It is a grown up Harry Potter mixed with the witch and the wardrobe. I found the beginning to be a tad slow- so I switched from reading to the audio version and fell in love with the story
I kept waiting the story to go somewhere, but it seems to have bogged down with in unneeded side stories. I thought it was sounding kind of like Lord Of The Rings for awhile, then took a Harry Potter turn. It really was a bit tedious, and I nodded off a few times and had to go back, only to find that I really hadn't missed anything. It served to entertain me while I did work around the house, but I would not buy another book in this series
Modern Day Narnia
I enjoyed how The Magicians took many of the old coming of age magic cliches and twisted them into a more modern setting. The book leans on the reader knowing many of the classic cliches like Narnia and Harry Potter, but gives it a gritty twist where the magicians are attending college with all the twists and turns that the rite of passage gives. Grossman focuses on moving through the magic and details quickly while focusing on how it changes Quentin along the way.
Modern, easy-to-read and literary.
At this point I listen to around ~16 hours of audiobook every day thanks to 3x speed. I've returned to this over a dozen times. It's rich, with characters delightfully true but humanly broken, a setting that has all the escapism and richness of Harry Potter and Narnia but actually feels real, and a plot that makes me want to strangle the characters for getting themselves into such a mess.
And for the geeks, you've got references to David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, and plenty of more recent works you'll have to experience to experience.
Did I mention that the sequels get even more intense, rich and meaty? No i didn't. But they do. And I'm running out of ways to recommend this without spoilers.
Any speculative fiction fan should add this to their list, it'll be canon in less than a decade. Any literary fiction fan who wants to believe a the middle ground with genre fiction exists should read this to remember that escapism can still be rich (it's got just as many fickle, moody false heros as any lit fic).
And us normal people can just enjoy a story that about broken regular folks kicking ass (sometimes with magic).
Started this after watching the TV show. Of course the book is always better, giving lots of background and nuance. The narrator made this really fly--he was the perfect choice. Can't wait to start the second volume!
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I personally did not care for the story of the book. The reader for the story I believe totally ruined the book for me. He had no enthusiasm reading the book. Just a very monotone reader. I don't believe that they made this book into it TV show. The TV show is even worse than the book!
I really struggled to finish this book. I felt that the downtime to action ratio was not well balanced. The story started a little bit interesting and it shortly became tedious. Books are not good or bad, but you either like them or you don't and I really didn't like this one. I didn't hate it but I definitely won't continue reading the series.