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The Magiciansby Lev Grossman
The Magicians is a modern-day fantasy story about a precocious though morose young man who yearns for a fantasyland like Fillory, the magical realm of his favorite childhood books. The result is a novel that is as compulsively readable as a thriller, yet has the resonance of an insightful coming-of-age tale.
Take Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, factor in young lust, infidelity, corruption, teen angst, heavy drinking, and pint-sized cacodemons, and you have The Magicians. A young adult novel for the not-so-young reader, this book satisfied my cravings for fantasy, action, adventure, and intrigue alike. Put simply, it catered to my inner nerd.
As a diehard Narniaphile and fantasy addict, I think it would have been impossible for me not to fall in love with The Magicians. Taking a page from C. S. Lewis, Grossman introduces Fillory, a charming and uncanny alternate world created by a fictional author, whose books play a role in the lives of Grossman's characters. At the same time, Grossman's Brakebills College seems a nod to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yet, despite these allusions to children's books, this is definitely a story for adults, rife with sexual tension, deceit, and self doubt.
Synopses & Reviews
Read an excerpt from The World in the Walls, the novel-within-the-novel in Lev Grossman's new book The Magicians. This excerpt doesn't appear anywhere in the book itself!
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world.
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren't black and white, love and sex arenat simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
"Harry Potter discovers Narnia is real in this derivative fantasy thriller from Time book critic Grossman (Codex). Quentin Coldwater, a Brooklyn high school student devoted to a children's series set in the Narnia-like world of Fillory, is leading an aimless existence until he's tapped to enter a mysterious portal that leads to Brakebills College, an exclusive academy where he's taught magic. Coldwater, whose special gifts enable him to skip grades, finds his family's world 'mundane and domestic' when he returns home for vacation. He loses his innocence after a prank unintentionally allows a powerful evil force known only as the Beast to enter the college and wreak havoc. Eventually, Coldwater's powers are put to the test when he learns that Fillory is a real place and how he can journey there. Genre fans will easily pick up the many nods to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, not to mention J.R.R. Tolkien in the climactic battle between the bad guy and a magician." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is a book for grown-up fans of children's fantasy and would also appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Deep fantasy fans can't afford to miss the darkly comic and unforgettably queasy experience of reading this book — and be glad for reality." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided — fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed." Kirkus Reviews
"The Magicians is satisfyingly great fun. But it also reminds us of what we discover as adults: childhood fantasies are just that; perfection is elusive; the real, big world is unfair, filled with good and evil and shades in between; and happiness is unstable and depends on how we view life." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[A] very entertaining book; one of those summer page-turners that you wish went on for another six volumes." The Chicago Sun-Times
"The Magicians is a great fairy tale, written for grown-ups but appealing to our most basic desires for stories to bring about some re-enchantment with the world, where monsters lurk but where a young man with a little magic may prevail." Keith Donohue, The Washington Post
About the Author
Lev Grossman is a senior writer and the book critic for Time magazine and the author of the bestselling novel Codex. He holds degrees in comparative literature from Harvard and Yale.
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