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The magicians

by Grossman, Lev.

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Call number: Fiction / Grossman, Lev

Community Reviews

Magicians

This book broke my heart, and I love it for doing so. Moments magical, mundane, breathtaking, terrifying, funny, relatable, and alien - all highly readable. I laughed, I cried, it changed my life. It is set in the "real" world up to a point, so the characters make their own jokes about Harry Potter and other pop culture/magic/fantasy references, but it's not a pastiche or homage, though the Narnia books do get skewered pretty throughly. It's fun, but also brutal. Beware.

Good, but Somewhat Unsettling

There were many things I loved about this book. As a lifelong fan of the work of C.S.Lewis, I appreciated this book as what very nearly amounts to a fan fiction sequel to the series. It also captures much of what stories like Harry Potter do - the idea that there is a whole secret world out there, including a school of magic and secret portals to a Narnia-like world.

My caution, though, is not that it has more adult issues, or even that it is a darker book than the classic fantasies that it pays homage to. My issue is that I the characters are sometimes very flat and often deeply un-redeemable. I found it very hard to care about them because I found it very hard to *like* them.

Saying that, I am glad I read it and I really enjoyed all of the extremely well-versed nuances and nods to fans of the genre. The writing is good, sophisticated and engaging and the story holds together well.

Read it!

This book is a must for teens and adults who enjoyed the Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia series.

The magic world reality?

I have to admit, I go for the Harry Potters all the time. Magic, adventure, fascinating foods and events, it's all you could hope for. But this is what it would probably be like in real life. Drudgery, mixed with some fun. Hazing, picking courses of study, taking basic classes you don't necessarily like and may even hate - finding out that magic has its dull side and the stories aren't what they seem, but also taking on responsibility, like any adult coming into their chosen field.

It certainly can be a downer, as mentioned before, but I think it is well worth the read.

Angry Rich White Kids & Their Problems (with magic)

This book was a good read, it kept my attention for the most part and it combined my love for Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. It definitely has a dark side and the last 75 pages are really what made up my mind about the book. However, as much as I did like reading this book, it is essentially a book about pretentious young white teens whose problems revolve around having too much money and not knowing their 'purpose'. I told a friend that this is Harry Potter for affluent cynics.

A great book about weird young people

Grossman's story is a lot like Quentin, the main character of the book. It's brilliant, melancholy, and more than a little strange. Above all else, it is exciting. I read the whole thing in one weekend.

Probably the best book I've read in two years.

I've heard this called Harry-Potter-for-adults. I'd say that's superficially accurate. Brilliant, unhappy high school student Quentin gets recruited to Brakebills, a secret, exclusive, magical wizard university. There the similarities end.

After graduating, Quentin and his friends set off on an adventure in the magical land of Narnia. I mean Fillory. The book covers a lot of ground.

It's not really about the magic though. As interesting and cool as Brakebills and Fillory are, they're just backdrops. It's all about a chronically unhappy kid growing up and finding his place in the world, it's about the importance of purpose, it's about relationships and self-discovery, love and grief and friendship, all that good stuff. The Magicians doesn't look like an epic but it feels like one.

There really isn't a central antagonist, no Voldemort or Sauron or White Witch to tie the acts together. So don't expect an easy black-and-white good-vs-evil story. It's just a journey. Stuff happens, followed by more stuff. It bogs down a bit at a couple points, but the payoff was well worth it.

Grossman's writing struck a chord with me. He has a way with similes and metaphors, and Quentin kept doing or experiencing minor little things that were just a bit embarrassing or shameful or rarely noticed/acknowledged. It made his world and characters feel very true, very real. I totally got sucked in by the protagonist, even when I didn't much like him. I felt by turns ecstasy, depression, triumph, and fury on Quentin's behalf.

As much as I loved this book, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. It can be a downer at times. Be warned.

Good

This is a great book. Very though provoking.

The Magicians

One book, split into four books, with the same characters throughout, BUT such a change in plot with each book that it caught me a bit off-guard sometimes. I almost gave up on it in the beginning because it is very Harry Potter-esque, but this time, the characters cuss quite a bit, find themselves in sexual situations that involve more than snogging, and tackle the idea of magic in a much more pessimistic, "real life" way than HP ever did. The ending wasn't what I expected and, to be honest, felt a bit weak, but ultimately, I'm glad I persevered and read through to the end.

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