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The Magicians: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug 11 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1 edition (Aug. 11 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020553
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.4 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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


"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

"... provocative, unput-downable ... one of the best fantasies I've read in ages."
-Fantasy & Science Fiction

"The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea."
-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 Diaz, 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 they went to a school for wizards."
-Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen

"The Magicians is a spellbinding, fast-moving, dark fantasy book for grownups that feels like an instant classic."
-Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award winning author of The Great Man and The Epicure's Lament

"The Magicians is fantastic. 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

"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."
-Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook

"The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic ... 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

"Grossman clearly has read his POtter and much more. While this story invariably echoes a whole body of romantic coming-of-age tales, Grossman's American variation is fresh and compelling. Like a jazz musician, he riffs on Potter and Narnia, but makes it his own."
--Washington Post

"Grossman skillfully moves us through four years of school and a postgraduate adventure, never letting the pace slacken...beguiling."
--Seattle Times

"An irresistible storytelling momentum makes The Magicians a great summer book, both thoughtful and enchanting."

"Sly and lyrical, [The Magicians] captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond."
--Entertainment Weekly

" doubt that this book is inventive storytelling and Grossman is at the height of his powers."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"The Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. [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."
--Louisville Courier-Journal

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Meh, it was alright. I decided to read this because I watched season 1 of the new TV show and enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give the books a go. Oddly I liked the TV show better. A lot of people have compared this book to Harry Potter. Let me stop you right there! I went into this sort of expecting that because of some reviews I had read, but this is not that at all. The characters are kind of depressing and they really don't even get much opportunity for you to understand them and care about them. You spend a ton of time with them but somehow come out the other end not really knowing them. The book felt like it was just endless filler, random situations that had nothing to do with anything and then 2 seconds later everyone just moves on and forgets they ever happened. I found it hard to even know what the point of the book was. The only reason I kept reading this was because I had seen the TV show and knew it had to get better eventually. But it wasn't until the last 100 pages of the book that we FINALLY get to the point! Finally we are told the ultimate goal of these characters, when for the last 300 pages we have been left wondering what their end game was supposed to be. In the end I found that the book lacked direction and if the author did know where he was going, he didn't do a very good job of communicating it to the reader because if I hadn't seen the show I never would have had a clue what these people were trying to accomplish. One thing I will say though is that the last 100 pages were very good and I enjoyed them enough to continue on and read the rest of the series. If you manage to make it through book 1, I definitely recommend book 2 as I thought it was much better.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Guess what? I actually really enjoyed this book. I went into The Magicians knowing that it had mixed reviews. I knew that a lot of people had issues with it, so naturally, I expected that I wasn’t going to end up liking it very much. Turns out I was wrong. I found this book to be entertaining and pretty damn humorous.

The Magician’s tells the story of a smart young high school senior named Quentin Coldwater who is trying to get into University. During a scheduled interview, a series of peculiar events take place which lead him to Brakebills, a school for the magically gifted. Quentin has dreamed of something like this to be real after becoming obsessed with his childhood favourite books, the Fillory series.

I had first heard of the Magicians series about two years ago. I volunteered at a book fair and the third and final book in the trilogy had just been released. The cover itself definitely caught my eye and I was instantly intrigued, but then I forgot about it. I didn’t end up picking it up at the book fair and it kind of fell off of my radar. That is until I happened to find the first novel at a thrift store. I quickly picked it up off of the shelf…only for it to sit on my own personal shelf for almost a year. For whatever reason, I just never picked it up. Fast forward a little and it was announced that The Magicians was going to be picked up as a television series on SyFy. This time I knew I needed to read it. I had a free credit with Audible so I figured, if I wasn’t going to actually physically pick up the book, I could at least listen to it while I got ready for work in the mornings. And that was what finally did the trick.

Maybe the audiobook version of The Magicians played a factor in my liking towards it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If the Harry Potter books were about innocence, magic and wonder, The Magicians is about self absorption, indulgence and misery. There is no magic in The Magicians. There is no wonder. Everyone is suspicious of everyone else. It's as if the author was projecting a deeply felt bitterness about the futility of magic in his own life. And to top it off, the prose is clumsy, and the plotting is entirely without suspense. A masterpiece of succumbing to every possible betrayal of what brings magic into life. Curious, this. And curious that some people like it.
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Format: Paperback
The Magicians ultimately left me disappointed at the concepts the author chose to focus on and what was set aside. What first feels like a mix of Harry Potter and the Narnia Chronicles, with a sampling of alien horror, chooses to focus on the faults of the characters and their vices over a heroic story. Their progression of magical study and journey is demoted for infidelity and clichéd school yard politics. The protagonist is set up as incredibly gifted and intelligent and then seemingly loses those qualities for the rest of the book. The setting does not seem to wander far from its sources, and when it does it feels perverted instead of tributary. There are some good concepts, good characters and even some moments in this book which made my disappointment bittersweet.
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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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