Most people are blind to magic. They move thru a blank and empty world. They’re bored with their lives and there’s nothing they can do about it. They’re eaten alive by longing and they’re dead before they die.
The Magicians (The Magicians Book #1)
By Lev Grossman
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.
Whaaattt did I just read?
Ok, that’s a probably not a reassuring way to start a review. But… what? What?
Disclaimer : I watched about 7 or 8 episodes of the SyFy Channel Magicians series before even starting this book, so that may have clouded my mind a little bit. There are many changes that the show makes; characters are non-existent or changed significantly, the timeline has been condensed, scenes have been added. Ok, no problem. I’ve handled plenty of book adaptations. Hell, Game of Thrones is getting so far away from the source now, and that’s fine!
But the difference was just so immediately jarring that it threw me. For one, this 400ish page book spans, like, 7 years. Seems misleading for something to be touted as “Harry Potter in College” when the actual school part is over about 60% though. There is A LOT that happens in this book, but it moves so quickly, just jumping from major scene to scene that the world doesn’t have much time to breathe and develop. It doesn’t have that lived in, familiar feel of other fantasy world.
Yet I still enjoyed it. Sure, it could’ve used more development between the scenes and with the characters themselves, but the entire narrative, especially in the last two “Books” was just the right kind of bizarre. It’s really hard to write about this without spoiling the whole thing, but the last 100 pages had all of the pacing and plot and description that the earlier bits breezed through. You have a weird, overarching threat, a bunch of young adults totally disillusioned with life, and a fondness for a Narnia-type book series that may or may not be real. The Fillory aspect had me hooked by the end, like a twisted C.S. Lewis novel filled with confused alcoholics.
Should You Read This?
If you are expecting the magic and wonder of Harry Potter, no. Skip this. If you are expecting romance… also skip this. This are not happy people. But if you want to check out a really, really strange novel that took some plot turns I never saw coming, give it a shot. It’s not a long read, and it ends pretty neatly too, so you don’t need to keep going with the series if it doesn’t end up being your cup of tea.
As for myself? I’ll probably pick up the next book at some point, though I’m currently swimming in unfinished series at present.
Man, what a weird book.
Summary from Goodreads