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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 the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Harry Potter discovers Narnia is real in this derivative fantasy thriller from Time book critic Grossman (Codex). Quentin Coldwater, a Brooklyn high school student devoted to a children's series set in the Narnia-like world of Fillory, is leading an aimless existence until he's tapped to enter a mysterious portal that leads to Brakebills College, an exclusive academy where he's taught magic. Coldwater, whose special gifts enable him to skip grades, finds his family's world mundane and domestic when he returns home for vacation. He loses his innocence after a prank unintentionally allows a powerful evil force known only as the Beast to enter the college and wreak havoc. Eventually, Coldwater's powers are put to the test when he learns that Fillory is a real place and how he can journey there. Genre fans will easily pick up the many nods to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, not to mention J.R.R. Tolkien in the climactic battle between the bad guy and a magician. 5-city author tour.(Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It has fantastic elements, yes. There is magic; there is a school for magic, where the characters learn to cast spells, using hand gestures and arcane language and strange mystical components -- Ziploc bag full of mutton fat, anyone? -- and there is a voyage from this world to another, a land of naiads and fauns and magical speaking animals, gods and demons, kings and queens, quests and wishes. But this book is something very different from the usual fantasy novel. In "The Magicians," Lev Grossman has done something unusual, and remarkable, perhaps even unique: this is a grown-up fantasy. This book is to fantasy what "The Grapes of Wrath" is to travel books, what "The Metamorphosis" is to self-help: so much more depressing and visceral and funny and horrifying, and genuine, and fascinating, and hard to read and therefore valuable, that it doesn't belong in the same category despite sharing some central traits. The setting is imagined, and there are supernatural things that happen, but make no mistake: this is a serious novel.Read more ›
The characters in the story are fairly fleshed out, in that you have a good sense of what drives them, what makes them tick, you can see the dynamics between them. The description of the magic school Brakebills is very well done, filled with things that people don't understand about and that has a life of its own. And while at the very end there's something that can lead to a sequel, there's definitely an ending to this book, no gimmick cliffhanger that requires you to wait for the next book.
Definitely, the book had the makings of a great story. Yet, I was left numb at the end, not happy, not sad, not scared. And that, really, is why I left this review with 3 stars. I read fiction to be entertained. This entertainment can be in the form of humor, feeling good, scared, excited, titillated, insightful, or some combination thereof. Instead, when I read this book, I saw through the eyes of a fairly apathetic protagonist, who messes things up and blames everyone else, who had chances to become a hero and fails each time. I read about a person who wanted something, got it, didn't like it, and became apathetic. I read about the antagonist being defeated, the protagonist winning in the end, and no one feeling ... well, happy for having accomplished anything. Perhaps this is what real life can be.Read more ›
...but the book sputters along with no real plot, very little character development, and the oddest choices in pacing that I've read in a long while.
No plot: there really isn't a story here. The book follows Quentin's (the main character's) life in fits and starts as events happen to him, and as he whines to himself about it, but there is no story arc to pull you in and keep the reader engaged. Things just happen, and then another thing happens, and then something unrelated happens. Add to that the fact that the prose is klunky and occasionally florid, and you've got a book that requires more work to read than it should. I found myself speed-reading three and four pages at a time, and missing nothing essential. (In fairness, noticing and fixing stuff like that is an editor's job, and this book might read a lot better if it had gotten a sterner editing.)
It might be possible for a book to thrive without a strong storyline or plot, if there are characters you can care for. I could not come to believe in these characters, much less care about them; they are too one dimensional, and that dimension is the same for all of them (angsty). Quentin especially just goes where events pull him, as though he is just the author's puppet. And despite those events, he remains essentially the same brat at the end as at the beginning: whiny, self-absorbed, and unlikeable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rather slow paced for a fantasy novel, nothing remotely interesting until half way through. You'll either love it or be bored to death in the first 60%. Read morePublished 35 minutes ago by RAPPA
It's a bit emo, but it's a fun story and it keeps you interested. Don't make the mistake of thinking it's a book for adolescents. It definitely isn't. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by cash
I read until I was 60 %into the story waiting for some character in the book to be likable or for some aspect of the world to be agreeable . I finally gave up. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Kindle Customer
I really didn't like any of the characters, which made it tough to care about what happened to them.Published 3 days ago by Elliott
Books are written to tell stories, stories are told to convey ideas. Good stories tend to be allegorical, great stories tend to be deeper than that; so reminiscent and evocative... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I'm listening to this book in the Audible format. It spends 200 minutes whining, sniveling and complaining about the emptiness of life. Teenage angst multiplied by 3. Read morePublished 4 days ago by J. B. Kramer
usually don't like books w/male protagonists but this one managed to win me overPublished 9 days ago by courtney