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)
I liked the lack of whimsical fantasy and the books real world take on what happens when you've left your magical school after learning to harness incredible power and find out there are no monsters to fight. Quentin is hard to like at times and self obsessed more than a lot but what main character in any real world grounding isn't?
The central character, Quentin, really needs a slap, but the scope of this story outweighs the irritation you'll feel with him. Great reading too.
The narrator kept mispronouncing words that were (I thought, at least) simple words. the story line is like if Hogwarts fucked Narnia and had a child. It started off a little trite, but essentially grew into its own unique little world. Very entertaining.
this story is at times light and fast paced, other times heavier and broody, but it kept my interest until the end. I felt captivated by the world and the story from start to finish.
I did not start this expecting it to be like Harry Potter - I realized it would be darker and more ambiguous, and I'm fine with that. Unfortunately there is very little here to capture my imagination or interest. It starts OK, but the character development is poor, and after the first sequence the plot grinds to a halt and there are no interesting details to keep you engaged. It's rare that I don't finish a book, but this one was such a slog that I gave up at the halfway mark. Really surprised by the critical acclaim this received.
This audio book was a blast. it is definitely adult, if you can't handle language or mature writing this is not for you. But if that does not ruin a book for you give this a chance, this book has a lot of really interesting sections to it. You get to watch the characters grow up on through a big span of their lives and makes me excited about diving into the other volumes in this series.
This is a fabulous ride through a magical world BUT with all slang, pop culture, and nerd references intact. It's a sassy, snarky, and in places dark, essay on the question all fantasy lovers have asked... "What would happen if I really did, somehow, find myself in a magical world?' Read and enjoy.
I went into this one open minded and ready for a bit of escapism. But ended up being disappointed by the overall messy plot and unlikable characters.
The main protagonist has very few redeeming qualities, which makes it hard to care for him even well in to the book.
The story never really decides what it wants to be. And the world never seems fully realised. Instead it flits back and forth between interesting ideas, without ever capturing the reader with any of them.
Not really an adventure, more a misadventure. It's full of angst and lacks any real heart.
The narration on the other hand was fantastic. With clear personalities and voices for each character which soon become familiar.
Report Inappropriate Content