Benjie's Reviews > The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

liked it
Read in April, 2012

I feel like this book may have been trying to hard to not be Harry Potter. Maybe I just don't hang out with people who live like the characters in the book or grew up sheltered or something but the characters seemed unrealistically flawed instead of just "baseline human" flawed. It was the one thing that pulled me out of the story... it felt like the author was being unnecessarily crass or shocking in an attempt to say "HEY THIS TOTALLY ISN'T HARRY PUTTER I SWEAR". Otherwise it was an excellent approach to the "secret world of magic in our own world" genre.

I can't help comparing it to Jim Butcher's Dresden novels and feeling that, while the storytelling and world lived up to expectations, the characters felt flat. I'm OK with books with unlikable protagonists and flawed characters who never really find redemption... and I kinda get that these characters weren't really adults so much as children who had failed to grow up despite gaining access to the adult world... and maybe if you take that as a parody or commentary on the saccharine characters in the books it pays homage to, like "Those characters were unrealistically good so my characters are going to be unrealistically flawed" it might make sense. But on a personal opinion front I just didn't feel the human connection I'm looking for with the characters I'm following.

So, three stars because while I liked and enjoyed this book I feel like I'm going to have to qualify my recommendation any time I suggest someone read this book.

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