The Magicians by Lev Grossman

“If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.”

Before I started reading this novel, I took a relatively big risk and watched the Syfy series first (I know, bad idea.) But the cast and storyline was so entrancing I picked up a copy of the The Magicians as soon as I could. While some people have likened Grossman’s novel to the likes of the Harry Potter series as the protagonists begin their adventure at Brakebills University: an institute that can further hone their magical skills, a friend pointed out to me that with need for exploration and the sheer brutality of events, The Magicians is akin to be a hybrid of The Chronicles of Narnia and A Song of Ice and Fire.

The character that the readers follow the most is Quentin Coldwater, a high school student who before the start of his magical career at Brakebills, studied at an advanced school. It was only on the day of his Princeton interview that he discovers Brakebills, the only magical place of study in the North American continent.

Needless to say, with Quentin’s success  What I particularly enjoyed about this novel is its sheer attention to detail to the ideas of magic and its fundamental uses. It does away with the endearing, gentle touch of magic and mystery, and replaces it with danger, and horrific consequences if the spells are not formed properly.

However, the passage of time within The Magicians is set at an alarmingly fast pace; as Grossman writes of Quentin and his fellow classmates’ four years and the graduation well before the first half of the novel is done. This can also be considered as an advantage, as the readers are able to follow Quentin’s gradual rise to the real world. With a real job and constant thirst for meaning, Quentin discovers that the supposed fictional world of Fillory is real – and with the help of former classmate Penny, travels to it.

Full of magic, debauchery, and adventure, The Magicians is the first instalment of a very enticing and dark tale showing that even with magic, consequences cannot be avoided.


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