Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians: A Novel
 
Title:
 
The Magicians
 
Author:
 

Lev Grossman

 
Publisher:
 
Viking
 
Rating: 
 
Year Published:
2009
 
Fiction/
Non- Fiction:
 
Fiction
Why Picked:
 
I can’t remember where I first heard about it but I was finally sold when I read reviews from places as diverse as The Washington Post, Cory Doctorow, The Onion AV Club and The New Yorker all praising this book.
 
 
Genre
Fantasy; Magical Realism; Speculative Fiction; High fantasy, Parallel universe
Number of Pages: 
 
416
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. From: Shelfari
 
Review:
 
How can I tell you about The Magicians? This was a fabulous story, engaging from the moment I started and one that had me leave my multi-book habit in the dirt.  I read this and nothing but this until it was finished.  I carried around the relatively bulky hardback.  I ignored Facebook and LiveJournal and Twitter to finish this. I think the last book I loved this much was Water for Elephants. I’ll be honest I loved this more. This is the book that you ignore your TBR pile and put at the top of your list.
 
The Magicians is like Harry Potter goes to college and then to Narnia written in the style of Less Than Zero.  Oops, did Less Than Zero date me.  I can’t help it.  The section of the book after College but before Narnia reminds me of the tales of rich club kids in NYC in the 1980s.
 
Things I love about this book? 
1.  Magic is hard.  Not only do you need to have an affinity for it but you need to study hard to master it.
2.  Lines and sections of the story which make you sit up and reflect on life, living and dreams.
“Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”
3.  You can make your main character an unsympathetic ass and I can still love your story.
4.  Realizing your dreams is not all it is cracked up to be. Sometimes it is so much worse than where you started.
5. There is a sequel coming out soon and I am crazy excited about it.
Unlike other reviews, here are some links of interest:
CymLowell

2 thoughts on “Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

  1. I've seen Lev Grossman's name crop up a few times in my travels across the blogosphere. I believe he's got a novel called The Half-Made World or something to that effect.

    This book sounds really enticing, though. Nice review, as I'll be watching out for it.

    Visiting via Cym Lowell's blog.

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