The Magicians Paperback – May 25 2010
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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.
“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. Hogwarts was never like this.”
—George R. R. Martin, bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
“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
“Sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy.”
—Joe Hill, author of Horns and Locke & Key
“If you like the Harry Potter books . . . you should also read Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, which is a very knowing and wonderful take on the wizard school genre.”
—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars
—William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
“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
“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
“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.”
“The Magicians is original . . . slyly funny.”
“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
“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)
“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
“Sly and lyrical, [The Magicians] captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond.”
“Through sheer storytelling grace and imaginative power, Lev Grossman [creates] an adventure that’s both enthralling and mature.”
“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.”
“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.”
“An irresistible storytelling momentum makes The Magicians a great summer book, both thoughtful and enchanting.”
“Grossman skillfully moves us through four years of school and a postgraduate adventure, never letting the pace slacken . . . beguiling.”
“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
“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.”
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
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!Read more ›
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.
I probably put too much faith in another person's review that this was like Harry Potter for adults. A more accurate description would be that this book is a depressing, dark, sexual, fairly pointless story, told by a depressed guy, that is about self-discovery, adventure-seeking, and meh, that's about it.
I guess it starts with kids going to a magic college, but it's nowhere near as majestic as Hogwarts. I imagined a regular high school, but with magic courses... but there was nothing fancy or exciting about it. The first half of the book goes through years of school, where I care about none of the characters nor the story. I was quite bored. It was more about the characters and their depressed lives trying to find something exciting. I didn't like any of them. Actually, I kinda liked Alice.
Then the 2nd half of the book is more like a depressed version of an evil dark Narnia. It was better than the first half though.
I would only read the next one because I already have it, and because I am slightly curious as to what will happen. I was more relieved it was over.
This is written by a guy, with a guy protagonist, and I would say even more catered to guys. Most of the jokes and internal dialogue comes from a guy's perspective. I thought there were some pretty realistic perspectives where I would have said the same thing as Quentin.
Most recent customer reviews
This book had been recommended for anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter books. Having read all of them with my children, I'd looked forward to reading it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Avid Reader
Very interesting concept to create a "grown up" Harry Potter" in a magic college type environment mixed with a "Narnia" type land... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Doctor I
People are pretty generous with stars around here. This book was ok. If you gave it five stars, try The Name of The Wind.Published 12 months ago by Andrew Bertrim
Loved it! This book appears to be about magic but is really about human nature and what it means to be a grown up in a complicated world. Would highly recommend it. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Book Spy
I don't consider myself a literary snob, but I didn't feel like this book was very well written. The concept was fun and the last 60 pages or so we're exciting, but the character... Read morePublished 14 months ago by David Pearlman
Well written and complex but didnt seem to go anywhere? Like he worked so hard on the characters he forgot to have a plot?Published 15 months ago by Fiona Gordon
An amazing book with rich characters. I couldn't put it down and burnt through the next two immediately after.Published 16 months ago by Dane McGuire