Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Daisy's Review of The Magicians

About the book:
Title/Author: The Magicans by Lev Grossman
Publisher/Year Published: the Penguin Group 2009
How I got it: I bought it
Why I read this book: it's about a boy studying to become a magician at a school for magicians, aka: I thought I would love it.

High school senior Quentin Coldwater is just like everyone trying to get into college. When he goes to the house of a Princeton alumni for an interview he gets the scare of his life when upon entering the house he finds the dead body of said alumni. It all gets even a bit more weird when one of the paramedics hands him a package containing the sixth book in the Fillory series, books which Quentin has read over and over again, and because of that he know there only ever were five of them. When he tries to read it, the wind blows it away and following it, he ends up at Brakebills school for magicians.
After this we follow Quentin throughout his carreer at Brakebills, the people he meets and the girl who becomes his friend and later on his lover. Quentin can't forget about Fillory, a world he knows from the books he read about it. They're about the Chatwin children, of which every time Fillory is in trouble 2 or more of them get sent there to fix things and be the kings and queens (2 each) of Fillory. The oldest one, Martin Chatwin, disappears in one of the books and when Quentin and his friends find a way to travel to that world (which does exist after all) they decide to go look for him.

Does Fillory sound familiar at all to any of you? Cause I couldn't stop thinking Narnia, Narnia, NARNIA the whole time I was reading about it. Which was incredibly annoying, cause it seemed like such a rip off of those books (which I loved). They even had two wise rams (the Gods of Fillory) who sent the Chatwin children home when they were no longer needed there. Aslan anyone?
But this was not the only issue I had with the book. Quentin is just not a likeable character. He whines, he's never happy with anything, even though he gets what he wants every time, he's arrogant and just plain lazy and ungrateful. And the author made it seem like this was standard attitude for all of the magic community. I couldn't sympathize with him and I was extremely annoyed by the selfish, stupid things he did. Half the time he's drunk out of his mind, they all are actually. I so wanted to kick his butt and tell him to do something with his life!
The only one I liked was Quentin's girlfriend Alice, who was the only one that showed a caring and mature side.

Probably the only reason I finished this book is because I bought it and I have a hard time not finishing a book and was really waiting for it to get good, which for me didn't happen.
My rating: 1 star

If any of you have read this one and liked it: PLEASE TELL ME! I always feel horrible not liking a book and maybe you can make me see the good sides of it.


  1. Oh no. I bought this book a few weeks ago and thought it would be fun to read around Halloween. Oh well! Maybe I'll give it a shot anyway.

  2. Wow, that's not good! Two booksellers I used to work with loved The Magicians, but I've heard such mixed things about it that I'm not in any hurry to read it. I'm sorry it was so disappointing!

  3. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The only thing I didn't like was a not-so-subtle hint at what was "wrong" with the "bad guy." But, if you're interested, here's the link to my review:

    I gave it 4 out of 5. :)


  4. I almost bought this one at the store last week and decided not to - sad to go home empty handed at the time but rather glad now!

  5. I disliked it so much that I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Which is actually pretty rare for me. I found the same problems you did- I didn't like any of the characters.

  6. I have to make two points.

    1) You're not necessarily supposed to like the characters. It's hard when a book has no redeeming/heroic characters, but the point of this novel is to be a fantasy-as-real-life, which means sometimes bad things happen even when we have super powers and sometimes the people we hang around are giant douchebags.

    2) The mimicing of other fantasy books is intentional. Again, I think it's a throwback to the doey-eyed fantasy story where everything ends well and everyone is likeable and there's one "bad" guy and one "champion" - this is Grossman kind of saying, well, listen, there's magic in real life - but it just doesn't work out as simply as make-believe. I think he's paying homage to the endearing classics, but giving the stories a realistic bite to them.

    Just my two cents. Part of why I enjoyed this novel so much seems to be the very reasons why everyone else disliked it. I'll admit, I had to get used to the idea (which I did about half-way in) that this wasn't really a "fantasy." Once you put those expectations aside, though, and see this for what it is - which is, really, a new type of genre all together (fantasy-realism, maybe?) - well, it works. Not for everyone, though, I guess. :D

  7. @Brenna: I hope you'll like it and it's just me, let me know once you've read it!

    @Adam: I read your review and I can see your reasons for liking it. I couldn't relate to the characters at all, I didn't understand their reasons for being that way. I guess I'm more of a traditional fantasy kind of reader.

  8. I remember not loving the main character because he was so depressed and angsty. Like you mention, Alice was the only character worth liking. She was angsty, but she did it with a little more maturity. I did like the story though...(I had to go back to check what I rated it on GR!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails