Author: Lev Grossman
Release Date: August 11th, 2009 (originally January 1st, 2009)
Pages: 402 (Hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult | Magic | Urban Fantasy
Series: The Magicians #1
Read: from September 14 to 20, 2012
Source & Shelf: Purchase | Own
ISBN: 9780670020553 (Hardcover)
Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.
Everything changes when Quentin 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 practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.
Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.
*This review might contain spoilers*
The Magicians was a long reading… it was so because I’ve started my second year at University and also because it was being a weird reading.
To be honest, I had high hopes that this book would be the adult version of Harry Potter. That’s why I bought it. But it’s not only a grown-up version of my favourite wizard; it’s also a new idea for Narnia. I only realised that bit when I start reading it. It has fantasy, that’s for sure, but it also had very modern problems and the typical existential crisis every teenager goes through. Actually, there was a part in the book I totally relate myself with.
Quentin finds out he’s a wizard and get accepted to this magical school called Brakebills. I thought the book would be only about his first year there but it turned out to be all his five years at the school and part of his “graduation”.
While at school, Quentin learns how to control and use magic – yep, like Harry Potter– makes some friends, find a girlfriend, gets drunk and haves sex. His five years there are, let’s say, the best of his adolescence where his doing what he’s supposed to and all. However, there’s his obsession with Christopher Pluver’s books set in Fillory. Despite being happy at Brakebills, he still feels something’s missing and it’s all connected with Fillory.
After he get out of Brakebills, his life is turned upside-down. He doesn’t know what to do now that he’s out of school. What to do with magic in a world where magic is, like, an illusion? He gets in drugs, more sex and more booze.
This wasn’t at all what I’ve expected from this book. What I thought was going to be an adventure book – which it was at the end – turned into a book about a bunch of teenagers who are depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it and it was completely different from the magical/wizardry books I’m used to. There was a moment in the story I just wanted them to have an overdose and stop being such idiots.
Quentin’s character – the protagonist – was so hard for me to understand and even like. He was unbalanced – I guess that was the part in which I could relate myself with him – and without knowing what to do. He’s brilliant, he really is, but living in the cold world with no magic made him grey. Only when he enters Brakebills and discovers the wonders of magic did he stabilised himself a bit. And then, after the graduation, he lost himself again and I just wanted to slap him. I mean, he had Alice (who was, perhaps, the character I liked the most… and she got killed. Damn it!) and he ruined everything because he was drunk. Really?! And with Janet?! God, boys are so stupid sometimes and not even wizards escape that fate.
When Quentin and his friends manage to go to Fillory – ‘cause Fillory really exists in a parallel universe – there was some real adventure. I really felt, in those chapters, I was reading the book I’ve wanted. Those few chapters are the reason I gave this book 3 cups and want the second one.
I think I was really expecting something a bit more Potter-ish, if you know what I mean. All the reviews I’ve read before starting this book gave me that impression so I was a bit disappointed, if not upset, to find out it’s not that Potter-ish. But, it’s a nice reading, very mature and funny.