Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Magicians - Grossman

Lev Grossman

Life is a chore for Quieten, what with his advanced classes at his Brooklyn private school, his best friend dating the love of his life and the nerve-racking Ivy Le age interviews he has to prepare for. The one thing that comforts Quinten is magic, and novels about his favorite fantasy land - Filroy.  He's great with magic, well the stage variety at least, but when given the opportunity to go to the exclusive Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy Quientins life is changed forever. Here he learn, love and lives until the real world comes to take him back, but is that the only option? 

The Magicians is often called the "adult" Harry Potter. It's easy to see why, schools dedicated to magic, a slightly neglected male protagonist and a good deal about friendship and relationships are all areas that overlap in both works, but if you've come to Grossman's first novel about the magic of Filroy (The Magician King came out earlier this month) hoping to find a Potter replica you'll be disappointed. Don't let that dissuade you from jumping into Quentin's head, though, because The Magicians is still a fantastic book. 

Possibly the most interesting part of Grossman's version of "the magician" is how complex magic is. There are specific hand motions for each spells, along with different conjugations depending on the weather, the sun and various other things. Where as in many other fantasy novels the magic just pours out of the characters the students at Brakesbill have to work very hard to perfect their skill.

The only issue I had with The Magicians lies mostly with Quentin and his friends, while they're all interesting and happy go lucky and all of that they can air on the side of petulant. This is especially true once Quentin and company graduate and are allowed to live in New York work free, drinking and screwing and generally ruining their lives and their relationships. Though necessary to progress the plot I found this section to just be long (it really wasn't that long, it just dragged) and irritating. While most of the Physics Kids were in the same boat as Quentin, Alice and Penny became some of my favorite characters here.

Regardless of Quentin's sometimes trying demeanor I'm excited to pick up The Magician King and see where Quentin and his remaining friends go.  Definitely a good, light fantasy read.

1 comment:

Brenna said...

I didn't enjoy this one all that much. Quentin's constant wining and depressing outlook on life really look a lot away from me. I could appreciate the world Grossman imagined, I just didn't like the book overall.