If you enjoyed Lewis, Tolkien, Bujold or George RR Martin you will not enjoy this book. Not one character has a shred of honor or decency. They are self-centered, depressed and depressing. One truth shared early on is that great power and unlimited resources given to people with no moral grounding does not make those people happy and is dangerous to everyone around them. I wish I had stopped when I got that point. I stubbornly persevered hoping it would get better. It doesn't. If reading about self-destructive, miserable, shallow characters is enjoyable for you by all means embark on this book.
If Harry Potter was an adult book then maybe it would be somewhat like this story. The story starts out slow and you are constantly waiting for the Plot to begin. Nothing really exciting happens till the book is half way over. It's not till they find their storybook world Fillory witch sounds a lot like Narnia that the story gets very interesting. Once you get to that part you won't want to stop listening. I don't care too much for the Narrator because he gets boring sometimes but if you can stick it out you won't be disappointed. There is bad language, adult situations, drug and alcohol use and violence in this book so don't listen if you don't like those kinds of things.
As a fan of both Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, I thought I would enjoy this much more than I did. I can't bring myself to finish it. There is a fine line between being inspired by a concept and ripping it off and this story crosses it. I may have enjoyed this more if it was a different narrator...Mark Brahmall definitely did not add anything to the telling of the story...instead it just put me to sleep.
I have mixed feelings about Magicians. I like the IDEA of it, but perhaps it was too stark and depressing for me. I felt like it had the futileness of "Less Than Zero" in a Harry Potter and Narnia framework. Maybe the book was too long (in the middle I wondered, What's the point?). But I liked it enough to give the sequel a listen when it comes out. I cautiously recommend (but NOT for kids!).
The narration was adequate.
It was an engaging book, but the characters were not too likeable by the end. However, I listened to the entire book and lost some sleep because I wanted to know what happened. Also, the language (urban slang) was amusing. Well written. Somewhat whiny narration, but the narrator was probably trying to get into the character's psyce. The main character was very whiny.
I say this because, I grow up feeling a bit outside of the norm. It is a bit of humor that I am a working Magician myself today, but that is nether here or there. The book tells of a young adult who himself feels like an outsider to life. The story grows as he finds friends like him, learns what love is and how it can feel in its lost. Wrapped up in the middle of this this he learns the would of Magicians, and how to become one himself. I do not try to kid anyone to say this is a young adult book. There is a bit of "adult" parts, but it is not over the top as some writers have done. (I would say it is close to the level Robert Patterson has used in some of his books.) There is lots of twist and turns in the book to keep you wanting more. Give it a try and you might surprise yourself.
I will also say this. There better be more books to come. I want to read more about this world of Magicians.
I got this one because I fell for the puffery likening it to "Harry Potter Goes to College."
Not even close.
I gave it two stars because the fictive world that Grossman created was rather appealing, though it owed a bit much to C.S. Lewis.
If literary authors want to dabble in genre fiction, they should have some respect for the genre; I felt like Grossman was sneering at Harry Potter and Narnia fans with the way he carefully copied almost every aspect of both worlds, and then sucked all the joy and wonder out of them. He gave us a bunch of "realistic" teenage magicians, which is to say, selfish, depressing, whiny, and mean. This would have been fine if we saw character growth and some sort of redeeming quality by the end, but we don't.
There is some decent writing and worldbuilding here, but the story is bleak and pointless, and never once did I find myself caring about any of the characters. The narration was okay -- Mark Bramhall did give each character a distinct voice that helped me remember who was who when I didn't really care.
This is a book for people who think themselves "above" reading fantasy, especially YA fantasy, not for people who actually enjoy it, whom I suspect Grossman thinks of as unsophisticated chumps.
Say something about yourself!
I will not mention that this is not a kids book, other have. What I will say is that what started out slow but interesting got very graphic and died somewhere about the 4 hour. I could not finish it. I did like the narration but the story was just bad. Save your credit.