Intellectually gifted but emotionally unfulfilled, Quentin Coldwater is as much at sea as any high school senior. He still takes refuge in the fantasy novel series he read as a kid, waiting for happiness to fall in his lap. Surprisingly, it does indeed seem to when an elite and secret college of magic recruits him. Mark Brahmall wonderfully inflects the gaggle of fallible little geniuses Quentin grows up with there: Elliott the flaming drunkard, Janet the flashy attention hog, Alice the wallflower, Josh the bumbling frat boy, and Penny the punk rocker. This is not the nice and polite world of Hogwarts. These 17-year-olds spend five years drinking, screwing, cursing, and occasionally buckling down to work with spells that sound more like chemistry labs than fantastic miracles.
Magic is hard, and growing up proves even harder. Brahmall ages this group of would-be adventurers, gradually inserting the pessimistic uncertainty that creeps in as their graduation approaches, and then the slovenly vulgarity that accompanies their post-grad malaise in New York. But their voices find fresh purpose and energy when Penny discovers that Fillory, the magical land of those books from their youth, is real. Fraught with the tensions sprouting between them, each member of Quentin's posse has reasons to escape into Fillory. Brahmall gives voice to everything from a birch tree to an ancient ram, as the group's quest for a brighter future turns ever more ugly and alarming. Quentin's once idyllic dream now corrupted, he struggles to regain a sense of self and return to the more banal hostilities of the real world.
This is a story narrated with all the wonderment and gravitas inherent in the great tradition of magical coming-of-age tales, to be sure, but it rests firmly on the rocky foundations of a realistic human volatility and longing that may want to keep the characters snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to their bitter end. This world is nothing like Narnia or Middle Earth, and listeners with knowledge of those places will find plenty of insider references here to keep them laughing through the disasters. Grossman has captured a shamefully universal set of psychological quandaries, and Brahmall has expressed them in tones that are terrifyingly recognizable. Megan Volpert
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren't black and white, love and sex aren't simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
©2009 Lev Grossman; (P)2009 Penguin
"This is a book for grown-up fans of children's fantasy and would appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Provocative, unput-downable....one of the best fantasies I've read in ages." (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
"The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea." (George R.R. Martin)
This book actually made me despise magic which, until now, I didn't think was possible. Perhaps the next books in the series are great but I won't be finding out. This one was more than enough.
Performance was good. Story was marred by a pretty unlikable lead character. Not recommending it to others.
The Magicians was a truly interesting story that kept me hooked for quite a while. It's by far the longest audio book I've ever listened too but I was rooted to the story and the characters and barely noticed the hours passing. There were times of course when characters frustrate you like they normally do, but I consider it the mark of a good author who can get his reader all riled up. I did find the book ended rather abruptly and sadly but I suppose it made sense to end it where it had rather than another way. But it did leave me rather unsatisfied at the end and I had to sit there for a moment contemplating it. I would most certainly recommend giving this a try, I can see it not being for everyone but it was rather enjoyable.
Narrator is fantastic.
Hate Q for being an idiot.
Hate characters for making stupid, selfish, human mistakes.
Book pissed me off over and over again.
10/10 will read again.
First, the narrator was great, he made the story enjoyable to listen to. I am conflicted with the story. I like the idea of it all but it was so depressing almost all the time. The middle was so boring and even said out loud "come on, get on with the story already!" In the end it finally got good and then back to suck until the very end and now I want to listen to the next book kicking and screaming. Why do I want to put myself through that again? Of course I need to know what is going to happen. Hopefully, Q will get his head out of his ass.
Amazing narration and a compelling story what more do you need. I do recomend it, its an interesting look on what the the life of a young magacian could be like.
His voices for some of the characters was particularly annoying.
The authors choice of words got particularly more irritating as I read on. Yes he word choice was "the perfect word for the situation" For example, if you don't use words like "kludge" in your every day vocabulary, prepare to have a dictionary (or in my case Kindle) handy.
The character and world were only really developed superficially and so weren't believable or emotionally compelling. The main character was irritating because he was whiny and (because of the lack of character development) whiny for some reason I could not grasp. I really kept thinking the author was doing this superficial dance for a reason and then would tie it all together in the end and give the whole tedious novel meaning, but he didn't. Overall I felt disappointed at the end. Oh well.
Looking forward to the next! Fresh off the heels of the ridiculously amazing "Red Rising" trilogy, I felt bad for the book I chose next. No tougher act to follow, than that brilliant series.
But, The Magicians was excellent! It brought me into it's world and am dying for more. I am enjoying watching the TV show as I read the first book. The characters on screen work perfectly with what I was reading.
My wife asked me what the story was about after I had read 3/4 of it and when I told her about it she followed up by asking what the conflict was and I didn't have a good answer. I proceeded to listen for a few more hours and there was nothing happening in the story. I realized I didn't care for the characters at all.
There was no challenges for the main character that he could not pass. Lev Grossman doesn't even attempt to give the idea that the main character could fail at anything. He passes all the tests, makes all the friends, except one that vanishes the instant their is a conflict.
Make your characters fail once in a while it makes them human and enables readers to relate to them.
Mark Bramhall was a very good narrator. He tricked me for a long time into thinking I liked the story. He was easy to listen to and he did a number of different accents well throughout the story.
Stop reading it.
This is a book you can skip. Maybe Lev writes his other stories better, but this book has turned me off from reading anything by him.
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