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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Garrett Reed San Diego, CA, US 10-12-16
    Garrett Reed San Diego, CA, US 10-12-16 Member Since 2013
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    "great book"

    loved it the only thing that was kinda lacking was the performance, a younger voice actor would have been better for the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Dana Springdale, AR, United States 10-12-16
    Dana Springdale, AR, United States 10-12-16 Member Since 2011

    Indie writer (Dana Reynolds - Wardenclyffe Trilogy, Rides Eyes of Ghost).

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    "Hogwarts/Narnia mashup with sex and drugs."

    Some will see this as a gleeful return to childhood favorites with a decided adult slant. Some will see it as a derivative desecration. In the end I had about decided it was a parable about addictions and the stubborn refusal to grow up but then the ending turned back on itself and I just don't know. It was entertaining and well written but at times I felt like I was witnessing an old wino taking a leak in a preschool playground.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vonne B. 10-12-16
    Vonne B. 10-12-16 Member Since 2017
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    "mixed feelings"

    I struggled through book one. the characters did not develop enough for me to feel like investing in this franchise. more like a vague curiosity to find out if it gets any better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    James 10-10-16
    James 10-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Postmodern Harry Potter"

    This really is an excellent story. I watched the Syfy series 1 first before reading. They both have their merit and each stand on their own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri O'Neill Ladys Island, SC 10-07-16
    Sheri O'Neill Ladys Island, SC 10-07-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Fantastic story!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Magicians the most enjoyable?

    I absolutely loved this book. I listened to it before the show was produced and love them both, for different reason. Wonderfully written, deep, insightful with a richly woven storyline and premise. Excellent characters and theme. It was wonderful.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I honestly can't pick just one.


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

    The way he brings life to each character


    Who was the most memorable character of The Magicians and why?

    I have a soft spot for Elliott. He's so quirky and different.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lostapixie 10-06-16
    Lostapixie 10-06-16
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    "Take me back to Fillary!"

    This book reminded me of a modern day Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia, but with an adult twist. The plot is complex, yet very easy to follow. The characters are fun and easy to relate to. Ready for the next one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-04-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Harry Potter & the Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe"
    What did you like best about The Magicians? What did you like least?

    I can honestly say I cant think of anything I really liked about this book.<br/><br/>The story is a mix, it starts out like a bad Hogwarts tale, turns into a Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe tale with a little Schrödinger's cat thrown in for good measure.<br/>Add to that the fact that at times you will need a thesaurus to decode some of the overly complex verbiage.<br/><br/>This story also tends to bounce from scene to scene without smooth transitions, one second there following a tree though a forest the next there sitting at a bar drinking with a bear.<br/>


    What could Lev Grossman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Smother transitions.<br/>More defined characters.<br/>Less Verbiage.<br/>World building/scene building needs to be better organized/defined with out being overly complex.<br/>


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narrator was clear and concise.<br/>Unfortunately he failed to convey the scenes or characters very well. it felt more like I was being told what happened instead of feeling like I was in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I believe this was a valiant effort at a story but it very much felt thrown together from many of the story's I have read, it felt to familiar yet not different enough to make it stand out in a good way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill 10-03-16
    Jill 10-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Where's the fun in magic?"

    The story got me at times, but to me a huge part of having magic in a story is getting to imagine it and have fun with the idea that magic is real. I never really could picture what magic was like, it was portrayed as being awful, and most of the characters were straight up unlikeable or not fleshed out enough to care.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Buffalo, MO 10-03-16
    Amazon Customer Buffalo, MO 10-03-16 Member Since 2007
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    "Fun Read"

    I loved it , it was an amazing and interesting world . Ready to start book two.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Alvarez 09-24-16 Member Since 2010
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    "A good story but ..."

    The story felt like an after story to Narnia. I spent most of the time thinking that the author was knocking off Narnia and giving it a more adult perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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