The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians Series #1
2009 Penguin Audio
Read by Mark Bramhall
Finished on March 1, 2016
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
“The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. … Grossman’s sensibilities are thoroughly adult, his narrative dark and dangerous and full of twists. Hogwarts was never like this.” —George R. R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones
Quentin Coldwater is a high school senior, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read when he was little, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, everything in his real life just seems gray and colorless. That changes when Quentin finds himself 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.
But magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure and meaning he thought it would—until he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. The Magicians is a grand, glittering fantasy that reinterprets the grand tradition of C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling in a brilliant novel for adults.
I can't remember the last time I vacillated so much while reading a book! One minute I was falling in love with the story and the next I was ready to throw the book across the room. Such a roller coaster! And while some may say it's a nod to Harry Potter and Narnia, I thought it was more of a ripoff, especially of J.K. Rowlings' series.
A school for magicians. Check.
Separate living quarters based on your magical abilities. Check.
"Send me an owl." Check.
A game called Welters, which sounds vaguely familiar. "Hang on," he said. "Gotta get my quidditch costume. I mean uniform. I mean welters." Check.
I discovered the following while reading other reviews and had to laugh because it's spot on:
I felt like I was doing peyote buttons with J.K. Rowling. (Mickey Rapkin, GQ)
The book pulled me in right away, but then my interest began to wane. Things picked up again when the group went to Brakesbills South in Antarctica, and the ending was great, but over all the pacing is uneven and the characters are flat and tiresome. I have no desire to read the next two books in this series and after watching about 20 minutes of the first episode of the series on DVD, my husband and I both agreed to call it quits.
While entertaining and somewhat imaginative, this mash-up of Harry Potter, The Night Circus and Ready Player One left me wishing for something more.