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The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) Paperback – May 25, 2010
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Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: Mixing the magic of beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman's Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know--if the people you want to know are charismatic, brilliant, complex, flawed magicians--and does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: "get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. " Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Grossman's novel is a postadolescent Harry Potter, following apprentices in the art of magic through their time as students at an upstate New York college to their postcollegiate Manhattan misdeeds, with jaded ennui tempering the magical aura. Mark Bramhall, a smooth baritone with a supple speaking voice, reads carefully, with a slight air of heaviness and sorrow. He pauses frequently and freights the silences with a tenderness well befitting a coming-of-age novel. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, June 1). (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Quinton, the story's main character is miserable in Brooklyn and in high school. Parents are parents. He goes for an interview for an ivy league college, finds the interviewer dead, is given a note by an EMT at the scene. He reads the note, wind blows it down an alley, he chases it and finds himself in a cloaked part of the city and Brakebills. He under goes a magic entrance exam which he passes and without graduating from high school finds himself studying college. He is so happy. Of course, it's not all rainbows and unicorns there are some dark happenings at Brakebills, secrets and lies. Sex, drugs and drinking just like college.
His journey from beginner to graduate and the students he hooks up with and the learning of magic is very compelling.
This is a good read if you've seen the TV series or not. Helped explain some things to me about the show. It's always nice to have a book.
I don't want to spoil the story for those who might read it, but this book isn't about high-flying emotion and unflinching heroes conquering the great enemy of their era. It's about real-life people dealing with real-life problems that are inescapable, no matter how much magical power you have. The characters are very real, flawed people, and their depression and disillusionment is both refreshingly uncommon and a bit unnerving in books like this. If you are expecting your typical fantasy tale, you may be sorely disappointed. The fantasy elements are there, but they run secondary to the characters and their thoughts as they deal with life. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was a bit of a downer.
Some may describe the book as Harry Potter for adults, and while I could see the comparison, it's got a completely different feel. The focus is more about the characters, especially on how each of them has been damaged in some way, than about the wondrous discovery of magic. There's also less focus on schooling. It's still a very well-crafted story, if depressing at points, and worth reading.
Yes there is a school for magicians here. The school, it basically chooses you when the time is right - which appears to be about the time you'd be considering colleges. If you notice it is attempting to contact you and bother to answer, you'll be given a test. Few will pass and be admitted into the school. Quentin was one of the ones who did. He was sure it'd change his life. Make him happy. After all, he'd been waiting to find that magic was real all of his life, having read and re-read books about Fillory a magical world all its own - he'd always wished he could find the kind of joy the kids in those books had found.
It quickly becomes obvious that Quentin is so broken that nothing, not even magical worlds will ever be enough to make him happy. Not alcohol, drugs, women, sex, love, nothing. He's rather self-absorbed, never seems to grow, to learn anything from all he goes through - even though we see him age several years in this book and he does go through a few major events he could have learned from.
It's not until the end of the book that you start to think he might be changing and then it's set up for a sequel which makes you wonder...
Still despite how incredibly frustrating Quentin can be, the story itself is pretty decent. Well written. It's fun. There's the "real world", the Brakebills school world where the magicians get their training, the Fillory world where the humans are mostly seen as oddities but oddities who are the only ones allowed to become queens and kings of this world.
I liked it enough that if I notice the sequel I'll get it, but I'm not so obsessed that I'd be stalking the author's pages waiting to pre-prder it.