The Magicians

a novel

English language

Published Dec. 13, 2009 by Viking.

ISBN:
978-0-670-02055-3
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
233548527

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (175 reviews)

A thrilling and original coming-of- age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real worldQuentin 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. …

14 editions

The Magicians (Goodreads)

3 stars

Content warning General spoilers

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

An overly angsty urban and high fantasy series that includes characters so exceptionally uninterested in their own stories that I struggle to find why I should be interested as well. There is neat world building and some fun ideas that are constantly interrupted by Quentin whinging about his vague, horny, malaise. He literally has greatness thrust upon him and all he can do is whine.

We are led to believe that Quentin is simultaneously a genius, exceptionally good with his hands, capable of incredible magic when he wants to try, while simultaneously too stupid to know basic geography or chemistry (multiple lines in the book involve Quentin absolutely shocked by basic high school knowledge). He is not unlikable in the sense that he's evil or ignorant. He is unlikable because he is merely an observer in his own life, and bored observer at that.

This review isn't about the poor …

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I would have liked to like this book more than I did, but the protagonist and his 'friends' are so toxic that the thought of them contaminating not just Fillory but actual Narnia (or any other of a thousand cherished portal-accessible worlds) with the consequences of their narcissism and emotional pollution puts me on edge. Nevertheless, it is competently written and the worldbuilding (especially that of the Neitherlands, which may or may not be C. S. Lewis's Wood between the Worlds paved over) seems better thought out than that of J. K. Rowling's Potterverse, which this is more or less the grownup version of. I do commend Grossman for exploring the question of what kind of people an elite magical academy would turn out in real life, in an adult setting. That said, adult does not have to mean unlikeable, but then again, given the kind of adults that elite …

Review of 'The magicians' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This book starts out as a kind of "cousin" to Harry Potter when Quentin Coldwater gets invited to apply to a college for magic. He has done sleight-of-hand stuff for a few years, but this is a place that teaches real magic, and it turns out Quentin can do it. The first half of the book is about his college years, and the people he befriends there. In the second half it becomes a pastiche of Narnia, which is a bit of a change. But while Harry Potter and Narnia makes it sounds like a book for kids, you should know that sex, drugs, and alcoholism all feature in this book, along with some heavy emotional stuff, so use judgement before giving this to a younger reader. One resemblance is that Quentin's emotional mess is somewhat like Harry Potter's. In both cases I wanted to just shake them and tell …

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was a fun and, dare I say, magical adventure. The characters are interesting and somewhat twisted. The tale winds around itself a couple of times building to an interesting denouement. I class the novel as being in a somewhat more adult Harry Potter 'class'. It will be interesting to see where the Magicians journey goes. Thus far, it has been an entertaining ride. I will most certainly try the second novel in this series.

reviewed The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Magicians, #1)

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book was everything I ever wanted in a fantasy story! There were so many things to love.

First off, about the magic. I love that magic is for high level thinkers, people who actually try their best at everything they do. It makes so much sense for its esoteric-ness to be based on that. And the magic system was brilliantly designed. I liked the spells were named after people and that they could be in different languages. It added a realistic multicultural element to the setting. I also liked that Circumstances needed to be taken into account when casting spells, and that different worlds (like Fillory) had different Circumstances that affected magic. And I enjoyed the little details, like how electronics work unpredictably with magic.

The Neitherlands was another awesome feature of this universe I liked, because it's such an elegant solution to a metaphysical problem. I love the …

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

When I cracked open The Magicians and was introduced to Quentin Coldwater, an extraordinarily privileged white boy who nonetheless felt short shifted and shat upon by the universe because his friend Julia wouldn't sleep with him, I was a little appalled. This was going to be my companion for the next 402 pages? But it was the next book in my Book Club and there was no escaping it. I'd have to read this book if it was the last thing I did.

And I am so glad I did because this might be one of the most satisfying, thoughtful reads of my year. I don't think I've read two books in the past decade where the author invested so much of the plot on such a genuinely flawed character - not romantically flawed, or 'flawed but always stands up as hero in the end' but just a flawed, sometimes …

Review of 'The magicians' on Goodreads

4 stars

The plot is pretty fascinating with various plot twists that I wouldn't have thought of. The book has a good moral as well: you shouldn't live out your dream - magic doesn't solve problems, and even a so-seeming paradise like Fillory can be dangerous as hell. I'm really absorbed by the story. The only thing disappointed me, however, was that I would expect a clearer explanation about what happened to Eliot and Janet (as well as Josh, Richard, and Penny) and how they had met Julia.

Review of 'The magicians' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

The plot is pretty fascinating with various plot twists that I wouldn't have thought of. The book has a good moral as well: you shouldn't live out your dream - magic doesn't solve problems, and even a so-seeming paradise like Fillory can be dangerous as hell. I'm really absorbed by the story. The only thing disappointed me, however, was that I would expect a clearer explanation about what happened to Eliot and Janet (as well as Josh, Richard, and Penny) and how they had met Julia.

Review of 'The Magicians (The Magicians #1)' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

It was really difficult to rate this book. On the one hand, I recognized the reflections of the emotions of the main character, and even of his friends. On the other hand, there was so much intermingling of the concepts introduced in the Harry Potter novels and the Narnia novels, that it was difficult to untangle them and judge this book on its own. The magic in this book was very different than the magic in the Harry Potter, and fortunately, that Christianity mixed with the story was much less a part of this book than of the Narnia books. But I think that the other books handled themselves better for what they were then this book did for what it is. Overall, I vacillated between loving and hating this book – not because of a comparison with any other book, but it being that I am basically a plot …

Review of 'The Magicians (The Magicians #1)' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

At first, I hated this book. Couldn't get into it. The main character is a bore, the plot is soooooo Narnia/Covenant/Harry Potter it was mostly fan-fiction. The writing was uneven, one moment beautiful language, next apparently written by a 9-year-old boy.
As it is YA fiction, it suffered a lót of the 9-year-old writer tone, by the way.
So, I put the book down, wrote it off as "not for me" and went on to better books.

But then I watched the TV series. And while that wasn't particularly great, it piqued my interest. Mainly because of Julia's backstory (which in the books is only told in the second book), which is a lot more interesting than Quintins.
So I decided to give it another try. This time I was able to look beyond the bad/uneven writing, beyond the annoying "Thomas Convenant-ish unlikeable whiney boy" and had an inkling of …

Review of 'The Magicians' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

Didn't grab me. Seemed like Harry Potter for teenagers -- wish fulfillment that you're really, really smart, you'll be whisked off to study magic, and then get to go the planet from your favorite fantasy novel. Wee!

The prose is a bit clunky in places. Perhaps it lacked copy editing? In the sample of the next book that was at the end, Eliot's stallion rears up, and "hooves" the air. Earlier in the novel, Quentin calls Alice "Vix", and then there are some sentences explaining that he's using a nickname, short for vixen, which is a female fox, and so on. Then he never uses the nickname again. Either don't use a nickname, or use "Vixen" and don't explain it because the reader should easily figure that out.

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Subjects

  • College students -- Fiction
  • College graduates -- Fiction
  • Magic -- Fiction

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