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....
I was so hopeful the reviews would be wrong. I loved the premise of the book and really wanted to love it. It had moments that were good but they were few and far between. Over and over I was saying to myself,
have the characters learn from their mistakes
I liked how he described some of the magic.
I'm a bit undecided about this audio book. The narration was satisfactory, but not one of those I'll rave about. As for the novel itself, I'm not sure grown ups should be allowed to ruin Narnia... er "Fillory."
The description of "Harry Potter for grownups" is a description I saw frequently used in reference to this novel. In that a magical school (in this case, a 5 year college) is involved, I guess that's true. However, unlike the HP series, 4 years passes in half a novel while simultaneously seeming to fly and drag by (rather like 4 years of college).
"The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" x "Harry Potter" for kids might be more accurate. This story does not have the innocence and whim of Harry Potter or the Narnia (aka "Fillory") series about which the hero fantasizes.
The hero doesn't behave like a hero. The hero behaves badly. Drugs, alcohol, sex, coarse language... The hero has a bad attitude. The hero is really an anti-hero. And yet, despite all that, or maybe because of all that, the reader roots for him.
I'm curious enough to see where Gossman went with the next "Magicians" novel to give it a chance. I'm starting "The Magician King" on audio today (as soon as I find my headset, that is).
This is the second book I listened to because GRRM recommended it. I also got one based on a Neil Gaiman recommend and one on a Stephen King recommend. The lesson here is that just because u tend to like a writer doesnt mean u will like everything or even ANYTHING else that they like.
Having said that I really don't understand the negativity level of many of the reviews. This is a decent read. Its a little heavy on the coming of age angst to be sure, but the story is pretty solidly engaging. Comparison with Harry Potter may have been too misleading for the audience
These are outcast misfit angry highschoolers who get to go to magic college, true enough - but if you know anything about unhappy teens you must know that they are not generally capable of the kind of wonder that younger children can produce. Child- wonder tended to severely mitigate the really sad themes that were in Potter.
The ending is a weakness in my view. I just didnt like it. The story is very angsty and then suddenly something silly gets introduced when you cant possibly appreciate silly as anything other than dumb.
I bought this more than a year ago. I think I have listened x3. I almost always have to listen twice to really get the whole thing what with life going on and all. So neither a fave nor a failure.
The performance is excellent. I havent gotten the sequel yet but I probably will. It might be good and I do love a good story
This is certainly not Harry Potter; it's dark, it's angst-filled, it's overwrought and really kind of frustrating. HS kids head to magic school/university... only to find out that being a magician is depressing, filled with drugs, alcohol and no real hope for productive living. After the story was over all I could say about it was meh...
The narration is fantastic, the story is well written but is just not my cup of tea. I'm not into stories about endless despair. Sure, the end of the story provides an opportunity for pulling us out of the despair in the sequel, but I won't be getting it.
A different story, a different narrator, the narrators voice was horribly bland and depressing, terrible to listen to.
No. Sadly I read the reviews and wasted both my credits on both books. I've been a huge fan of audible for years and years and have never disliked a book so much to take the time to even write a review. Avoid this book, series, and author.
He literally made it painful, dark and depressing to listen to. He was bland and gave a poor performance.
The main character. He is constantly drunk, doing drugs, being whiny and pathetic. Never witty, nothing endearing about him, not brave, not smart, not articulate, just a tone of poor pathetic me through the entire book.
Do NOT waste your time or money on this series. Unless you are interested in a drunk whiny kid acting as Harry Potter running amok pathetic and inebriated through the Narnia series. Horrible.
What a strange thing; for some reason I kept restarting this but it just didn't get my attention. I should have known as the sequel (which was supposed to be better) failed to get my attention either. I was hoping that this was a case of needing to start from the beginning. Unfortunately, no. This was no Harry Potter.