Contemporary, Fantasy, Fantasy (Teen), YA Fiction

The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Magicians Trilogy #1

So I finally read The Magicians. Why did it take me so long, when there has been so much hype about it, especially once it became a show on the SyFy channel? Well, it was because of all of the hype that I didn’t read it. Sometimes, people keep boosting a novel to the point where your own expectations for the story increases to the point of no return. And then when you actually read the novel, it ends up disappointing you. I was scared that this exact scenario (which has happened to me countless times) would happen again. But I’ve finally risen to the challenge and given this book a chance. And here is my review:

Quentin Coldwater has always loved the idea of magic, even though he knows it doesn’t really exist. On his way to applying to Princeton, he finds himself admitted to a secret school of magic in upstate New York. And like every university, it gives him the opportunity to learn about life – friendship, sex, booze – while receiving a rigorous education in magic and sorcery. But magic isn’t all happy endings, as Quentin is soon about to find out. After graduation, he begins an adventure with his friends, one he could never have imagined. It has the potential to fulfill Quentin’s yearning for something more …. but it can also lead to the destruction of the world as he knows it.

When I first began reading this novel, I was confused. I had no idea where the author was going with the story. I was intrigued by all of the side plots and the anecdotes and the glimpses of normal life in a magical school. I had expected it to be a bit like Harry Potter (which is a series I ADORE) but it was anything but. The Magicians is graphic and deals with mature content. It explores in depth various aspects of college life, the exact same feelings and experiences that we ourselves have gone through … except with spells and magic and more rigorous studying protocols. At times, I felt like there had been too much detail. But as the story developed and as the cast of characters grew up, everything began to fit. The storyline started to take shape and all of the little details that I had thought were completely random began to make sense and add to the nuance of the story. By the end, I was devouring every morsel of information I could.

The Magicians is a unique novel in that it takes place in an environment that is both distinct and relatable all at the same time. Every character has flaws and the author takes the time to take apart the ridiculousness or “cheesiness” that often prevails in fantasy novels. While not expecting to think deeply, you find yourself reflecting on everything you have read constantly. Even now, I have no idea what to make of it, but I can say one thing for sure: I am in love with this novel. I am so glad that I took the plunge and decided to read it. For those of you who like fantasy novels and are looking for something different, perhaps something akin to All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Anders, then this is the novel for you.

Happy reading ~

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