The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: three stars
Goodreads summary: A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world. Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he 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 craft of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make 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. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart. At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
I first became interested in The Magicians after watching the TV show. The TV show was so entertaining and fun, I wanted more! My friend ended up buying the book for me – I didn’t even know there was one at the time! – because he had read it before and liked it. And I am so glad he got it for me!
Likes: This book is often compared to Harry Potter and for me this is a positive! It is honestly like a more mature and serious Harry Potter. I love that it takes place at a school where Quentin is learning classes and learning about the world as we the readers are. How Quentin finds out about the world is mysterious and unique. I like that the school is slightly off in terms of weather – it shows that the magic is not perfect and it is just a little aspect that makes the story more realistic. The writing style itself makes the story more believable, especially when describing the main character’s depression and how that affects the way views his life. The book also has fewer sexual scenes – the show had a lot that seemed to have no point except to just be sex scenes; the show also made some of the sexual stuff main plot points which was strange. I like that the sexual scenes in the book seem to have purpose and weren’t just thrown in there to try and please the audience.
Dislikes: The ending was very abrupt and anticlimactic for me to be honest. I definitely don’t want to go into detail and spoil anything so I won’t say more than I expected more. I love when books go into the reality of life and explain depression in an honest way. However, sometimes when they go too deep into something that I feel personally, it is less of an enjoyable, educational experience and it just makes me feel down. This book was one of those cases. I enjoyed it a ton but I also felt down emotionally by it..
Overall, this story was a fun, imaginative, story that brought me back to when I was reading Harry Potter for the first time. It was mysterious and really sucked me into the story. However, the disappointing ending and dark themes were the reason I gave it three stars. I would definitely recommend it though!