Book: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Other books by this Author: The Magicians Trilogy, Codex, Warp
Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined.
I really wanted to love this book. The premise sounded intriguing, and people have compared it to an adult Harry Potter mixed with Narnia. My friends who have read it gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I went in expecting to love it. And that, I suppose was the problem. Well, not the only problem.
To say The Magicians is the grown up Harry Potter is like saying an episode of Caillou is the kid version of…well, anything. That is to say, replace the likeable main characters with a whiny brat, and replace his friends with other people who suck. Cram a bunch of adventure into one book, but replace ‘adventure’ with a bunch of mundane stuff.
I wanted so badly to love, or even like, this book. There were moments where I could tell I might. I was right on the precipice of getting lost in the world of Brakebills…and then it disappeared. The high point for me was Quentin’s test to join the school. It was different, it was interesting, I had no idea what was about to happen. At this point the book held a lot of potential for me. But it was downhill from there. Joining a secret elite magic school is one of the most exciting things I can imagine, and there’s so much potential for some amazing world building. But I didn’t get much of a feel for the school, or the magic learned within, or the characters. For the most part, the story was just dull.
I tried to keep reading, hoping I would start liking it, find something redeeming about the characters, or that something would finally grab my interest. I really wanted to finish the book, but mainly for the sake of finishing it because I hate abandoning books. But in the end, I decided I’d rather not waste my time. I’m on half-term this week and I just don’t want to spend the entire week on one book that I’m not even enjoying when I could read something much more enjoyable. And so, with regret (but also not that much regret), 40% through the book, I gave up.
One reviewer on Goodreads put it best – this book is like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. And I seem to feel the same about The Magicians as I do about Marmite…blech.
I didn’t finish this book, but I can see that other people may think it’s great. Don’t forget that my rating is based purely on my own opinion. 🙂