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The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
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The Magicians > A Case of Loose Ends?

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Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 638 comments Minor spoilers (first third of the book or so) ahead...

While re-reading this book for the book club I noticed something which I *think* was one of the main reasons why I didn't love the book the first time around.

The story is pretty cool and all the settings are settings that I generally love. New York, magic school, alternate universes, even coming-of-age.

But I always got the feeling that there are too many loose ends in this book, too many ideas that are just kind of thrown in without being followed through properly.

Upon finishing it I can at least say that most of the loose ends that I found where somehow picked up and brought to a proper solution, but it still felt like something half-finished most of the way through.

The whole scene with The Beast is one of these scenes, which - although it is resolved somehow - felt to me like it was not resolved in a way that was satisfying. Another example is the whole "Alice and Quentin move one grade up" storyline. I'm still not sure what that was good for, other than maybe isolating them or whatever? Especially since after that Quentin never really shows any signs of being a spectacular magician or anything.

I can only compare this to the Harry Potter books which The Magicians made me appreciate even more. J.K. Rowling seems to weave her stories so much more carefully and elegantly and I can't even point to what exactly is missing from Grossman's writing, because I don't even think that there are any crude errors in The Magicians, but on a very personal level it left me unsatisfied.

It also seemed like Grossman rushed through the different settings. Maybe this is partly the fault of the Harry Potter magic school similarities, which makes it feel odd to cover five years of school in a couple of hundred pages, but it always felt that once a setting was halfway established, the book rushed on to the next.

Anyone with similar feelings? Or completely different ones maybe?


message 2: by Stephanie (last edited Apr 11, 2012 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stephanie (einahpets_reads) | 66 comments I enjoyed the book overall, but I think you highlighted the aspect I liked least. It did feel rushed at times, as if Grossman always knew where he wanted to end it but not really the finer details of the world he was creating. The sequel suffers from somewhat the same thing, in my opinion.

When an author finds a good balance of the action & worldbuilding I am the happiest.


Zach Bechtel (zachbechtel) | 109 comments I don't think the school aspect was good as it could have been, this is likely entirely due to Harry Potter.

One of my favorite parts was the brakebills south campus final exam, I wish there was more interaction afterward with all the physical kids. I seems like Quentin could have done way better at the exam but no-one really went into it.


Zach Moore (zachms) | 13 comments I have not finished yet, they just got out of brakebills. But it does seem at times like Mr. Grossman wanted to get that whole section of the story out of the way, so he could get where he really wanted to go.


Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 638 comments Zach wrote: "I have not finished yet, they just got out of brakebills. But it does seem at times like Mr. Grossman wanted to get that whole section of the story out of the way, so he could get where he really w..."

Hopefully not spoilery, but it seemed like that every time he changed settings. Not sure where he really wanted to go. Maybe the second book?


P. Aaron Potter (PAaronPotter) | 585 comments Nope, not the second book either. All the angst, and twice the aimlessness.


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments I remember there being quite a few moments where something would supposedly be resolved but had me thinking, 'Wait, that's it?' The same thing does happen in the second book.

A lot of things that were left completely unresolved from the first book get cleared up in the second, only to add more things that are left unresolved. So I'm guessing the things that were left unfinished from the second book will be cleared up in the third book. What ever isn't finished in the third book will be finished in the fourth book, and so on, and so forth, until the end of the world.


Barry | 5 comments "Loose Ends" is a great phrase to describe what really irritated me, especially in the first 1/2 of this book. Things would be mentioned in the book without a clear explanation, just an underlying implication that it was significant. To some degree this can be a technique for drawing the audience into the world of the book, and have them "invest" themselves in the story by adding their own meaning here and there. However, it happened way too much for my taste.


Bradley | 3 comments For me, I don't think "Loose Ends" quite explains the problem I had at the end of the book, it was more that I just wasn't left satisfied by the resolution.

The thing with the Beast is definitely resolved, but it seemed a little too neat. I never expected that incident at Brakebills to have any far reaching consequences, I was perfectly happy with it as a stand-alone incident demonstrating how dangerous magic could be. The way that storyline came back just felt contrived to me.

Alice and Quentin skipping a year does come up again when they're the only two to complete the Brakebills South final exam, but, again...that didn't leave me satisfied. I understand that Grossman wanted to kind of subvert the idea of the "chosen one", but then what was it about Quentin that allowed him to skip a year and then complete the final? He seemed to have all makings of a great wizard, but when the time came to put those skills to the test in the 'real' world, he failed. Again, that's sort of the point, but I don't think it worked for me as intended.

I've had a really hard time grading this book. I initially gave it 4/5, but the more I think about it the more the problems I have stick out in my mind, and I think most of that is down to how the threads come together at the end (beyond the two already mentioned). Oh well, I certainly didn't hate the book, and I intend to read The Magician King, so I can't complain too much!


Blair Beveridge | 8 comments

I agree with a lot with what Bradley is saying about this book. I have recently completed this, and the more I think about it, the more I think I wanted this book to fall into the Harry Potter mold.

JKR left a huge hole to fill for fans of her Potter series, and with this book so closely resembling the premise (and often bluntly referenced) I believe readers of that series and perhaps even the Narnia series wished to play in those worlds once again.

Like many Grossman couldn't sell me on Quentin's abilities, and the character I most enjoyed he presumably kills. Furthermore he does not provide anything to me to show why Quentin has a thing for Julia, or why Alice has a thing for Quentin.

Harry Potter was full of powerful emotions in the characters. Wonder, exuberance, anger, revenge. The Magicians focus more on apathy and it's ilk.

But I enjoyed it enough to complete. And to pick up and start reading the Magician King. I see such potential in this series, and I think that is why I have decided to read on.

As a stand alone, The Magicians to me is frustrating. It had the potential to be great, and instead was good.


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