The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Magicians (The Magicians #1)

by
3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  80,958 ratings  ·  9,605 reviews
Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He's a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he's still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

Everything changes when Quentin finds himsel...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Viking
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Magicians, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Blind_guardian Probably not, this seems more oriented towards high school and college readers.
Mistborn by Brandon SandersonThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Most Interesting Magic System
49th out of 1,403 books — 4,690 voters
The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingA Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century
88th out of 1,321 books — 4,698 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
D. Pow
This book has been hard-pedaled as an adult Harry Potter and it is-but with a soulless little git like Draco Malfoy as the main protagonist. Grossman doesn't get to the genuine transformative joy possible in books about other worlds and magic, the metaphorical kick one can bring to the reader. This is a cold and sterile book for people who think themselves too sophisticated for genre fiction, a sub-section of the reading public that, I suspect, includes the author.

To be fair there are certain th...more
Nataliya
'You can't just decide to be happy.'
'No, you can't. But you can sure as hell decide to be miserable. Is that what you want?'
The answer to this, as far as Quentin Coldwater is concerned, is a resounding 'YES!' At any stage of his life. He makes Holden Caulfield look like a bundle of sunshine. He makes Charlie Brown resemble an embodiment of optimism and positivity. Eeyore the Donkey is brimming with life force compared to our perpetually unhappy hero.
'...You couldn't have everything. Or at leas
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I have a Goordreads friend who likes this book. He expressed a thought that I might not. While not wholly correct about my take he came pretty close.:

Well, first Stephen, you're right in a way, I don't like stories that are "downers just to be downers". The nihilistic attitude you see so often. I don't like the (as I've said before) "life is crap and then you die" story. So many today seem to think that for a story to have any depth it has to be deeply depressing.

On the other hand if there is a...more
Kasia
I was ready to love this book, it's supposed to be Harry Potter like but more gritty, more realistic, more substantial, and I guess it is and I still like the idea of it. And yet this book did not work for me. I was really patient with it, I downplayed the initial irritation of incorporating the entire Potter premise. It's one thing to borrow bits and pieces, it's another to rip off a whole concept leaving out a few bits here and there and dressing up the rest. But since I'm a sucker for fantasy...more
Dan Schwent
Quentin Coldwater is an unhappy teen, eyeing up an uncertain future in college. He's secretly in love with his friend Julia. Nothing else really matters to him except the Fillory and Further series of books he's loved since childhood. Imagine how he feels when a seamingly routine college interview drops an undiscovered Fillory book in his grasp and leads him to Brakebills, a college of wizardry, and worlds beyond...

First of all, this isn't Harry Potter for adults, no matter how much people want...more
Simeon
The story of a quasi-sociopathic high school cretin who mouth-breathes his way into an exclusive fantasy club of anhedonic wizards - replete with bad writing and worse story-telling.

Enjoy.
Cindy
Okay I am in the minority I didn't really like this book. I didn't think it was going to be a Harry Potter, as a matter of fact I knew it wouldn't be even though it was compared to HP.... the author even compared it to HP which its not.

I can enjoy that this is a "tribute" to fantasy..... but that's about it. It was a depressing poorly written book. Details seemed to be lacking and the only details we'd get is a knock off version of another fantasy book. The characters were one sided and had no...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I know that not everyone agrees with this sentiment for this book, but I was greatly impressed by it. From the very beginning of this story, I got the distinct feeling that Grossman was going to be taking "the less travelled path" in his fantasy novel. While I have seen a lot of comparisons to other stories (some of which are quite intentional by the author) this book is certainly ITS OWN BOOK.

The novel is really two very different and distinct storie...more
Kemper
A quick and easy way to describe this would be to call it Harry Potter for adults. There's a magic school and a lot more sex and booze than poor old Harry ever had. But that doesn't do it justice because this was an extremely original and unique twist on the notion of what it would be like to actually live in a world where magic and fantasy realms exist.

Quentin Coldwater is a bored teenager getting ready to apply for college but is already seriously disillusioned with his life and wishes things...more
Stefan
The Magicians by Lev Grossman is one of the most frequently reviewed fantasy novels of the last few years, which isn’t surprising because the author is a well known writer (and book reviewer) for TIME Magazine, and the book was very effectively hyped as “Harry Potter with college age students.” The end result of all of this is that lots of people who don’t regularly read fantasy have picked up this novel, and many of them had their expectations severely challenged. So, is The Magicians also wort...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

(UPDATE: After reading other reviews online, I realized that I could've made my point even more succinctly by simply saying the following: "Oh, wonderful -- another dour academe writes another fussy, joyless genre exercise, designed specifically for MFA circle-jerks who consider themselves 'above' such si...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
A friend gave this book to me as a Christmas present, but the sneering reviews (on and inside the book) which compared it (oh-so-favorably) to Harry Potter/Narnia/LotR (proclaiming them "weak" and this strong and bracing and refreshing and...) kept repulsing me before I could even get to the first page. She's coming to visit me next month however and I'm determined to read it! Updates to follow!


UPDATE 4: A miserable book about miserable people being miserable while doing miserable things written...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
This book was the worst book to read/listen to while I was extremely busy. All I wanted to do was get back in the car, take a walk, workout (yeah right), clean, etc. Anything to get back to my audiobook.

The best sign of a good audiobook is how much I put aside my visualbook to listen.

And the craziest part is that when I start to explain the book, I find myself wondering, How could I possibly like this book?

The main characters are the biggest, self-obsessed, pricks I've probably ever read about....more
Ben Babcock
If you write enough book reviews, eventually you start sounding like everyone you never wanted to be. Today, I'll be the annoying guy who brags about how he saw everything coming. That's right, I found this book utterly predictable from start to finish. Even the Arctic fox sex scene.

The Magicians is a very postmodern type of fantasy, deconstructing as it does the Narnian-style childhood fantasy of saving the world. It's one of those curiously self-aware books that nevertheless stays firmly on th...more
Seth Hahne
People love describing one thing as the adult version of another thing. For example, Foucault's Pendulum is like The Da Vinci Code for adults. The allure of this kind of comparison is at least threefold: 1) it offers a simple way to draw people in, by playing on their affection for another work; 2) it leverages against the desire to take in a more mature version of something they already like; and 3) it derides the value of the other, presumably-enjoyed work.

People love to dismiss especially po...more
Jeffrey Keeten
I passed on reading this book when it first came out because I was underwhelmed by the author's first book Codex. The excessively negative reviews about The Magicians peaked my interest. The complaints these reviewers had actually made me want to read the book. The positive reviews confirmed my growing suspicion that I should read this book. Although I am late to the party I must say I am glad that I overcame my initial reluctance because I loved this book.

Unfortunately this book was marketed a...more
Kevin Xu
I feel like this book has too many tropes and cliche of all the mainstream fantasy books all wrapped up in one. I hope maybe the sequel will be better. Overall, the book was not worth the time to read it. First, the author comes from this high New York mind set that only New Yorkers are better than others, even better, add both Harvard and Yale into the mix. (one of the reason the New York Times and the media love this book) To me what I hate most about this book is that he had to copy from Harr...more
Laura
So let's get the horrible marketing out of the way first. First of all, for those of you who may be under the same misunderstanding as the good folks at Audible.com let me say this: The Magicians is not a children's book. I really think I should say it again, in bold this time: The Magicians is not a children's book. The cheery introduction by chanting 9 year olds that begins each section of the audible.com download ("This is audible kids!") makes as much sense as it would before an episode of H...more
Kelly
A narrative in two parts- two books in one, really, with the same characters.

The first section of this book is the attention-grabbing, "if Harry Potter were mixed with" blurb-causing, teenage magic school creation that you've heard about. The comparisons are accurate enough, and I'm not going to try to get creative here and pretend that its actually about something else to be original. The author clearly means for us to see the parallel. Harry Potter introduced a deserving orphan, and guided him...more
Madeline
The first two-thirds of this book, when Grossman is gently and skillfully poking holes in everything you thought you loved about the Harry Potter series, is really good. Best parts of this section: Grossman makes it clear that magic is really really hard (to the point where the only kids who get accepted to this college-equivalent of Hogwarts have to be legit geniuses, and even then they might not get in), the kids do drugs and drink and have sex like normal teenagers, most grownup magicians are...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum: http://bibliosanctum.com/2014/07/09/b...

Self-absorbed, annoying, moody, smug, dissatisfied, spoiled, fake, maudlin, insecure, aimless, whiny, stupid, pampered, emo, vain, egotistical, small-minded, excessive, inconsiderate, thankless, pretentious, snobby, entitled, mercurial, immature, depressed, hypocritical, mean-spirited, cynical, clueless – just a small sample of the words I could use to describe the characters in this book.

No, The Magicians isn’t going to...more
Chris
What a strange little book. Not sure what else to call it, unless it would be a blending of Harry Potter and Narnia with adult content and a heavy dash of the bleak yet often humorous mind-set of a Chuck Palahniuk novel.

And yet, I very much enjoyed it. It wasn't epic, nor heroic. It didn't really have a constructive social message. It wasn't very positive at all. But I still liked it quite a bit.

What does that say about me? Am I negative, with little hope of finding happiness (or even contentmen...more
julio
Maybe a fungus. Yeah: it grew on me like a fungus.

Read mark: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Read Kelly: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Read me:

I had fun. I think the author and his doppelgänger MC have issues. The writing is pretty good, and the universe produced by Mr. Grossman's various preoccupations is compelling.

My cousin thought it was boring as fuck, though—and I think it's because you have to be a certain kind of American fantasy nerd to see how the author is mischievou...more
mark monday
it is clear that the author is trying for Harry Potter-meets-Narnia through the lens of Bret Easton Ellis. nice try! but all the carefully placed bits of minor note ennui and teenage boredom cannot hide the fact that the author actually has a lot invested in writing pure, thrilling fantasy with a healthy dose of phantasmagoria. i will take the moments of awe over the moments of bored disdain any day... and i think the author secretly agrees. Grossman's description of a transformative flight (heh...more
David Katzman
Apr 08, 2012 David Katzman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone. Anyone. Anyone
This book was just amazing. I loved every sentence of it. Was it perfect? No, not absolutely perfect. A few trivial elements bothered me but none of them were significant enough to detract from the beauty of the writing, the sophistication of the story, and the convincing world built by Lev Grossman.*

For the uninitiated, the premise of this book is nothing new in fantasy. A young man in our real world/reality discovers magic is real when he is tracked down and invited to attend a magic universit...more
Becky
I'd heard mixed reviews about this book. Some of my trusted friends loved it, and some others didn't. I fall into the "didn't" crowd. But I didn't actually hate this book, I just didn't care about it enough for that. I just got bored pretty quickly and stayed bored too long.

It got to the point when I would rather flip my mattress and change my sheets, do dishes and laundry and clean the litterboxes than pick this book up again. I couldn't even make myself finish the chapter, which a friend said...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Did you ever read a book, and enjoy it, where you weren't even sure you really liked the main characters at all? They are people that you wouldn't want to be around for more than five minutes in real life. Well that is this book.

Having said that, this was a really good book. I found it fascinating, wildly hilarious, creative, unique, and I have this fond feeling inside now that I've finish it. But along with that, there is a sadness.

Let's talk about this book!

The Characters:

As I said above, I sp...more
Jim
Think Harry Potter written by a modern day S.E. Hinton, set in Narnia, & stuffed into one book. Kind of a wild mix & very well done. There's frank discussion of sex, drugs/drinking, & an unhealthy dose of ennui all leading to some hard, practical life experience. It's more 'real', for lack of a better term, than a normal YA fantasy yet is a coming of age story that certainly fit me (if I had magical powers) better than the popular pristine series.

Wow!

The characters are typical outsid...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
1 1/2

Where to start?

Some people don't see to like this book because it's too bleak and depressing. Not depressing in a truly sad kind of way, more just the depressing of disappointment. Others don't like it because of the drugs, sex, cursing and copious alcoholic consumption. I think that both of these things are definitely there, but that they're realistic in the context of the story we're being told.

However, realism is not quite the same as sympathetic - and herein lies my main problem. I ju...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Similar books/series? 6 48 11 hours, 30 min ago  
Casual Readers: {NO SPOILERS} The Magicians Series 3 15 Aug 12, 2014 10:14PM  
Literatti Hotties: The Magicians 4 19 Jul 16, 2014 06:04AM  
Mattoon Public Li...: Quick read, or a think about me read 2 18 Jun 30, 2014 08:49AM  
Casual Readers: THE MAGICIANS: Official Discussion 1 11 Jun 04, 2014 07:52PM  
The Sword and Laser: The Magicians TV show 5 128 May 08, 2014 08:41AM  
  • Bitter Seeds (The Milkweed Triptych, #1)
  • The Blood of the Lamb
  • Angelmaker
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)
  • Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)
  • Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, #1)
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1)
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible
  • Under Heaven
  • Mythago Wood (Mythago Wood, #1)
  • Magic for Beginners
  • Sword & Laser Anthology
  • The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
  • The Etched City
  • The Gospel of Loki
  • The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1)
  • The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)
142270
My novel The Magicians was a New York Times bestseller. So was the sequel, The Magician King. The third book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, will be published in August 2014.

There's yet more information about me and my books on my website.
More about Lev Grossman...
The Magician King (The Magicians, #2) The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3) Codex The Magicians and the Magician King Warp

Share This Book

“If there's a single lesson that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so. ” 335 likes
“I got my heart's desire, and there my troubles began.” 314 likes
More quotes…