Friday, August 12, 2011

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he thought it would.
Then after graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.

My take:
2 stars
I must say that I am glad this one is over, and have no plans to read more by this author. I thought it was a shameless rip off of Harry Potter, Narnia and the Chrestomanci series. I was so very happy not to see a vampire, but I would not have been the least surprised. Grossman seemed to be giving a nod when making sly references to uniforms and Quidditch, but I found it to be less a wink-and-a-nod than a subtle flipping off of the middle finger.

Some unbelievable praise:

Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians may just be the most subversive, gripping and enchanting fantasy novel I've read this century.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
Answer: Poor Cory. Go to the library more often.

The Magicians is the best urban fantasy in years.”
The Onion AV Club
Answer: The Onion is a satirical site, after all.

“Sly and lyrical ... The Magicians is an homage to both J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, as well as an exploration of what might happen if troubled kids were let loose in the supernatural realms they grew up reading about. Grossman captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond.”
—Jeff Giles, Entertainment Weekly
Answer: I must have read a different book.

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