The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .
The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.
I was born in 1969 and grew up in Lexington, MA. My parents were both English professors, so naturally I read a lot. I read a lot in college too, and read even more in graduate school. Then I moved to New York City and started writing full time.
My first novel, Warp, came out in 1997. My second, Codex, was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller. The Magicians was published in 2009 and was a New York Times bestseller and one of the New Yorker‘s best books of the year. The sequel, The Magician King, came out in 2011 and was a Times bestseller too. The third and (almost certainly) last Magicians book, The Magician’s Land, was published in 2014 and debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.
The Magicians books have now been published in twenty-five countries and have gotten praise from among others George R.R. Martin, John Green, Audrey Niffenegger, Erin Morgenstern, Joe Hill, William Gibson, Kelly Link, Gregory Maguire, and Junot Diaz. A Syfy series based on the trilogy is currently shooting its second season.
I also write a lot of journalism. I’ve been the book critic at Time magazine since 2002—the New York Times described me as “among this country’s smartest and reliable critics.” I’ve written more than 20 cover stories for Time, and my essays and criticism have also been in the Believer, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Salon, Slate, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, the Week, Lingua Franca and many other places. I’ve won several awards for journalism, including a Deadline award in 2006. I make regular appearances on campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Oxford, and as a commentator on NPR.
I live in Brooklyn with my wife, two daughters and one son, in a creaky old house.
Quentin is a sullen teenager in Brooklyn with his friends that despises one for his easy nature and has a crush on the other. But through an odd series of events, he finds him at that magical school of Breakbills. He proceeds through the first half of the book learning about magic and how it’s not all wonderful and easy. There are some horrible parts and it is a lot of work even though Quentin finds himself comparing different things to the Fillory stories of four siblings that have various adventures in Fillory.
After graduating from Breakbills, Quentin and his friends find themselves in New York City with no real purpose. Since they spend the last several years studying they break out and party all the time, well everyone except Alice. Alice is trying to figure out where to go next. The group reminds me of most college graduates that they have this power but nowhere to use it or no motivation to go do something with their lives. Although Fillory did make the book end better than I thought it was going to.
Quentin and his friends are boring, dreadful, spoilt, lazy, and not really worth reading about. They mess around, getting drunk all the time, and bitterly criticize everyone. The only one I liked was Alice. She seemed to have brain one in her head but just fell into the rest of the group just like another sheep.
Breakbills was interesting. I liked how they made you have to work for your magic, each person had different strengths, powers, and abilities. But the key was you had to work for what you want. Personally I liked Breakbills south and the final challenge. What better way to prove your meddle. But then all you have is the friends hanging out, drink, do drugs, screw, and piss and moan about everything. The little excerpt of Fillory was not enough to save the book for me. I really don’t know if I will even bother reading the next book in the series.
Now I did listen to the audiobook and I have to say that I enjoyed Mark Bramhall’s narration. There was variety for each of the characters that drew you in. I do admit that he has a deeper voice so I ended up having to blare my stereo and the headphone to be able to hear everything. I think I’m just going deaf so that is probably the problem
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