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The Magicians

A Novel

Grossman, Lev

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Magicians
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As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009
ISBN: 0670020559
Branch Call Number: FICTION Gro
Characteristics: 402 p. ; map : 25 cm

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List - CRRL Picks: Urban Fantasy by: CRRLAdults Jul 10, 2014

As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning disc... Read More »


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Nov 21, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_StephenA rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Pretty much everyone I know loves this grown up Harry Potter companion to pieces. My feelings are a little more mixed. Grossman has built an unforgettable world in Fillory and Brakebills and created imagery that will stick with me for a while. However, I didn't particularly like Quentin and there's a lot of "stuff happening" but it never felt like a totally cohesive plot. Ultimately, though, I was so enamored with this world and the slight cliffhanger ending featuring an unexpected character that I do plan on reading the sequels. Definitely give this one a try, but it may not be for everyone.

Oct 19, 2014
  • JLMason rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I think that the author deliberately set out to shatter the fantasy of the fantasy world. The idea that having everything you ever dreamed of, e.g. magical ability and living in a land of childhood fantasy, will make you happy is all a delusion. The characters in this book have been given everything they could desire, yet they are all unhappy, shallow, self-centred, and immature, wasting their abilities getting wasted and childishly hurting each other. That said, the cleverness of the story line, which moves along smartly, and the inventiveness and detail of the imagined worlds are stunning. The passages describing the "goose" and "fox" experiences stand out for the beauty of the language and capturing the essence of what it might be like to be another species. On to volume two!

Sep 24, 2014
  • mvkramer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A friend said of this book "you will like it, then love it, then hate it" - and boy is that true. Hogwarts meets Narnia meets decadent postmodernist ennui. It's a fantasy series for bitter, cynical grown-ups and I loved/hated every minute of it. It is magical and painful. Read it!

Sep 17, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

If you've ever wished Narnia and Hogwarts were real, this book could change your mind. Quentin Coldwater is a brilliant, but typically angsty insecure teenager, already bored with life and uncertain about the future. When he is accepted into Brakebills College, a kind of Harvard of magic, he thinks happiness is within his grasp until he learns that studying magic is as hard as studying anything else, and thoughtless actions can still lead to tragic consequences. It seems that growing up is hard to do, even if you're a magician

Aug 30, 2014
  • katiecameron213 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Agree with most of the comments. The main character is a whiny, cowardly jackass, so it's hard to get through the book without wanting to punch the character in the face.

Jun 22, 2014
  • loonylovesgood rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This was just ok. It was marketed as a "Harry Potter" for adults, with elements of Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Rings, but really it was just a mockery of the magic genre. I found none of the characters likeable and thought Quentin was especially annoying. I don't really have an interest in continuing with the series, to be honest.

Apr 26, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

An attempt at Hogwarts/Narnia the real game. Quentin Coldwater finds himself enrolled in a magical college, which is just great because he's been obsessed with a series of books about a magical land called Fillory. He finds that magic is tedious to learn and things aren't as idyllic as he'd hoped. His problems still exist and he continues to be overly unsatisfied at every turn. That's pretty much why I couldn't get into this all that much. I liked the idea and I liked what I could see - the part while Quentin is studying just blew too quick - but our lead character isn't really someone I can get behind. Alice calls it like it is in that he chooses to be miserable and it's just grating on me here.

Jul 19, 2013
  • LT rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Harry Potter with sex, drugs, and a nasty cynical streak. Prepare for dysphoria. Well written but ultimately pointless. I am in agreement with the reviewer who criticized Grossman's sense of timing.

Harry Potter for adults. Kids go to college and experience all the usual heartbreak, drug use, and disillusionment of coming of age. All this with a back drop of magic and how that would work in the real world.

Apr 12, 2013
  • andreajomartin rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This book had no idea what it wanted to be and was therefore just plain awful. I confess I didn't actually finish the book because it was so terrible. This is the 2nd book I've ever felt was so bad I simply couldn't read it. Don't waste your time.

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Apr 06, 2011
  • beckylunatic rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The truth doesn't always make a good story, does it? But I think I tied up most of the loose threads. I'm sure you can fill in the rest, if you really think about it.

Dec 20, 2010
  • andreareads rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Nobody wanted to admit they were frightened, so they took the only other option, which was to be irritable instead.

Aug 12, 2010
  • ndp21f rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

He wasn’t sure they were friends, exactly, but she was unfolding a little. He felt like a safecracker who—partly by luck—had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.

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