We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Magicians Audiobook

The Magicians: A Novel

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.
Regular Price:$38.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

A thrilling and original coming-of- age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (7330 )
5 star
 (2743)
4 star
 (2435)
3 star
 (1358)
2 star
 (502)
1 star
 (292)
Overall
3.9 (6193 )
5 star
 (2268)
4 star
 (1927)
3 star
 (1182)
2 star
 (486)
1 star
 (330)
Story
4.3 (6171 )
5 star
 (3136)
4 star
 (2014)
3 star
 (723)
2 star
 (180)
1 star
 (118)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    james Hartselle, AL, United States 05-21-10
    james Hartselle, AL, United States 05-21-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    270
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Wow, then meh, then it ends"

    When I discovered that Lev Grossman is the brother of Austin Grossman (Soon I Will Be Invincible) I was immediately curious to see how their prose compared. It turns out Lev's writing is COMPLETELY different but no less brilliant.
    The first half of this book is amazing. Even though you know there will be revelations they are still surprising and they just keep coming.

    After graduation though, it just plods for a loooong time. It's also around this time that Quentin does something that completely removes any chance of his remaining a sympathetic character. The whole bit in Narnia...um, I mean "Fillory" is much more tedious than the mundane world but maybe that's intentional. Anyway, the ending ties it all together fairly well.

    My biggest complaint involves the drinking. Not the fact that everybody drinks (and believe me they do...HEAVILY...ALL THE TIME), but it's superfluous and pretentious to name all the various drinks as if anybody cares what TYPE of wine they drank way too much of for every single occasion.

    53 of 67 people found this review helpful
  •  
    paul 05-31-14
    paul 05-31-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not your ordinary book"

    The Magicians isn't about friendship Harry Potter thrives on, or the beauty of another world that Narnia is about. But it is commonly falsely compared the two. The Magicians is not for those looking for the two, it borrows some ideas from the two, but is nothing like either.

    The Magicians is in the best way I can describe a book that understands what it is straight from the beginning. Though not a happy uplifting book, its a great view of how magic would be used in the real world.

    The only way I can tell someone if they would like this book or not is if they understand this is about a group of unhappy smart people who discover they can use magic and that the main character is someone who is self destructive and would do anything in his search for happiness.

    The Magicians is Beautiful, not flawless. It's not for everyone and it won't be a story that I would recommend to most people, but to those who are looking for a great story and aren't afraid of imperfect characters and concepts that aren't completely original then The Magicians is territory that must be explored.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodi 10-21-11
    Jodi 10-21-11

    Since having kids - the luxury of sitting down and reading a book is out of the question. Now I can put on good book for just me, or one for the kids while driving and everyone is at PEACE and no one is YELLING. Life is good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    154
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "love the series. not the audio"

    I've tried to get in touch with the story, twice. Once way before the series started. I liked the series, then tried again
    The narrator BORES me, or the story. I just can't get into.

    23 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane Valparaiso, IN, USA 08-14-09
    Shane Valparaiso, IN, USA 08-14-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "NOT Harry Potter for grownups"

    I won't go quite so far as to give this a two-star rating, but it's really not so great. It starts off with some potential, but once it gets moving along it's really more depressing than anything. I don't mind "dark" or more adult fantasy novels, but this is more of a novel about a bunch of boring, alcoholic, screwed up people that just happen to live in a world where magic is real.

    35 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Oakland, CA, United States 10-24-11
    Erik Oakland, CA, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I was hoping for so much more..."

    Just not a big fan of this book. Kept hoping it would get better but I was unfortunately disappoointed. Keeps feeling like an adult Harry Potter without the fantastical world and great dialog. Was more like Harry Potter meets Wicked and I felt the same way about Wicked. Most of the book was narrator exposition with little actual dialog and when there was, it was boring and lacked dramatic tension. The protagonist, Quentin, was annoying at best, and there was nothing sympathetic about him to care about.

    30 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Jones 08-22-09
    Keith Jones 08-22-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "An entertaining adult take on classic themes"

    Overall this book was entertaining, and the story, particularly the first half, was engaging. As previous reviewers have mentioned, there are times when it gets tedious. Also pointed out to some extent is the fact that the characters can be somewhat unsympathetic. I think this is compelling, in that the author is attempting to create a "reality story," fraught with human failings, in a fantasy context; so that there is not a clearly defined hero.

    I disagree with those who claim that this book is a collection of stolen ideas. The book is a play on the Narnia concept as a vehicle for a modern day coming of age story, and is far from an allegory. Furthermore, the fact that a major setting is a school for magicians no more makes The Magicians a rip-off of Harry Potter than such presence makes Harry Potter a rip-off of Discworld. I found this story to be quite original and a refreshing departure from the typical fantasy/magician story.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maddie 02-27-16
    Maddie 02-27-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First time the show has a thicker plot than the book"

    This book starts off slow, has moments of great writing but refuses to take off with it.

    I feel like Grossman keeps telling us how brilliant these characters are and expects us (the readers) to believe it without a shred of evidence in the story.

    The characters go through the riggers of the plot and don't show any signs of growth.

    I enjoyed the audio version, it was well read. Bramhall has a soothing and consistent voice throughout. I would only argue his voice for "Josh" doesn't match the character in the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. E. Koziol Western Massachusetts 02-23-16
    S. E. Koziol Western Massachusetts 02-23-16

    HS science teacher.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not an original"

    The characters were extremely unlike-able. The story was a straight rip-off from two much better series. The author owes J.K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis royalties.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Bloomington, MN, United States 01-21-16
    Jason Bloomington, MN, United States 01-21-16 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Horrible for a seemingly teen novel"
    Would you try another book from Lev Grossman and/or Mark Bramhall?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Lev Grossman again?

    No


    What does Mark Bramhall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mark does a pretty good job defining who the characters are.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Magicians?

    The book has way too much sex and drinking for the apparent intended audience, but I would cut the pointless gay love scene between Eliot and his toy.


    Any additional comments?

    In addition to the horrible example this book sets for teens, there is no point to the story. There is no antagonist and no conflict to resolve.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bath, Me USA 01-13-16
    Amazon Customer Bath, Me USA 01-13-16 Member Since 2013

    becky1304530

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for those who like fantasy books"

    So the one highlight of this title was the narrator. I had read some of the reviews and was up for trying something new; a more adult fantasy novel with a more complicated characters and less of the same old cliches. I expected to really delve into complicated characters and explore relationships with the added pressure of magic in the practical world. What I got was the long boring diatribe of a whiny depressed teen. Depression, drinking, sex, and self victimization were the focus of the first half of the book.

    I tired to like this book, I really did. I read other reviews about it being the adult version of Harry Potter and references to how Narnia is so much a part of our cultural heritage that it makes the book work that I thought this would be a huge hit with me. I wasn't looking for a children's book or even good escapist literature, I wanted something meaty to sink my teeth into.

    There are so many places this book could have turned things around. There were hints of something exciting lurking under the surface that would make plodding through the pages and pages of mind numbing pity party the protagonist puts on worth the effort. Over half way through the book I finally had to give up. I was so sick of listening to this brat whine about how hard his life was and how depressed he was even though he had finally gotten what he wanted, a place to fit in, friends who cared about and liked him, a girl who he loved and who loved him back, a college education in magik of all things, and a chance to be anyone he wanted to be. But while I was wishing I was him, he was busy being depressed about it all. Someone needed to force feed this kid some prozac and quick.

    There is sex, an enormous amount of drinking, and swearing in the book so I guess it qualifies as an adult novel, however the story is like listening to a kid whine about how mean his parents are when they only give him an xbox with 2 controls and 50 games instead of 4 controls and 200 games. If you want to listen to a bunch of adolescents whine about how hard they have it, go to your local middle school and spend an hour asking them about how bad they have it and save your money. Of course if you find yourself extremely happy and euphoric and prefer to be miserable, then spend the money and take a listen. It should fix that joy in no time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.