Ian Hrabe's Reviews > The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read from October 11 to 17, 2011

Lev Grossman warrants sending his protagonist to wizard school and then to a Narnia-esque fantasy realm. I was worried at first. Worried that it would be too Harry Potter-esque but nope. He pulls it off because The Magicians is grittier and more psychologically traumatizing for its characters. There's drinking, drugs, sex, romantic entanglements that end poorly, death and tragedy, and though it's a riff on Narnia and Hogwarts, Grossman manages to do it in a way that seems really fresh and exciting. His protagonist, Quentin Coldwater, is only just likable enough. He's not some lovable golden child like Harry Potter or any child's protagonist (Granted, latter Harry Potter was kind of a tool when he needed to be but anyway). He's a fuck up. He makes mistakes, big mistakes often, and ultimately he seems to learn from them. Grossman shows us that magic is perfect, yet humans--a species renown for its mistake-making abilities--are not. The prose is excellent, the dialogue natural and often times very, very funny. The antagonist, The Beast, is absolutely magnificently horrifying and the Chekov's Villain number Grossman plays earlier in the book wherein the Beast shows up, freezes everybody, and devours one of the students is a brilliant set-up if only because what happens when the Beast is encountered in the third act is just so fucking brutal. Anyway, now it's time to read The Magician King and hope Lev Grossman wants to make a proper series because the Magicians is some really awesome groundwork. He seems to be setting things up on a grand scale. I sure hope so.

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Reading Progress

10/11/2011 page 150
37.0% "Oh, this is really fun and would have made for a perfect post-Harry Potter read given that I wasn't quite ready to leave magic school."
10/14/2011 page 270
67.0% "Despite recycling the same descriptions and such here and there (which is only barley a complaint), Grossman is really excelling in using this book to really set-up a whole bunch of shit that's either going to come at the end of this installment or down the line. Wondering how many books he's planning, or is it just the two?"
10/15/2011 page 333
83.0% ""I will stop being a mouse, Quentin. I will take some chances. If you will, for just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you'd better decide to enjoy it or you're going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever." -Alice"

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