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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Magicians

Grossman, Lev.  The Magicians.

Pour J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis into a bowl, spice it up with a few other authors, stir, but don't expect the cake to rise.

A mighty dreary fantasy, this.  Neither plot nor characters enchanted, inspired, or even motivated concern.  Poor Quentin.  Over and over.  Somebody kick him.  Didn't care for any of the other characters, either.

If I'd had any initiative, I would have put this aside before getting to that ridiculous world of Fillory, and its equally unbelievable inhabitants. When Quentin first mentioned his fascination with the novels of his childhood and its inhabitants, I was uncomfortable.  I'm sure he meant to honor C.S. Lewis' role in his own life, but it didn't come across that way for me--more like parody. The Brakesbill/Hogwarts was less derivative, but still no improvement.

A depressing book that has little to do with fantasy, or in my opinion, coming-of-age.
What a mean-spirited review.  If you loved it, please forgive me.  Maybe I was just in a bad mood....  Nahhh.

Fiction.  Fantasy?  2009.  402 pages.


  1. I read this one with my book club and we didn't love it either. I was doing okay until we got to the other world. I haven't read HP or much CS Lewis so that might have actually helped me here.

  2. I think it would have helped not to have read them. Especially the C.S. Lewis books about Narnia. And then there was that final "Peter Pan Moment" at the end that just didn't fit. Ah, well. At least your group didn't feel as negatively about the book as I did.

  3. I loved your review! It's not a book I'd ever read anyway, but you were most eloquent!

  4. Oh no... Well, I haven't read the book but I did see the author at a local book signing event and the book sounded really cute. I've got a lot of other reads I have to get to so I won't be getting to this one any time soon but I'll remember to keep expectations at bay. I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. Nan - Thanks, Nan. It's not one I'd recommend. :O

    Iliana - You should probably forget my opinion entirely and give the book a chance to work for you. Just because I got all snarky doesn't mean much more than I wasn't the intended audience for this particular book!