John's Reviews > The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
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's review
Aug 13, 2011

liked it

Narnia, Hogwarts and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, mixed in uneven amounts. Doesn't rise to the level of any one of those books, but provides a little bit of commentary on each of them. The author is consciously drawing on the first two books, with subtle commentaries on the unreality of them, so I don't take points off for that. The protagonist is taken from a real world, put into a fantasy where everything is great, then dumped back out into the real world with fantastical powers, then goes back into a fantastical world with real consequences. In some sense it's pretty cool, but the hero is a little whiney, a little too imperfect. Sure, it's hard to live in a world where you can get by without doing much. There are tons of college graduates struggling with it right now. But in the end, you need to join the community and contribute. I can't really sympathize with someone who reacts by partying and losing his moral compass.

That sounds really negative. I did enjoy this book. It was fun to explore this new world. The characters are original, even in this consciously derivative world.

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