The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This book drew me in with the title and book cover. While the covers with dramatic faces and pretty women can be appealing, sometimes I like a simple and well chosen tree. I'd never heard of the book until I saw it on the shelves in the store but purchased a copy anyways.

About the book from Goodreads: "Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he 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 craft of modern sorcery.
       He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make 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. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart."

This book is different. Most of the reading I've been doing in fantasy lately has been young adult and this is a book that probably could be placed in the attempted category for college age (20's). Quentin is a very intelligent boy getting ready to find his way into college and adulthood when his life takes an unexpected twist. And that twist takes him on adventures he never imagined would happen, which is all cool for a novel but wow, this book feels long. In fact, it is almost two stories in one. The first part of the book is about Quentin, how he discovers the magic university and his years studying there but once he graduates things change. The years and adventure after making it through school is a story itself.

I don't have the Harry Potter background that some people may have, since some have made correlations between the two stories. So, I can't say much on whether it does have similar aspects. It's very different than what I've read before. The main character was a bit hard to relate to at certain points but in general he was interesting enough. However, since he is super intelligent, the language of the story with how he thinks and speaks has to reflect that. While I have enough education, it still slowed me down when I was reading.

The world created for the story with the interplay of the city with the university in the beginning of the story. The travels north through unusual, magical means, and the other locations did make for an interesting story. There are some scenes that certain readers might find awkward (fox scene anyone?) and in general, I don't think this is a novel for every reader. Some will probably not like it and others will think it's great, like with most novels. I liked it for the most part and my stepdad even made it through the book, though we book found it a bit slow.

Dawn's Verdict: 6.5/10



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