no, i enjoy this kind of read it's just that the story stalled so much.
his voice and performance was that of an old man. this did not match the age of the characters who were in college.
i don't recommend it. i really, really wanted to finish. there wasn't enough magic and there was way too much whining.
I strongly disliked the pretentious pronunciation of the reader. For example, the way he says nauseous, pronouncing every vowel. Or how he over emphasizes the letter H in words like who or where. Very annoying. It's atrocious speech IMO, and it routinely pulled me from the story. His accents were not great (though not bad either) and he seemed to half-try different voices for the various characters, and only succeeded a few times.
The Magicians starts with the premise, "What if magic, Hogwarts and Narnia were real?" and then explores the implications through the eyes of Quentin, a brilliant, unhappy, self-involved young sorcerer making his start in the magical world. The book upends certain genre conventions (the hero and his friends engage in all manner of conventional, painfully banal immorality) even as it glorifies others (secret magical worlds and a capital-"Q" Quest), without irrevocably upsetting the balance of the story. In fact, the entire book is a balancing act, causing you to alternately love and loathe the characters, the magical world, and the situations Grossman describes in unapologetically modern prose. The Magicians is challenging and rewarding in equal measure, with the payoff directly proportional to your ability to release your expectations of Harry Potter and Prince Caspian and let Grossman's story stand on its own.
This is not a fantasy story; rather, it is an utterly unmagical coming of age story about characters immature enough to believe that being bored by everything is the height of sophistication. (I suspect the author shares this view; certainly there is no suggestion that there is anything inappropriate in the characters' total disengagement.) The protagonist, Quentin, is transported from his boring and meaningless life as an upper-middle-class high schooler to a college for magicians, which he finds boring and meaningless. Even when Quentin plays a minor prank (out of boredom, of course), that causes a fellow student to be eaten alive, it causes only the most minor ripple in the lake of his ennui. Quentin frets briefly over whether or not his classmates noticed that he caused the event, then forgets it until graduation, when the class drinks a pretentious little toast to the dead student and then forgets all about it again. An episode when Quentin comes near to death during a trial-by-ordeal final exam has a similar lack of impact. Not only does Quentin not experience any significant emotional effects from spending days running naked across Antarctica, he doesn't particularly care when he returns and discovers that his friends simply skipped the ordeal and spent the time drinking cocktails on the terrace, without facing any repercussions. Throughout the hours of tedium consumed by the recounting of Quentin's years of magical education, the reader is tantalized by references to the fictional land of Fillory, with which Quentin has been obsessed since childhood. Surely, Fillory must be real, and at last something the reader can care about might happen! Fillory of course does turn out to be real, and Quentin and the members of his equally unlikeable clique eventually find their way there, only to discover that everything there is sordid and perverted. Thus, the lesson of this unpleasant novel is that growing up means replacing the bright fantasies of childhood with desperate, pointless emptiness, except for the special people who are privileged to discover that underneath the veneer of monotony, life is vile and depraved. Oh, and Mr. Grossman? When you want your heroine to express the closest thing that this book has to an emotional insight (she hates her parents, even though they're magicians, too), just have her say it. Nobody gasps out things like that in the throes of sexual passion. Gasping, yes. Gasping "don't let me turn out like my parents," no. Although in retrospect, I would certainly not have chosen to spend a credit on this book (or on the sequel -- I bought both books at once, the more fool I), I don't particularly want my credit back. What I want back is the brain cells that I wasted on this loathsome piece of work.
Reading and listening goes straight into your medulla oblongota and you learn through thought memory. It's like being programmed into intelligence. If you read this, you just learned that the best gifts are free. Or One Credit... and that's kinda free.
Woefully slow at first, but purposeful. Story developes, takes off and is woven together tightly. Very enjoyable. Felt for the characters. Learned, tragic, NY realistic, then fantasy and Nymphs. Voice charaterization well done - took a bit to engage, then took off. Pace of the book has purpose and intent - albeit a bit sluggish with a strange ending. Worth another listen down the road. A nice story told.
Basically Harry Potter for grown ups, but completely lacking in spirit or engaging characters. There's really only one character in the book, the protagonist, and he's a self-interested bore. I liked the premise of the book but hated the execution.
It's the story of an ordinary geeky brainiac who is recruited into a university of magic. But it is not the whimsical, twinkly world of J.K. Rowling--it's gritty and edgy, with adult themes and considerable bad behavior. The story is well-plotted and held my interest throughout, and I enjoyed the adventures of these college-age wizards as they struggle towards self-awareness and full adulthood.
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
Occasionally you come across an author who seems more interested in seeming clever with his wordsmith than being a good storyteller. The prose in the Magicians is constantly constantly constantly being interrupted by some of the most idiotic and out of place thoughts. Example, as you're running for your life from a hoard of creatures intent on killing you in an underground lair in a magical land, you slide across a table and think how that's like sliding across a Firebird car - who would really think that? The problem is these constant, random distractions seem to have no purpose - they don't propel the story. They don't explore the characters. They simply seem to be there because it might make the author seem clever. Way too little attention was placed on the art of telling a good story - in fact, the story itself seems very unoriginal.
Lev Grossman liberally grabs from previous fantasy-like universes like Potter and Narnia, makes a few adjustments and then populates the whole "new" world with some of the most absolute unlikable and objectionable characters he could think of. Not a single character seems able to have a pleasant thought or do a good deed. Previous reviewers seem to think this an "adult" version of Potter. I guess "adult" is defined as a story populated with vile characters lacking any kind of basic morality. These characters are depressingly unhappy from page 1 for no apparent reason and act out against other people and each other simply on this basic, silly conceit.
At the core, the primary fault I have with the book is its extremely poor construction. The stages/periods in the book seem only half woven together. You rip ideas from other universes and only weakly attempt to place them in your own? Throw-away moments and random plot points fill the book. You just sit and ask WHY? constantly in this novel.
With the “Harry Potter”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Narnia” phenomenon from the last decade, I was skeptical about another wizard story. I was glad to hear that the author incorporates these influences as tongue in cheek references instead of trying to claim any originality with the concepts.
This is a coming of age story which starts with The Magicians and continues to completion in The Magician King. A typical group of young people, trying to find their place in life, the kicker is that they possess magical skills. The main group is formally trained with one exception, a witch who was excluded from acceptance to the school, but whose innate abilities cannot be stifled and pursues her magical drive as an outsider.
The characters in the story have their own strong characters and aren’t lost behind the main personality of Quentin Coldwater. In fact I liked that the secondary characters find their own paths independently of Quentin’s, who is the last person to put the pieces of his life puzzle together.
All in all, it is a good read with a story that is contemporized enough to stand on its own.
I liked it when Quintin got into Brinkbills & most all of his school. The story is well written & fast moving with more twists & turns than a mountain switch back. But I must admit that I got really depressed listening to it. Won't listen to it again....