I wish that this book wasn’t so crappy, that or that Lev Grossman wasn’t such a good writer because this book was a wasted opportunity. There are so many problems that I don’t know quite where to begin… One of the largest problems is that Grossman has attempted to write an Urban Fantasy. Unfortunately, this genre doesn’t exist and I’d be willing to wager that the Venn Diagram that includes fantasy fans and those who read urban novels doesn’t exactly have a large cross section. Trying to cater to both styles of novel leaves The Magicians as a bi-polar mess. Grossman is a talented writer, and when he sticks straight to the fantasy writing, it isn’t bad. Then it lapses into the crassness that is the urban novel.
In addition to the stylistic problems with the novel are the characters. The main character is so loathe-able that I was praying he’d be seriously maimed or killed by the second chapter. The Alice character is also disturbing. Initially she’s described as so painfully shy that she hides her face behind her hair. The next thing you know she is sleeping around and hanging out with the ‘cool click’ at the university. There didn’t seem to be any reason for the transition. Also, I found this novel in the young adult section. The main character is seventeen and kids typically like to read about five years older than their age group. Twelve year old kids should NOT be reading this book. Its drug use, sex, crass language, and subject matter is beyond what kids should be reading. But enough bashing this novel, lets let you know what it is all about.
The Magicians begins with a kid named Quentin Coldwater heading out to a college interview. Quentin is one of the gifted kids at school. He gets high jacked to a magical university and boom, the fun begins. The novel covers all four years of Quentin’s higher education and then life post university and the transition into the real world. The Magicians is also connected to a Narnianesque novel and magical land called Fillory. Not even a curiosity to see how Quentin and gang deal with living the magical world of Fillory can persuade me to read the advertised sequel. This novel was almost a complete waste of my time, and effort.