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The Magicians

The Magicians

A Novel

Book - 2009
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As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes 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 for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009.
ISBN: 9780670020553
0670020559
9780452296299
Branch Call Number: FIC GROSSMAN, LEV
Characteristics: 402 p. : map ; 25 cm.

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WPL_Erin Mar 12, 2021

I have mixed feelings about this book. I went through periods of absolute love and some of absolute loathing. At times the writing was incredibly pretentious and boring and other times it was action packed and enthralling.

To be honest it kind of lacked the "magic" I was promised. It almost felt forced - like the author started to write a book about spoiled kids at a boarding school and said "you know what this needs? Some magic"

I thought the Harry Potter references (literally) were a tad forced and towards the end it was a little "Narnia-ish"

It's just...those have been done - and I was hoping for a bit more of an original story not a mishmash of other popular books.

Also, it felt like 3 different books - but not in a good way. The book itself wasn't overly long (about 400 pages) but it FELT long. And not in the "omg this is amazing" way but more along the lines of frustration that nothing was really happening.

j
jroden
Feb 19, 2021

I didn't finish this book. Quite boring and the main character is not really likeable.

y
yfilipov
Aug 05, 2020

I kind of agree with Igmosher - I won't be reading the next two books. I came along Lev Grossman via his short story in the "Dangerous women" anthology (that short story was a basis for the 3rd book in this sequel), really liked the story and assumed the same about the trilogy. I was wrong! I think it would be better if the author stayed with the short stories... This book was painful to read - first half is very boring, and the 2nd half is boring and dark.
I'd suggest don't waste your time. If you like Harry Potter, this one would likely be a big disappointment

m
michemason13
Jun 01, 2020

This book as pretty good! I will always have a soft spot for the harry potter series and think it's the best thing in the world. However, this is definitely the adult/modern/American version. I felt like it was a little hard to keep up as the action ramped up towards the end, but I think it will tie in better as I read more of this series.

lgmosher Apr 27, 2020

This book just gets worse as it progresses.

First of all, Quentin is the biggest douchebag to ever live. He's ungrateful, moody, pathetic, and has no drive to make things better.... He just wants things to happen for him.

Second of all, Grossman has no idea what personal character connection is. Every character in his book is so far off. There is no intimacy for the reader.

Third of all, the book is unnecessarily crude. Like, things that don't help or add value to the book at all are in there and why? So that I can read a sentence that I really rather not to and is absolutely pointless....

All and all I realize why I waited so long to read this book and why I'm not excited about the next one (and I won't be reading it). Honestly there is no story. It's just a bunch of douchery thrown together and a faint underlining plot that has something to do with Fillory.

Do yourself a favor and just grab a different book.

f
fishbottom
Jan 20, 2020

Book 1

l
lukasevansherman
Nov 19, 2019

You can't help compare this to "Harry Potter." But imagine if Harry Potter was a total jerk and his friend were also kinda jerks, and, aside from learning magic, they drink, smoke, have sex, swear, and generally behave like ill-tempered teens. And also there's a land that's basically Narnia. Followed by two more books and made into a TV series. Grossman is the book critic for TIME.

m
MiRiAm12345
Oct 15, 2019

How to compare The Magicians to Harry Potter? Both are stories about male protagonists who suddenly find themselves at a school for magic after leading lives of Muggles. Quentin begins his career at Brakebills at the age of a Hogwarts graduate. The plot of HP is far more gripping with Harry's being targeted by Voldemort moving the story line along. Quentin and his friends seem perpetually bored, drunk and unhappy. However where The Magicians shine is in the actual magic. Severus Snape declared that "There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class", but wand waving, uttering simple words and phrases, mixing ingredients in a cauldron per a recipe seemed to be the extent of the magic in the world of HP. The magic of Lev Grossman's fiction is far more challenging, more personal, more striking and hence more gratifying than anything in JK's world of magic.
The magicians is definitely worthwhile for an older HP fan. The audio version of the book is performed very satisfyingly bringing Grossman's excellent prose to life.

k
kate_se
Sep 28, 2019

Quentin is a thoroughly unlikeable main character, and that's precisely why this book was so good. The Magicians asks what would happen if Harry Potter wasn't a perfect "hero" or "chosen one", but instead was a thoroughly mediocre character who can be selfish and jealous. Sometimes the characters can seem especially cruel or petulant, but generally they won me over because they weren't perfect archetypes. Some elements in the ending were questionable, but overall I enjoyed it.
Excellent read for those who grew up reading fantasy (or even those who didn't) and want a story that pushes back against the genre.

l
Linyarai
Jul 17, 2019

I wouldn't say this was like either Harry Potter or Narnia, unless it was Harry Potter condensed into 200 pages and someone had only read an excerpt of Narnia. I didn't find any of the characters that remarkable and I didn't love most choices at the ending.

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ahoffman4277
Apr 04, 2020

ahoffman4277 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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seaweedsway
Jan 10, 2020

seaweedsway thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Eva2404
Oct 19, 2019

Eva2404 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Jul 21, 2017

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Jun 15, 2017

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michellekwruck
Mar 02, 2017

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WeirdCammy
Jan 20, 2016

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beckylunatic
Apr 06, 2011

The truth doesn't always make a good story, does it? But I think I tied up most of the loose threads. I'm sure you can fill in the rest, if you really think about it.

a
andreareads
Dec 20, 2010

Nobody wanted to admit they were frightened, so they took the only other option, which was to be irritable instead.

n
ndp21f
Aug 12, 2010

He wasn’t sure they were friends, exactly, but she was unfolding a little. He felt like a safecracker who—partly by luck—had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.

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michellekwruck
Mar 02, 2017

The main character is a self-loathing teen who hasn't been able to let go of his childhood obsession with a series of fantasy novels about a magical world called Fillory. What a surprise when he discovers first that magic is real, and then that Fillory is too. Unfortunately, for him, neither prove to be all that he'd dreamed they were as a child. While there is a clear and strong plot throughout the book, the novel seems to be mostly about the main character's struggle with his own unhappiness. Magic doesn't do it. A new girlfriend doesn't do it. Entering Fillory doesn't do it. In many ways it's a psychological journey more than a fantasy journey. Be prepared for a level of self-pity and self-loathing that will have you rolling your eyes and hoping this kid will grow up.

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