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The Magicians Audiobook

The Magicians: A Novel

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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

4.0 (12571 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Hanna 09-19-16
    Hanna 09-19-16
    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "A let down!"
    Would you try another book from Lev Grossman and/or Mark Bramhall?

    I'm not sure. The narrating was okay but not great. The writing wasn't that great either.


    What was most disappointing about Lev Grossman’s story?

    I don't know how to explain it but this book is not what I expected it to be. I was kind of looking for a surrogate for Harry Potter but this fell way short. I think it has poor character development and poor dialogue. This book could not keep my interest.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He didn't make the story come alive (in my opinion.)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Quanked Scribe 09-15-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Harry Potter with Angst"
    Would you try another book from Lev Grossman and/or Mark Bramhall?

    I doubt it.


    What was most disappointing about Lev Grossman’s story?

    It lacked character development, backstories. It depends too much on the reader's knowledge of other fantasy works, which it is CONSTANTLY referencing, and not in the nice, oblique nod sort of reference. Leaves the reader dangling with too many unasked questions (questions asked by the reader, but not by the character). It's too the point that these whiney characters have annoyed me to the point that I am not sure I want to finish the book -- I'm at about chapter 7 and have lost the desire to hang in there.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Bramhall?

    Possibly -- he doesn't have much of a script to work with here.


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

    It's not so much cutting as building better bridges between scenes. It doesn't really flow.


    Any additional comments?

    Waste of a credit. I bought it on my husband's recommendation. My husband and I have to have a little talk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mommy G 09-14-16
    Mommy G 09-14-16 Member Since 2016
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    "My high hopes were dashed."
    What disappointed you about The Magicians?

    I had such high hopes from reading people's stellar reviews, and I really enjoy this genre, but I just couldn't finish. It had such a promising premise that I tolerated it for a couple of hours, however I just couldn't make a connection to the characters or even care about them. They didn't develop at all in the 10 hours I listened. A lot happened in the time I did listen to it, but the events were never really explored and I had a hard time figuring out if it was important to the story line or just filler for the book. Granted, I didn't finish the book so I truly don't know if things will be tied in, but my interest lagged so much I just couldn't waste any more of my time on it. I also got the impression that the author was actually making fun of Harry Potter and Narnia, rather than being inspired by those series. I am a fan of both of those so that may have been another reason why I was turned off from this story. I may try to listen again another time and see if my opinion changes, but for now I'm giving up. To me this was nothing like Harry Potter (as some reviews claim it to be.) The narrator did a decent job and I would like to listen to him read a different story to see how he does.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Perhaps another of Michael J. Sullivan's series. Prior to this book, I listened to Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series and I was pleasantly surprised by it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment that I can't fall in love with this story. Frustration that I cannot summon the will to complete it. Disinterest in what happens to these characters because it's hard to care for them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scot Fontaine CHICAGO, IL, US 09-09-16
    Scot Fontaine CHICAGO, IL, US 09-09-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Had me until the Tomb."

    Had a hard time fully getting into it towards the end. I'm hoping it all comes together for me as I move to the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackie W. Richmond, VA 09-08-16
    Jackie W. Richmond, VA 09-08-16

    Jackie

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    5
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    "Childhood fantasy, all grown up"

    Taking parts from Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia and framing them in a realistic and adult story, Grossman has taken fantasy and shaped it into a tale of complicated emotions and the quest to find oneself. This is an engrossing story with a talented narrator, and is well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-07-16
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    15
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    "Mark Bramhall is a master"

    The way Mark read the story made it feel 10x better. The story was so different from other books it felt real.

    Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EJ 09-07-16
    EJ 09-07-16
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    5
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    "just plain terrible."

    I tried to give it a chance, but 3/4 of the way through nothing had happened. There was minor character development and no plot to speak about. I watched the TV show and this is one of the rare instances where the show is way better, and the show isn't that good. if I hadn't watched the show and known some of what was supposed to happen I wouldn't have even made it as far as I did in the book. I just kept waiting for any of the shows plot lines to show up and they simply didn't. Don't waste your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-07-16 Member Since 2016
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    "I wanted to love this book."

    I like Lev Grossman and I wanted to love this book. I was excited about it and his entire series. I was disappointed. I listened to this book as an audiobook and I wasn't crazy about the performance. It was okay and he did voices which I liked. I ultimately found the book way too long. It was 17 hours on audiobook (I drive a lot for work so I didn't mind the length) but the story didn't pick up until after 11 hours into it. There was a lot of set up and when the plot picked up it was interesting but some of the questions I wanted answered weren't . I wasn't attached to any of the characters and they weren't relatable. It was very pretentious. The 20-22 year old genius magicians were seemingly all from wealthy families and dropped phrases in other languages without translating for the rest of us. They know about all kinds of fancy food and wine and I didn't even know what they were talking about. When I was 20-22 I didn't drink obscure wine and boast about my ennui with existence. I did like Alice for the most part but Quentin was so damn whiny and lost in his own head that it was just frustrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CORY MICHAEL HAYS 09-06-16
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    "The Magicians "

    I started this book because of the series on the television. There are similarities, but they are definitely two separate entities. I enjoyed the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn 09-04-16
    Kathryn 09-04-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narnia/Potter have no worries"

    A cynical do-over built on the backs of much-loved and much more creative writings. Probably the most accurate adjective for the characters and plot would be "Pathetic ".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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