Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, hes 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 doesnt 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 Quentins 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 arent black and white, love and sex arent simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed. They picked their way along the cold, uneven sidewalk together: James, Julia, and Quentin. James and Julia held hands. That's how things were now. Quentin trailed after them, feeling and looking like a sulky child. He would rather have been alone with Julia, or just alone period, but you couldn't have everything. Or at least the available evidence pointed overwhelmingly to that conclusion.
"Okay!" James said over his shoulder. "Q. Let's talk strategy."
James seemed to have a sixth sense for when Quentin was starting to feel sorry for himself. Quentin's interview was in seven minutes. James was right after him.
"Nice firm handshake. Lots of eye contact. Then when he's feeling comfortable, you hit him with a chair and I'll break his password and e-mail Princeton."
"Just be yourself, Q," Julia said.
Her wavy dark hair was pulled back in a bunch. Somehow it made it worse that she was always nice to him.
I loved every page of The Magicians. For anyone who grew up reading fantasy, who started with E. Nesbit or The Chronicles of Narnia or awaited each Harry Potter release, who openly or secretly continued to read fantasy wondering if it was appropriate to be drawn to tales of magic as an adult, this is a perfect read.
(Reviewed by Judy Krueger).
Full Review (987 words).
Lev Grossman's Worlds
Lev Grossman was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in Lexington, MA, a placid little suburb of Boston. After obtaining a literature degree from Harvard and working towards a PhD in comparative literature at Yale, he gradually turned himself into a journalist and after a few years as a free-lancer, was hired by Time and became the magazine's book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers.
In 1997 Grossman published his first novel, Warp. It concerns the lyrical misadventures of a Boston slacker who has trouble distinguishing between reality and Star Trek.
Codex followed in 2004 and became a bestseller. It is a ...
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