Friday, July 8, 2011
92) The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He's a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he's still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.
Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.
Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.
My Thoughts :
The Magicians caught my eye somewhere and the blurb looked really interesting. At some point I got a copy of the book and it has been laying on my shelf waiting to be read. Sometime last week I started to read it. Today I finally managed to finish it.
If you can imagine what it would be like to have Harry Potter, Oz, Narnia and Alice in Wonderland all rolled into one, then you have The Magicians. If you can't imagine what that would be like then you may just end up confused and amazed that this book got such great reviews. At first I was intrigued by the story but by the time I was halfway in and wondering where the author was going with it all, it was too late to give up.
The story is quite surreal and erratic with no real solid plot. The whole book takes up five years of school and at least another year after that. Some chapters told the story of one hour or day while another chapter or paragraph made a whole 6 months disappear. I didn't find myself pulled into the world long enough to get a decent look at it from all angles and the author didn't seem to want the reader to make themselves at home. Also he didn't seem to know what the magic should do or if it should be in the story. It turned out to be unimpressive and boring.
The first few chapters were extremely good and then things started to get a little too weird for me. The Magicians is definitely trying to be too much at once and if the author had spread things out like Harry Potter or Narnia then maybe I would have enjoyed it more. Also what started as a Young Adult type story suddenly turned into a much more adult tale. Drugs, sex and magic obviously don't mix well but these kids didn't have a problem trying it all out anyway.
The characters were nothing to write home about. The ones I did start to like left the story somehow or changed into some kind of bad guy. The main character Quentin is a troubled boy who would have done better getting some 'help' instead of going to a secret magical school. I even though he may just be in a coma dreaming the whole of this story up. It was the kind of twist I was expecting this book would end with.
I really wanted to like this one and even carried on reading till the end despite knowing it wasn't going to get much better. I sped read the last half only enjoying little bits of the story and wondering why there is a sequel coming out. Yes there are people out there who loved this book otherwise it wouldn't have done so well but this was a little too strange for my liking.