Review: The Magicians

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.

I’ve heard so much about The Magicians, and most of it has been summed up in one sentence. “If you love Harry Potter, you will love this one too!”

…ok…well…I kind of see the resemblance, in that there is a magical school that normal people can’t get into, and there ARE three friends that get into trouble…but that’s really where the similarities end.

As far as the school goes, it is college vs junior/senior high. The result is a super fratty feeling, instead of Griffindor vs Slytherin. Everyone is drunk the entire goddamn book. And I do mean the.entire.goddamn.book. Also, sexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsex.

Please don’t tell your middle schooler that if they liked Harry Potter they should read The Magicians. This is not the book for them.

Once they graduate, all semblance to HP disappears and it becomes pretty much CS Lewis fanfiction. Fillory is Narnia and it almost feels like this is set generations after Lucy and her siblings rule.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I probably won’t continue on with the series. To read it as fanfiction of two of my favorite fantasy sets–completely entertaining–but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than that.

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I won this book in a Twitter contest.

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