sometimes that’s uncomfortable, but it’s also true.
While I didn’t love this book I am curious to read the next two books to see where the story goes and what happens to Quentin and his friends. I gave The Magicians 3.5 out of 5 stars.
title // The Magicians
author // Lev Grossman
publisher // Viking
genre // Fantasy
publication date // August 2009
format // Paperback