The Magicians focuses on Quentin Coldwater: an extremely brilliant young man who is depressed and disillusioned with the world, and desperately wantsThe Magicians focuses on Quentin Coldwater: an extremely brilliant young man who is depressed and disillusioned with the world, and desperately wants to visit Fillory, the magical world portrayed in his favorite book series. Then he finds out that magic is real, and he is able to attend the foremost magical college in the United States. There he meets others who are like him--intensely intelligent, but always longing for something more.
Grossman takes the traditions set out by such children's books as The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, and treats them as if they were real--populated by real people with real problems. Grossman's characters are young adults in college, where they experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex, buoyed by their own specialness at being magicians. There's plenty of darkness at work in this book, and much of the conflict is the result of the characters' poor choices, selfishness, and pride.
Grossman has written very real, very flawed characters. Perhaps most flawed of all is the main character, Quentin. He repeatedly makes bad decisions and is incredibly pompous. He's so brilliant that the world bores him, and he looks in all the wrong places for meaning. The other characters can act equally terribly, but it's a testament to Grossman's writing that they're still compelling, and that I didn't end up utterly hating them. Still, some of the relationships grew a bit too incestuous for my personal taste toward the end of the book.
As for the plot, it was disjointed at times, but that added to the element of surprise. The details are delightfully fleshed out, and the worlds that Grossman builds are very tangible. I never knew what would come next, and it was refreshing to encounter a book that could so constantly keep me on my toes.
I did listen to the audiobook, and highly recommend it. Mark Bramhall did an incredible job narrating, breathing additional life into each of the characters, and reading with the snarkiness that the narrative so needed to really take off.
I got frustrated at the characters in this book, but I could not put it down. The language employed is hypnotic, and I constantly wanted more. Happily, the sequel has just come out, so I eagerly look forward to getting going on The Magician King....more
There’s been quite a bit of buzz about the so called Mayan Apocalypse, rumored to take place on December 21, 2012. As the date draws nearer, more andThere’s been quite a bit of buzz about the so called Mayan Apocalypse, rumored to take place on December 21, 2012. As the date draws nearer, more and more sites appear discussing the event on the internet, and the theories of what this means for mankind grow stranger and stranger. Understandably, all of this chatter can really frighten those who read it and don’t know what to make of it all. This serves as the impetus for Aveni’s book: a young man, disturbed by the 2012 hype, begins an email correspondence with Professor Aveni to find out what the Mayans really thought.
Aveni gives his expert opinion. He’s both and astronomer and a Mayan researcher, and his expertise in both fields is very apparent as you read the book. To be honest, this was a little bit of a drawback for me, since although he tries to write for the layman, it still came across as over my head. I took astronomy in college, but still struggled a bit when it came to the astronomy heavy chapter (although, to be fair, I struggled with it in college as well). The best chapter for me was when Aveni summed up the many other times humans have predicted the impending end of the world.
Aveni largely thinks that the people who are spouting the Mayan apocalypse are getting it wrong. The astronomy doesn’t hold up, and the Mayan research is sketchy at best. There are just too many areas where we don’t know enough to make a real judgement call about what the Maya meant or knew. So chill, Aveni thinks we’ll be okay....more
At first I did not plan on reading this book, because I did not like the cover design. With the flames at the bottom and the strange title font, it juAt first I did not plan on reading this book, because I did not like the cover design. With the flames at the bottom and the strange title font, it just looked too cheesy to be appealing. However, I was swayed to try giving a go by reading several other people's reviews, and I'm glad I did. Cover design aside, this was a terrific book.
Liani Taylor has written three lush, fantastic stories that lure you in, and enchant. The first story, "Goblin Fruit," is inspired by Christina Rossetti's sensuous poem, "The Goblin Market." The story is about the granddaughter of Rossetti's heroine, Lizzie. Kizzy knows about the goblins, but is tempted nonetheless when a new, mysterious boy comes to school. The next tale, "Spicy Little Curses Such as These," takes place in British colonial India. A woman bargains with a demon to save the lives of children, but at the price of placing a powerful curse. In "Hatchling," the final tale, a young girl wakes up to find one of her eyes is no longer her own, and her mother's past in a mysterious land is revealed.
There was real depth to these stories, and both the writing and illustrations draw from older literary and artistic traditions, grounding them in a way that much of today's YA lit is not. Taylor is able to meld bits of various traditions to create new, layered worlds and characters that actually feel real. The illustrations by her husband, Jim Di Bartolo, are equally ethereal and compliment the stories nicely....more
Alexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure isAlexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure is a bit more generous than fashionable, and she has no soul. In the universe of Soulless, vampires and werewolves are a well-known cultural group, and have been assimilated into society in the British Empire. However, after Alexia is rudely attacked by a strange vampire, it becomes apparent that something strange is happening in the supernatural community. Werewolves and vampires have been going missing, while others seem to appear out of thin air. Working with the hot, alpha werewolf Lord Maccon, Alexia will work to uncover who is behind the disappearances, all while having a good time in the process.
Soulless is a fun, cheeky reimagining of the Victorian era, with a strong, witty heroine. The plot moves fairly quickly, and there is enough action and romance to keep the story going. I really enjoyed Alexia's character. Being soulless and a resolute spinster, she feels she is able to take more liberties than the age would normally allow. She's very intelligent and unafraid to speak her mind. I also really enjoyed Lord Maccon's character, in all his rough animalism and passion, and Lord Akeldama, a foppish and lovable vampire. The story had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, and more than enough humor to keep me constantly laughing. I can't wait for Changeless, the second of the three-part series....more
I had never heard of the magazine Morbid Curiosity before picking up this book, but now I wish I had. The sample of odd essays I found in this volumeI had never heard of the magazine Morbid Curiosity before picking up this book, but now I wish I had. The sample of odd essays I found in this volume made me want more. I kept imagining the odd things from my life that I would write about if Morbid Curiosity was still being published. Topics in this book range from exploring a Nazi concentration camp to finding your landlord dead to offering up your body for a medical experiment that removes 2/3 of your blood and replaces it with saline solution. The essays are sometimes touching, sometimes humorous, but always fascinating. I'll be buying a copy of this for my morbid father....more