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The Magicians [Paperback]

Lev Grossman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 25 2010
The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world 

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. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the forthcoming The Magician's Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.


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Product Description

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Mixing the magic of beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman's Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know--if the people you want to know are charismatic, brilliant, complex, flawed magicians--and does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: "get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. " Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. Solidly rooted in the traditions of both fantasy and mainstream literary fiction, the novel tips its hat to Oz and Narnia as well to Harry, but don’t mistake this for a children's book. Grossman’s sensibilities are thoroughly adult, his narrative dark and dangerous and full of twists.  Hogwart’s was never like this.”
—George R. R. Martin, bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
 
“Stirring, complex, adventurous…from the life of Quentin Coldwater, his slacker Park Slope Harry Potter, Lev Grossman delivers superb coming of age fantasy.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize­–winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
 
“The Magicians ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a fantasy series, or wished that they went to a school for wizards. Lev Grossman has written a terrific, at times almost painfully perceptive novel of the fantastic that brings to mind both Jay McInerney and J. K. Rowling.”
—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen
 
“Anyone who grew up reading about magical wardrobes and unicorns and talking trees before graduating to Less Than Zero and The Secret History and Bright Lights, Big City will immediately feel right at home with this smart, beautifully written book by Lev Grossman.  The Magicians is fantastic, in all senses of the word.  It’s strange, fanciful, extravagant, eccentric, and truly remarkable—a great story, masterfully told.”
—Scott Smith, bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan
 
“The Magicians is a spellbinding, fast-moving, dark fantasy book for grownups that feels like an instant classic. I read it in a niffin-blue blaze of page turning, enthralled by Grossman’s verbal and imaginative wizardry, his complex characters, and, most of all, his superb, brilliant inquiry into the wondrous, dangerous world of magic.”
—Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award winning author of The Great Man and The Epicure's Lament
 
“Remember the last time you ran home to finish a book? This is it, folks. The Magicians is the most dazzling, erudite, and thoughtful fantasy novel to date. You’ll be bedazzled by the magic but also brought short by what it has to sayabout the world we live in.”
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook
 
“The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic, taking what’s simple on the surface and turning it over to show us the complicated writhing mess beneath. It’s like seeing the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter through a 3-D magnifying glass.”
—Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty’s Dragon

“Sad, hilarious, beautiful & essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy.”
—Joe Hill, author of Horns and Locke & Key

“Most people will like this book. But there’s a certain type of reader who will enjoy it down to the bottoms of their feet.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind

“If you like the Harry Potter books … you should also read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians series, which is a very knowing and wonderful take on the wizard school genre.”
—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars

“Fiercely intelligent.”
—William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
 
“Fresh and compelling…The Magicians is a great fairy tale, written for grown-ups but appealing to our most basic desires for stories to bring about some re-enchantment with the world, where monsters lurk but where a young man with a little magic may prevail.”
—Washington Post
 
“The Magicians is original…slyly funny.”
—USA Today
 
“Lev Grossman’s playful fantasy novel The Magicians pays homage to a variety of sources…with such verve and ease that you quickly forget the references and lose yourself in the story.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“I felt like I was poppin’ peyote buttons with J. K. Rowling when I was reading Lev Grossman’s new novel The Magicians.…I couldn’t put it down.”
—Mickey Rapkin, GQ
 
“The novel manages a literary magic trick: it’s both an enchantingly written fantasy and a moving deconstruction of enchantingly realized fantasies.”
—Los Angeles Times
 
“Intriguing, coming-of-age fantasy”
—Boston Globe (Pick of the Week)
 
“The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a very entertaining book; one of those summer page-turners that you wish went on for another six volumes. Grossman takes a good number of the best childhood fantasy books from the last seventy-five years and distills their ability to fascinate into the fan-boy mind of his protagonist, Quentin Coldwater.… There is no doubt that this book is inventive storytelling and Grossman is at the height of his powers.”
—Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Entertaining”
—People
 
“Lev Grossman’s novel The Magicians may just be the most subversive, gripping, and enchanting fantasy novel I’ve read this century…. Grossman is a hell of a pacer, and the book rips along, whole seasons tossed out in a single sentence, all the boring mortar ground off the bricks, so that the book comes across as a sheer, seamless face that you can’t stop yourself from tumbling down once you launch yourself off the first page. This isn’t just an exercise in exploring what we love about fantasy and the lies we tell ourselves about it—it’s a shit-kicking, gripping, tightly plotted novel that makes you want to take the afternoon off work to finish it.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
 
“An irresistible storytelling momentum makes The Magicians a great summer book, both thoughtful and enchanting.”
—Salon.com
 
“Grossman skillfully moves us through four years of school and a postgraduate adventure, never letting the pace slacken…beguiling.”
—Seattle Times
 
“Through sheer storytelling grace and imaginative power, Lev Grossman [creates] an adventure that’s both enthralling and mature.”
—Details
 
“Sly and lyrical, [The Magicians] captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond.”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
 “Mixing the magic of the most beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grown-ups. [It] breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know…and does what [some] claim books never really manage to do: ‘get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better.’ Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting.”
—Louisville Courier-Journal
 
“This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels in order to upend them, and tell a darkly cunning story about the power of imagination itself. [The Magicians is] an unexpectedly moving coming-of-age story.”
—The New Yorker
 
“Fantasy fans can’t afford to miss the darkly comic and unforgettably queasy experience of reading this book—and be glad for reality.”
Booklist (Starred Review)
 
“This is a book for grown-up fans of children’s fantasy and would appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal (Starred Review)
 
“Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided—fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed.”
—Kirkus Reviews

 

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Karoline TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
It pays homage to the Harry Potter and Narnia novels, and it has similarities but that's where it stops. It's a coming of age novel which features Quentin and his friends he meets at Brakebills. It's definitely a more serious novel and delves deeper into emotions and it's more dark and definitely not a kid's book! there's action and drama, romance too, but there's some twists and turns that make the book more darker and includes more "dangerous" themes which makes the book catered towards adults.

I liked the book. It certainly did grab my curiosity when I first heard about it and as I read further into it, I had to try and not put Harry Potter and Narnia comparisons, or it'll ruin my enjoyment of this book - which I'm glad I managed to fight off. I thought it was pretty well executed and very well thought out especially with trying to juggle the Fillory part into this story and having to put it as once a fictional world that Quentin had been reading since he was a boy into a full fledged real-life fantasy world and also adding a fantasy epic plot into it as well, while also juggling the plot happening on real Earth. However, it went smooth and it did not leave me, as a reader, confused. There's even a helpful map on the inside of the book which is an added bonus. The plot was great, as it followed Quentin from his beginning years in the college, to his graduation, to his real life entrance into the world, and to his adventures in Fillory and afterwards. It's a great chronological way of running the story.

I have to admit, this is one of the few books I liked, but where I also had an intense dislike for the main character. I actually did not like Quentin at all. He's such a whiner!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An okay read but not yearning for the sequel July 13 2011
By C. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Overall, I have to say that I mostly enjoyed the story. I thought it was well told and the character development was very well done. The biggest problem I had was Quentin, the main character. I tried and tried to like him but just couldn't. He's one of those people who always want or need something more to be happy but once they get it, they need something else. Nothing is ever enough to make them happy. I'd say more about certain aspects of his character that I found revolting but that would give away some of the story so I won't.

There's a sequel coming out in September 2011. I will most likely not bother getting it or reading it. This book is a complete story without a sequel and, honestly, I didn't care enough about the characters to want to read more. That's why I gave it a three. To get a four, it would have to be good enough to make me "need" the sequel.

I'll still recommend it for people who like this type of book (Harry Potter, Narnia, etc) but with reservations.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Surprises - it was Awesome! Oct. 7 2010
By Cozy Evenings with a Book TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I have maybe 30 pages left to read but wow, so different and full of imagination. This book is very close to the stories from Harry Potter and Narnia but with a twist and if it was a movie it would probably be rated 14A. There is a bit of swearing but it's perfectly timed. Humour is amazing - even when i read this on the bus i dont mind smiling because it's so funny. And the best part, it's full of suprises. Just when you think you know what is going to happy, the book catches you fully off guard. I can't believe how things are turning out to be in the end of this novel. This is a grown-up Harry Potter and Narnia all in one. I believe the second part is coming out Summer 2011 - I can't wait!

If you're looking for magic, action, humour, surprises - then get this and read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Badass harry potter Dec 7 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Badass harry potter! Magician school, fighting evil, adventures ... but also sex and sarcasm. Can't wait to read the other books in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Oct. 16 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perfect blend of magic and fantasy! Hard to put down. As a magician I was hooked from the very first page!
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