Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Title: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Publication Date:  August 11th, 2009
Publisher: Viking
Source: From the Library
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: 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 #1 bestseller 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.
“In a way fighting was just like using magic. You said the words, and they altered the universe. By merely speaking you could create damage and pain, cause tears to fall, drive people away, make yourself feel better, make your life worse.”
The fact that SyFy Network is making a show out of this trilogy is the main reason that I chose to pick up this book and I have to say I'm fairly disappointed. I was expecting this magical world that was a mix of Hogwarts, magic, and Narnia. However, that is not at all what I got with this book.

The book started out great with Quentin learning about the secret world of magic and the magic school in NY. However, from there the story seemed to either drag as he learned, or jump so far into the future that I felt like I was missing so much of this story. This book takes place over many years but I still felt like the pacing was off. It was either too fast or not fast enough.

I also really did not like Quentin as a character. He was extremely brooding and annoying. Nothing seemed to appease him and while he described himself as this nerdy, over-achiever, I did not get that vibe from him. I also did not like how little we learned about other characters. I would have loved to have more perspective on the other characters and their journey throughout the story.

I know this sounds like I really did not enjoy the book and that is only partially true. I still enjoyed this world and the idea of magic in our modern world. But the characters and the writing really dampened my ability to become fully engrossed in this novel. For a fantasy novel, this one took me way longer than others do.

I have no idea if I'm going to continue on with this trilogy or not. I can say it is nowhere on my current radar. I may continue if the show seems to be heading in that direction or if enough people convince me that the sequels are better than this first one was. I think for me the issue was having way too high expectations for this one.

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