The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) The Magicians discussion


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Just didn't cut it

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message 1: by Malla (new)

Malla Does anybody else think that this book was no where near as good as Codex, which was such a brilliant read? This book, however, seems to lack pace and purpose - which is so disappointing because after Codex, I put him as one of my favourite authors.


Kataury the novel had great potential in the beginning, but about 1/3 of the way through the book it started to really lose the captivation.


Tweedledum This is probably the most depressing book I've ever read, How the hell could he kill Alice, that alone has made me question if I will read the second book. I did think it was pretty good though, except for the previous statement.


Monica I got this book based on recommendations from Border's employees before it closed. I have only read a third of the book. But I'm trying to get through it but it just not what I anticipated.


Sunny I checked this book out from the library a while back. It wasn't that bad, it was just towards the end I lost interest.


Khooger The book 1 is okay then when it goes to the book 2 towards the end, it's bad


Chance Brauburger i love this book and I am only half way through it and im only 14 how could you not like the book?

sure he killed alice but it was necessary. It saved the rest of them from "the beast" Martin


Jason Elevator Pitch:

"Think Harry Potter crossed with Narnia without the good bits.
But instead of wizards think ... MAGICIANS!
And make the main character bit of a prick that you hope will die."

Appalling.


Chance Brauburger whatever i don't hope he dies. it was a good book one of the ones I can't put it down once i start it.


Sandy Monica wrote: "I got this book based on recommendations from Border's employees before it closed. I have only read a third of the book. But I'm trying to get through it but it just not what I anticipated."

This was recommended to me by a Border's employee too and they compared it to Harry Potter and Narnia and I can understand the comparisons but it wasn't really what I was expecting at all and because of that among other reasons I was disappointed.


Chance Brauburger im sorry you were disappointed. I can kind of see the Narnia thing but its not like Harry Potter. Harry Potter was more childish this is more real I guess. People can die and do. You don't say a word and point the wand you have to speak in difficult and old languages in order to do it it's more grown up then Harry Potter and Narnia


Bryan Pope Chance wrote: "im sorry you were disappointed. I can kind of see the Narnia thing but its not like Harry Potter. Harry Potter was more childish this is more real I guess. People can die and do. You don't say a wo..."

There is more to the magic than that. They take into account the alignment of the stars, your position on the Earth, and more. I can see where someone would get bored with the first book due to the pace. There seems to be whole gaps between things that happen which took me out of the story. Lev just wanted to streamline the whole story though to include everything important.

I would say The Magicians is only like Harry Potter because of the magical school. I would say it is only like Narnia because of Fillory. Once they go there you find out how deep Lev went into creating the world(s) in this story. The second book delves a little more into this. He also makes the story more gritty and harsh for everyone.

The only problem that I had with The Magician King is that Lev made Julia more interesting than Quentin. This made Quentin's chapters unbearable to get through to find out what was going on with Julia.


Therese Found it a rather dull read...I struggled to connect with the characters and really didn't care too much by 2/3 of the way through...sorry:( I wouldn't recommend it nor would I compare it to Harry Potter,or Narnia. Not sure if it's "more real" but I think often the joy of reading is to engage and feel enthralled,compelled to discover what happens next to characters we care about- positively or negatively.I just- well, felt a yawning apathy.


message 14: by Amanda (last edited Mar 18, 2012 04:21PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amanda I really thought this book was dull...I thought it would be good since people were comparing it to Harry Potter, but to me it was like someone sucked all the life out of the characters. The characters didn't have much life to them, and even though I wasn't expecting Harry Potter, I was expecting a more lively cast of characters. For me, the best part was when the main character was in school, though Grossman just ploughs through that portion when he really could have given us a better look at life at the magic school. I got the Magician King before I read this, but I'm not thinking that I'm going to read it, thank goodness a friend lent it to me!


Richard It's not supposed to be 'like' Harry Potter or Narnia. It's a *deconstruction* of Harry Potter and Narnia. In that respect it succeeds, but unfortunately it's not a very interesting story.


Jesper Yeah "Just didn't cut it" is a fairly accurate assessment, I would say.

I was intrigued by the description, and since I've only read kind of 'old-timey' fantasy before this looked like a fresh take to me (yes, I'm fairly new to fantasy :P). My expectations might have been too high, but I just felt it moved too fast and never quite settled. The characters evolved poorly to me, and I never really cared for any of them. It just felt to me that the book never fulfilled it's potential.


Matthew Jesper wrote: "Yeah "Just didn't cut it" is a fairly accurate assessment, I would say.

I was intrigued by the description, and since I've only read kind of 'old-timey' fantasy before this looked like a fresh tak..."


I don't think we were really meant to like the characters, although we sometimes assume that our protagonist should be someone we can relate to; this is not always the case. However, I agree with someone else who felt that the book devolves in the latter half. It started strong, but by the end I had no desire to read a sequel. Unfulfilled potential is an accurate description.


Robin Chance-I'm a teenager as well and this book disappointed me. I felt like it didn't fit its description. I felt like at some points it transitioned in such a way that made it seem like multiple books. Part of me wants to read the sequel to see if I enjoy it more.


Erica I think that the whole Harry Potter/Narnia comparison was just a ploy to get us to actually read it (unless you were already familiar with Grossman's previous work). If you go into it with those expectations, then of course you're going to be let down. I enjoyed the cynical aspects, but the sequel was a huge letdown.


Jesper Matthew wrote: "I don't think we were really meant to like the characters, although we sometimes assume that our protagonist should be someone we can relate to; this is not always the case..."

Yeah I get that we're not supposed to like all the characters, except maybe Alice. But caring about a character and not identifying with him are two different things, in my opinion. Maybe I'm using the wrong words but by care I mean that I care about the character and its place in the story, like, for example: Hannibal Lecter, I don't particularly identify with a psychopathic cannibal, but I care about what happens to the character.

You get the distinction I'm trying to make?


Jaimie Teekell I love Harry Potter and Narnia AND The Magicians.

I think loving The Magicians requires a love of something like, say, Woody Allen. A love of cynicism. A disenchantment with enchantment. It definitely isn't for everyone. One man's genuine plight is another's first world problem.


message 22: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben The Magicians was a confusing but overall enjoyable read.

I can't see how it's anything like Harry Potter or Narnia, except that the main characters come from a reality similar to ours and get transported to a land of "magic". Aside from that, the story goes off in rather random directions.

You can see by how the author writes the first third of the story that he's trying to create a boarding school life style that will fit into the narrative. It's not supposed to be as awe-inspiring or eventful as Harry Potter, nor as adventurous and spontaneously magical as Narnia, because it's meant to have a "realistic" feel, and I suppose in real life boarding school life is rather boring and eventually it would all blend into one long term of mild punishment. At least that's what I felt from reading the first part.

It was ok, there were surprises, and I can even relate to the main protagonist. In fact, I think I related too much to him, and by the end really, really hated the guy. He's just so FUCKING NORMAL. But no, he's not a well-adjusted normal, he's the mal-adjusted spoiled american nerdy jock-hating upper middle-class wants-everything-on-a-platter normal. I didn't see it clearly like that until his breakup with Alice, but I already had a sense of what was coming even in the beginning.

At least I can praise the author on how well he hinted at the condition our main protagonist was subject to.

The 2nd part wasn't much fun, and that's where the book started to lose my interest.

Overall it was fun read, at least for the first part, but I think killing off the main female protagonist without even a hint of survival is going to kill his small insignificant fanbase.


Jeffrey A-freaking-men! I finished this damn thing simply to write a scathing review here on Goodreads. Possibly the most hated book I've ever read.

Jason wrote: "Elevator Pitch:

"Think Harry Potter crossed with Narnia without the good bits.
But instead of wizards think ... MAGICIANS!
And make the main character bit of a prick that you hope will die."

Ap..."



Cláudia This book is pretty good, some might not enjoy it because it has lots of bad things and very little good things lol It is not flowers and rainbows, but it is young adults living the way the real young adults live (the majority of young adults, not all) in real life...


message 25: by Luke (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luke Evans Jason wrote: "Elevator Pitch:

"Think Harry Potter crossed with Narnia without the good bits.
But instead of wizards think ... MAGICIANS!
And make the main character bit of a prick that you hope will die."

Ap..."


Yes. In fact, make the MC a somehow less likable Holden Caulfield and the review is complete.

I didn't hate this book, but I was more disappointed by it the further I read.


message 26: by [deleted user] (last edited May 02, 2012 09:13AM) (new)

I didn't dislike it. I finished mainly because it was the only book I had during a road trip.


Joyce I found it interesting at first, but once the group left the school, they all became supremely annoying. I didn't mind the homage to Harry Potter, but I'm not a fan of the Narnia nods.


Robert At first, I found the book to be somewhat interesting, but I struggled more and more to find a reason to like it as I continued to read before finally giving up. Perhaps it was the apathy and negativity of the characters.


message 29: by Martin (last edited Jun 01, 2012 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Martin Cosgrove I enjoyed The Magicians. I can, however, understand other people's frustrations, especially when it comes to Grossman's deconstruction of the fantasy genre. The story can come across as super self-aware at times and although I didn't mind that, as a writer of contemporary fantasy myself, it's not an approach I would use too much. I prefer to hermetically seal off my story and attempt to create a world in which the reader cares for the characters and feels immersed in the false-reality and urgency of the whole thing.

The Magicians sometimes stops to snicker at fantasy tropes which could lead to some readers feeling that Grossman burst the bubble of the world he so carefully created.

But I liked it and enjoyed the sequel, The Magician King, too.


message 30: by Meeg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Meeg I'd maybe give it a C. Didn't hate it, quick read, sort of frivilous and not much to chew over once you finish. The beginning held my interest in a wish fulfillment/guilty pleasure kind of way and then it lost me a bit as it went on. The last few chapters are like the novelization of a World of War Craft/Dungeons & Dragons fantasy hack-and-slash fest.


Jessica Cláudia wrote: "This book is pretty good, some might not enjoy it because it has lots of bad things and very little good things lol It is not flowers and rainbows, but it is young adults living the way the real yo..."

yeah, but who wants to read about that crap? there is nothing worse than some disturbingly awful and depressing book.


Esoldra Therese wrote: "Found it a rather dull read...I struggled to connect with the characters and really didn't care too much by 2/3 of the way through...sorry:( I wouldn't recommend it nor would I compare it to Harry ..."

WWS


Nadine I started out liking this book for awhile, and really really wanted to keep doing so, but the characters became so annoying and the plot so off course that I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

If I don't like the main character, and can't identify with anyone, I just don't care about the story. Period. I won't be reading the rest of the series.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) Malla wrote: "Does anybody else think that this book was no where near as good as Codex, which was such a brilliant read? This book, however, seems to lack pace and purpose - which is so disappointing because af..."

I totally agree & thought I would like it more. I was disappointed - felt like it was a rehash of many other books - a bit from here & a pinch from there.


Susanpalmer Nadine wrote: "I started out liking this book for awhile, and really really wanted to keep doing so, but the characters became so annoying and the plot so off course that I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

I completely agree with Malla, Linda, Richard, Jason, Nadine, et al: I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Antipathetic characters, wandering wooden plot, anemic imagination. I will say that it broke ground in one area: I'm a 59 year old bookaholic and I've never before shed tears because a protagonist DIDN'T die at the end.

What really annoyed me was the blatant plagiarism. Not Potter so much (though I wonder if Grossman had the courtesy to ask JK Rowling if he could use the word "thestral"). Rather the point by point borrowing of so many major and minor aspects of Narnia--and Fillory was still silly and ridiculous! He even stole what the world looks like from a goose's-eye-view from The Book of Merlin (T.H. White, part of the Once and Future King). I'm not at all surprised Fox is picking it up.

I understand that he was deconstructing fantasies, and it certainly made me think about what it is I seek in fantasy. It's just that he made me think even more that I've seldom been icked out so badly by a book I looked forward to.

Bright side: Malla makes me want to read Codex and give him a second chance.



message 36: by Jean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jean Labrador I've read this book twice in two years. Love it. Yes, people die... grow up. The Magicians is a good book and so is the followup.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) Susanpalmer wrote: "Nadine wrote: "I started out liking this book for awhile, and really really wanted to keep doing so, but the characters became so annoying and the plot so off course that I couldn't recommend it to..."

Yes Codex was much better!


message 38: by Dave (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dave You guys are all high, this book was awesome. Boo-hoo, it didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted it to. If only it had been a bit more NarniPotter-esque and not an adult fantasy novel. So many cool scenes in this novel, it's ridiculous. Check your biases at the door, please.


Jessica Dave wrote: "You guys are all high, this book was awesome. Boo-hoo, it didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted it to. If only it had been a bit more NarniPotter-esque and not an adult fantasy novel. So ma..."

It was more than just a sucky ending that made this a sucky book Dave.


Susanpalmer Very mature, Dave. I'm excessively impressed by your erudite and precise use of language, your penetrating analysis, your stunning construction of new portmanteau words. Might I point out that this can scarcely be called "adult" fantasy, unless perhaps you're looking at it from wistful prepubescence?


message 41: by Dave (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dave Alright, fair enough. Here's my take on book, I'll leave out the snark this time.

It was tremendous fun. I loved the Quentin character, he's a complete dork and emotionally stunted. He's the anti-hero of a book that is begging for a hero. And this is an anti-fantasy novel. Those who did not see the dismal ending coming weren't paying attention earlier in the novel. I thought the message that there is no meaning to it all, even when a ram God is telling you it has meaning, was quite powerful. He kept getting all of his deepest desired, only to be left unsatisfied by some other abstract aspect of his life. Turtles all the way down.

The book is about existential angst, but maybe in modern times that is considered to be adolescent fare. I thought it was very well done, and entertaining to boot. I've never really been a huge fan of the Narnia series, so I especially enjoyed how Grossman kind of 'took the piss' on that whole series. But purely as entertainment, this book delivered in spades with some brilliant sequences (the Beast, the migration, the Pole run, the Neitherlands, the encounter with the water nympth, etc.)

That's my view, sorry if I was offensive up above.


message 42: by Justin (last edited Nov 30, 2012 03:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Justin People that don't like this book don't adequately understand the depth or the themes presented in the book. It's a veiled coming of age story with a heavy dose of realism. I mean, what would you do were you to graduate from a magical college in your early 20s and having no direction to go, no grand quest or big evil to vanquish?

There's also plenty of parody, satire, influences, and references to popular fantasy series that are meant to do what they do, not be a cheap source of material.

If you want fantasy adventures, give the second book a go (The Magician King). It's a little better than this book and tells you all about Julia.

This book is a thinking man's (or woman's) book, not your typical fantasy schlock where you don't have to think about or analyze characters since they adhere strictly to establish fantasy tropes. The book is very much a realistic take on what would actually happen if there were magic in our world and exploring what happens after the "happily ever after" line.


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