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Grossman, Lev: The Magicians

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The Magicians (2009)
Author: Lev Grossman
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy
Pages: 416 (hardcover)
Series: The Magicians #1

Summary from )

This book has caught my eye a few times at the book store, mainly because of the relation to its title and where it's shelved: the book is called The Magicians, but everywhere I go, it's shelved in the General Fiction section. Uh, wut? So I read the summary and it's still very contemporary fantasy and is very obviously some kind of homage to Harry Potter (people from the real world going to school for magic), which caught my interest, but never enough to actually pick it up. Then, a few months ago, the book store got was selling it on sale for $7.99 for the hardcover AND I get a 30% employee discount, so I thought "Why not?" and picked it up. I decided to read it this month because the sequel, The Magician King came out recently and I wanted to see if it was worth picking up.

Overall, my thoughts on this book are a little torn. There are some aspects I liked quite a bit, and others that I wasn't too keen on. There will be spoilers behind the cut, so if you plan on reading this, just skip to the Final Verdict section at the end of the review.

REVIEW: spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: I'm still not completely sure how I feel about this novel. The first half was kind of boring, and while it was an obvious homage to Harry Potter, it lacked the magic that made those books some of all-time favorites and ultimately the whole first half was a little boring for me. The second half though was much more exciting, and had some rather neat reveals at the end of the story.

I think I also could have liked this novel a lot more had I cared more for the characters. They were all kind of assholes, with the exception of Alice. Quentin, the main character, drove me crazy with his constant whining for always wanting more, more, more and whenever he got what he wanted (Brakebills, magic being real, etc etc.) he always found a reason to be dissatisfied with it and unhappy again. Sorry, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for privileged people because they're never happy with what they're given.

I do appreciate Grossman's more edgy take on fantasy though. He's taking staples of children's fantasy, such as Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia and incorporating a gritty and realistic edge to them.

I am a little interested in reading The Magician King, but I'm no rush to get into it either. So I guess we'll see. :)

Cover Commentary: Ur, it's not exactly relevant to the story or anything, and it's a little dreary to be honest. It is a fairly striking image though, I guess, with the single standing tree. The font is pretty neat too.


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