Tuesday, January 5, 2010
New Release: The Magicians
Quentin is a high school senior, on his way to an alumni interview for college. When he arrives to find the interviewer dead and a mysterious paramedic hands him an envelope, there is no going back to a normal life. He chases a piece of paper down an alley and somehow ends up on the grounds of Brakebills College, a college of magic. As Quentin tries to learn spells and find what his magical strengths are, he also has to grow as a person and decide which parts of his youth to abandon and which to preserve.
I'm not sure exactly what to say about this book. I went into it hoping for something magical and ran into a depressing world of wasted talent and disappointment. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened but then wished I could take it back at the end and not know. This was billed as an "adult Harry Potter" but there was none of the joy or hope that were present in that series. There was no battle of good and evil -- just the descent into mediocrity of a group of students with incredible potential. It also incorporates a large amount of a Narnia-like lore but in a bleak and terrifying way. The only adult thing about this book is the liberal sprinkling of profanity, liquor, drugs and sex. The characters themselves are immature and selfish.
I finished my reading of this book with a profound sense of sadness -- both for the characters in the book and because I didn't find what I was looking for. I read in an interview that Grossman wants to make this into a trilogy and I really couldn't say if I would read two more books set in this world or not. This book comes out in paperback in April.
Thinking that magic and joy are possible for all ages,
Support our site and buy The Magicians on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.