- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (8 October 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780099534440
- ISBN-13: 978-0099534440
- ASIN: 0099534444
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Magicians: (Book 1) Paperback – 8 Oct 2009
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"This is a sophisticated, subtle novel that is also magical fun. I can't imagine any lover of well-written classic fantasy ... who won't adore it" (The Times)
"Stirring, complex, adventurous . . . From the life of Quentin, his slacker Park Slope Harry Potter, Grossman delivers superb coming of age fantasy" (Junot Diaz, author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao)
"This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels (most obviously, those of J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis) in order to upend them, and tell a darkly cunning story about the power of imagination itself" (The New Yorker)
"The novel's climax includes some spectacular magical battles to complement the complex emotional entanglements Grossman has deftly sketched in earlier chapters. Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided - fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed" (Kirkus)
"Anyone who grew up reading about magical wardrobes and unicorns and talking trees before graduating to Less Than Zero and The Secret History and Bright Lights, Big City will immediately feel right at home with this smart, beautifully written book by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is fantastic, in all senses of the word. It's strange, fanciful, extravagant, eccentric, and truly remarkable - a great story, masterfully told" (Scott Smith, author of The Ruins)
From the Back Cover
Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead - but a strange envelope bearing Quentin's name leads him down a very different path to any he'd ever imagined.
The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it's a world that seems to answer all Quentin's desires. But the idyll cannot last - and when it's finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected ...
PRAISE FOR LEV GROSSMAN
'A genuine treat ... It also moves so fast that readers won't realize how smart it is' San Francisco Chronicle
'Fabulously entertaining ... By turns fascinating, compelling, and deliciously disturbing. It's an intelligent thriller that truly is just that: intelligently thrilling' Boston Globe
'Mesmerizing from start to finish' Baltimore Sun
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Warning, spoilers follow. Here's my review on it:
This book is NOT for the innocent.
The opening page or two of the book are bland, but with a dark undertone that kept me reading. Then, the book actually begins and holy shit is it amazing.
People have called this book alot of things like Harry Potter for adults, dark fantasy etc but it's none of that.
If you're self obsessed, glass half empty Kind of person, then this book is for you. If you're a kid or someone who thinks Harry Potter is the best fantasy series ever written, this is NOT the book for you.
The plot is something like this:
Quentin Coldwater, our MC, is the smartest person in his school and he's headed to a man for an interview into a prestigious college with his two friends. But when they get there, they find the man murdered and he's left a suspicious package for Quentin containing a never seen before manuscript of his favourite book series. He opens the package and starts to read it but a few pages fly away and he starts to chase them and while chasing them, he stumbles across a college for magic: Brakebills.
Here, he learns, he has magical abilities and must hone them to become a Magician.
The tone: Well, it's pretty depressing and guess what, I like depressing. There aren't many depressing books put there when compared to the number of books with a good message like Harry Potter.
Through the entire book, Quentin feels empty,like he always did back in the real world. The magic he learns at Brakebills seems to fill some of the holes but it's still there. The rest is spoilers so I'll abstain from mentioning them.
The pacing: you know, I think Lev Grossman looked at the book and said, "You know what, I'm gonna do this at my own pace." and the book is better for it. Lev takes his time to paint Brakebills in our mind as clearly as he could since well, 3/4ths of the book takes place there. It's a great thing he did it because we often see writers hurry the story along because the readers don't care about the place. They just want a general description of the place and then move on with the story. Books are meant to be savoured and this book proves it. There's not alot of plot in the book that's immediately apparent. Random things happen while he's living there and some more random things happen. There's no clear villain either. Or at least not until the ending chapters of the book.
Quentin is fascinated by the magic and starts school there and some days are just accounts of what happened. Some school days are just plain boring. He studies, competes with others because they were the most smartest people in their school as well. Everyone at Brakebills is basically a genius. And thankfully, Grossman understands magic isn't easy. At least, not as easy as some books make it seem. Like in Harry Potter, all you had to do was say a few words and wave a stick. In other books, you did something similar.
In the Magicians, magic is not simple. There's over ten complex hand gestures (sometimes over 50 gestures) that need to be utter perfection to be cast or you start all over again. There's weather conditions to be taken into account, the magnetic vibrations of the place you're in, there's over a hundred things to take into account when casting a spell and the gestures change accordingly. I LOVE this magic system. It's not something shallow for the plot to revel in. It IS the plot.
The entirety of Brakebills is just filled with competetive people, struggling to be the best at everything.
I can't say much without spoiling the book but a lot of epic shit happens when they're in school. The prose isn't flowers and rainbows, it's raw and it's supposed to be. The entire atmosphere is gloomy and there's always the sense that something bad will happen at any moment and it's great. It's like the sense of dread you get when reading Stephen King's books which I do enjoy alot.
But that's not all. IN FACT, some scenes of the book were just accounts of Quentin going from class to class, like a mindless drone. But it was written so masterfully that I didn't once think to put it down. I gobbled this masterpiece up in 7 hours the first time I read it. Since then, I've read it 28 times. It's that good. And hopefully, you'll like it too.
Anyway, if the book isn't your speed, try the show. Yes, there's a show, that's how I found the book in the first place. The show's got the same basic idea but diverges in a completely different path from episode 2 or so onwards. The show is good in its own right but the book is one of the closest things to my heart, right alongside The Gentleman Bastard Series, the Miss Peregrine Series, IT, The Running man and the beautiful creatures series. It's a great book. So are all these. Check them out if you get the time.
The Characters: Nobody in the book was made to be likable. They were made to be relatively relatable.
Quentin: He's selfish, shy, a know it all, a brat, self obsessed, horny all the time and naturally adept.
Alice: Extremely smart (much more so than Quentin), amazingly ahead in magic than half her class and has been through the death of her brother.
I'd tell you about the rest of the characters but that'll ruin the book.
So go, read the book.
Now coming to the story - any fan of magic will love this book. Do give it a read!
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