Dragons & Jetpacks discussion

66 views
BotM Discussion - FANTASY > The Magicians/ part I only (chapters 1-14)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 68 (68 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments Taking Rinn's suggesting and starting a few early threads for those (like me) who don't want spoilers for later parts of the book.


message 2: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments Harry Potter over kill? I've been frustrated a lot lately as publishers try to call their book the next Harry Potter only to be disappointed. This is the first book I've that (so far) merits the title. The shady way the main character discovers his ability, the schooling being broken into years of study, the diverse characters and their diverse traumas all are familiar but original. It is a captivating start.

I'm at the part where Quentin gets bumped up to year 2.

PS: I definitely get a parallel between Quentin's childhood favorite books series The Fillory and the Narnia books.


message 3: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 1665 comments just finished these last year - found them very different and pretty enjoyable. Having never read the Narnia books - I was thinking there might be a connection but was unsure. I will be interested in hearing what you have to say and discussing aspects of the books once you get there. Don't want to ruin them for you.


message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Sandy wrote: "just finished these last year - found them very different and pretty enjoyable. Having never read the Narnia books - I was thinking there might be a connection but was unsure. I will be interested ..."

Oh yes, I'd say certainly! The fictional books within the book sound an awful lot like the Narnia stories already. In the first chapter, he even checks the back of a cupboard to make sure it's solid, half thinking it'll have a pathway in it to transport him into another land. I'd say it's a deliberate reference on the author's part.


message 5: by Alex (new)

Alex trying to avoid spoilers, yeah the Narnia parallel is a BIG part of the whole series.


message 6: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 1665 comments Maybe I should read the Narnia series and come back and reread these - probably missed the references. Remember thinking I wish I had the Fillory books...


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments Sandy wrote: "Maybe I should read the Narnia series and come back and reread these - probably missed the references. Remember thinking I wish I had the Fillory books..."

I did a search just to see if there WERE real....they're not.


message 8: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 1665 comments Melanie wrote: "Sandy wrote: "Maybe I should read the Narnia series and come back and reread these - probably missed the references. Remember thinking I wish I had the Fillory books..."

I did a search just to see..."


Glad I am not the only one - I don't remember if I did the search or not - probably.


LittleBookDruid | 89 comments I haven't read Narnia too. But that's the thing with references, Easter eggs for the worthies... :/


message 10: by Margo (new)

Margo Sandy wrote: "Maybe I should read the Narnia series and come back and reread these - probably missed the references. Remember thinking I wish I had the Fillory books..."

Definitely read the Narnia books Sandy. I recently listened The Magician's Nephew and I think I enjoyed even more as an adult ;-)


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Arnette (saraharnette) | 8 comments Loved this series! Book one and book two were okay, but book 3 was amazing!

http://booklovingfun.weebly.com/blog/...


message 12: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "Definitely read the Narnia books Sandy. I recently listened The Magician's Nephew and I think I enjoyed even more as an adult ;-)
.."


Margo, I wasn't too crazy about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as an adult - I felt like the allegory was a little too pat for me now. Do you think the other books in the series might appeal to me more as an adult (deeper, more complex, or less straightforward in allegory?) I read and loved all of them as a kid and am thinking maybe I should give some of the others in the series a try.


message 13: by Ryan (new)

Ryan I read that as an adult too Greg, just last year. I didn't enjoy it that much.


message 14: by Margo (new)

Margo Greg wrote: "Margo wrote: "Definitely read the Narnia books Sandy. I recently listened The Magician's Nephew and I think I enjoyed even more as an adult ;-)
.."

Margo, I wasn't too crazy about The Lion,..."</i>

Maybe I was just reliving my childhood Greg! Narnia was my favorite series (I didn't really enjoy the films though). I borrowed [book:The Magician's Nephew
audiobook from the library about 5 years ago and I loved it. I can't recall who read it and as it was pre-goodreads I don't have it recorded. It was very dated and very "british" which for me added to the charm. I think it's also important to keep in mind that this is a series written for children as opposed to the YA genre we are now familiar with so they would have been aimed at a less sophiastocated audience. This book was what we would call a prequel and explored the birth of Narnia and provides a backstory for the evil queen. I'm not sure if I'd call it deeper but it delves a bit into creation mythology. I must listen TLTWATW and see what my "adult" self makes of it ;-)



message 15: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 1665 comments Just requested at the library - will let you know what I think. I was more of a Nancy Drew, Black Beauty kinda girl.


message 16: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments As I'm nearing the halfway mark, I am noticing a lack of an over-villain. I'm not quite sure who the antagonist is supposed to be at this point?

I'm also kind of disappointed that Quentin (and all of the the Brakebills students) haven't matured at all!? They are better at magic, but they haven't changed much as people.


message 17: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Would people that learned magic have much incentive to grow up?


message 18: by Margo (new)

Margo Melanie, I've just finished part 1. Is it OK to put spoilers on this thread? Just want to be sure :-)


message 19: by Veronica (last edited Jul 05, 2016 07:56AM) (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I'm only up to chapter eight because I didn't touch the book at all for the past three days. Frankly, I 'm bored, the characters read younger than college age to me and I don't find any of them particularly interesting so far.


message 20: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments No spoilers for part I I'd say I this tread, but you can include them in the part II thread. PS: making up rules as we go...


message 21: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1310 comments @Ryan: the author seems to be making that statement and I get it, but I don't think I LIKE it.

@Veronica: I think you more eloquently stated what I was thinking. There's a lack of depth to the characters and without a mission or what not to accomplish, it stalls the story.


message 22: by Margo (new)

Margo Melanie wrote: "@Ryan: the author seems to be making that statement and I get it, but I don't think I LIKE it.

@Veronica: I think you more eloquently stated what I was thinking. There's a lack of depth to the cha..."


Guys, hang in there, it picks up- I'm onto part 2 ;-D


message 23: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments I like the part about 70 pages in where Alice tells Quentin how she arrived at Brakebills and Quentin realizes it all isn't about him.

"It occurred to him, long after it should have, that he wasn't the only person here who had problems and felt like an outsider. Alice wasn't just the competition, someone whose sole purpose in life was to succeed and by doing so subtract from his happiness. She was a person with her own hopes and feelings and history and nightmares."

This is a part of growing up, I think, realizing this. Not everyone gets there though. Some people never realize this at all.

Not a fast moving book so far, but I do like it. Feels more grounded than the group reads last month. Less of a fantasy of what people are (snarky, unflappable, self-possessed, capable, always ready with a witty retort) and more grounded instead. No idea yet how I'll like where it goes from here but for me, a decent start.

I see most of my friends either gave it 1 star or 4-5 stars. What some of my English friends call a marmite book I guess.


message 24: by Margo (new)

Margo I came close to abandoning it during part 1 Greg. I'm so glad I didn't. I think if it hadn't been a group read I would have thrown in the towel and given it a low rating.


message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "I came close to abandoning it during part 1 Greg. I'm so glad I didn't. I think if it hadn't been a group read I would have thrown in the towel and given it a low rating."

Looking forward to seeing how it progresses Margo! :)


message 26: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments I feel annoyed about 122 pages in where Quentin has already forgiven himself for his part in what happened to Amanda. I like the book, but I'm starting to dislike Quentin as a person - he's awfully self absorbed and not too empathetic.

So far, the TV series was quite different - they skipped forward in the story quite a bit, and they changed some of key details to make Quentin much more likeable (such as who causes what happens with "the Beast's" arrival and why). It's interesting. I would almost say at this point that the TV series was inspired by the book rather than a true adaption. Some things that happen in the book are indeed depicted in the TV series but always in a different context or with a different twist. It's too early to say which I'll like better, but they're two completely separate things.


message 27: by Margo (new)

Margo It's so annoying when a show is not true to the book, for better or for worse! Quentin is not a likable character but I've known a few people quite similar, so I don't find the character unrealistic. I tend to prefer books where the protagonist is portrayed as a nice person. In this case most them strike me as a bunch of whining brats with too much money and brains to burn but not a lot of intelligence!


message 28: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "Quentin is not a likable character but I've known a few people quite similar, so I don't find the character unrealisti..."

I definitely agree Margo - even some adults are like this, too self absorbed to properly understand or empathize with others. It's unfortunately quite realistic!

I don't mind unsympathetic characters usually, but sometimes all of the characters in a book are so unpleasant and the author's philosophy is so grindingly dark & cynical that I don't enjoy the book at all. For me, The Magicians doesn't reach that level. The characters aren't all sociopaths, just unpleasant in an ordinary way as you say. I can deal with them. I'm finding the book engaging.


message 29: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I've never thought Quentin was likable so him not feeling all that badly for his part in Amanda's death didn't surprise me. I don't particularly like any of the characters, really.

I finally got through chapter 14 and I have no idea what the point of this book is. I've followed this group of entitled prats through four years of magic school where nothing of real interest has happened. An ice pick through the eye is preferable at this point,


message 30: by Ryan (last edited Jul 07, 2016 12:06AM) (new)

Ryan I thought it was a brilliant book, but I agree the characters inspire zero sympathy. I gave it three stars but I definitely want to read more of Grossman's stuff.


message 31: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Ryan wrote: "I thought it was a brilliant book, but I agree the characters inspire zero sympathy. I gave it three stars but I definitely want to read more of Grossman's stuff."

I think this is true Ryan. The writing on a sentence level is of a high quality, to my ear anyway. I love the description of the geese flying south for instance, very well written. The characters are unpleasant at this point, mostly Quentin and Eliot, but no one has engaged my sympathy much so far. Really Quentin is so self absorbed I don't feel like I've learned a huge amount about the other characters yet, only him. The pacing is slowish in book 1 for a fantasy novel, paced a bit more like literary fiction, though I don't mind this.

Just about at the end of book 1.


message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 432 comments Veronica wrote: "I've never thought Quentin was likable so him not feeling all that badly for his part in Amanda's death didn't surprise me. I don't particularly like any of the characters, really.

I finally got ..."


Veronica, you pretty much summed up my feelings on the book! Greg's point regarding the description of the geese flying south being well written is good, and maybe the only portion of the book I enjoyed, and I think that is simply due to the fact that i love geese.

This book did absolutely nothing for me, and I couldn't get into the TV show simply because I couldn't stand to look at Quentin.


message 33: by Nora (new)

Nora (noralouise) | 1 comments Greg wrote: "I like the part about 70 pages in where Alice tells Quentin how she arrived at Brakebills and Quentin realizes it all isn't about him.

Greg, I highlighted that part too. I took note of the several instances when Quentin realizes that other people have obstacles and unhappiness (when he reflected on the hardships of Eliot and Gretchen are the first two to come to mind), and I think marking those has helped me see a bit of the development of Q's character. The period of internal shame when you reflect how little you really know about the world around you is a hallmark of become an adult, and I that is done very well within his character.

I do agree with you all though that Quentin and the rest of the Physicals are pretty unlikable (with the exception of Alice- there is something about her reaction to her parents' aimless lives that I really enjoy). I'm hoping that interesting characters are introduced in the second half.

I am enjoying the book so far-- the part with the Beast made me put down it down just to recover, Alice's realization about her brother made me sniff a bit, and my interest is piqued to learn about the dark-haired girl with the braids and her involvement in the story.


message 34: by Lel (new)

Lel (lelspear) | 1963 comments Melanie wrote: "I did a search just to see if there WERE real....they're not."


Me too!!!


message 35: by Lel (new)

Lel (lelspear) | 1963 comments Well I finished the first book last night and have to say that I'm not hugely impressed. I'm finding the book very detached from the characters. Almost like the author is an invisible person watching this play out rather than knowing the characters inside and out. I find that quite off putting.

Quentin I'm not massively fond of. He did dismiss his part in Amanda's death so easily despite how bad he felt to start with. I agree with Nora in the fact that Alice is my fav character so far but I'm not really keen on her either.

I'm hoping that with book 2, going out into the big wide world will make all the characters more likeable, less self absorbed and just less annoying.

Anyone else wanting to know more about Penny? He really interested me with the unexpected fight, the persecution complex he has going on and then the fact that he made prefect out of nowhere! Also the braided girl.

I think i'm on the fence with this one so far.


message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Arnette (saraharnette) | 8 comments Lel wrote: "Well I finished the first book last night and have to say that I'm not hugely impressed. I'm finding the book very detached from the characters. Almost like the author is an invisible person watchi..."

You're gonna have to wait until book 3 to see them grow up. LOL>


message 37: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Lel wrote: "Well I finished the first book last night and have to say that I'm not hugely impressed. I'm finding the book very detached from the characters. Almost like the author is an invisible person watchi..."

Lel, maybe it's not that the author was detached from the characters so much as that it's all coming filtered through Quentin's point of view, and that Quentin is self absorbed & not too perceptive about other people's inner lives?


message 38: by Margo (new)

Margo Good point Greg. Maybe that's what he going for, but if so it didn't quite come off. I don't think my hards have ever itched quite so much to box a characters ears! I found it easy to see why Penny attacked him out of the blue ;-)


message 39: by Lel (new)

Lel (lelspear) | 1963 comments Greg wrote: "Lel, maybe it's not that the author was detached from the characters so much as that it's all coming filtered through Quentin's point of view, and that Quentin is self absorbed & not too perceptive about other people's inner lives."

Possible, very possible but for whatever reason it didn't make me gel with the book or the characters. I'm with Margo, I just wanted to slap and scream at pretty much all of the Physicals.


message 40: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "Good point Greg. Maybe that's what he going for, but if so it didn't quite come off. I don't think my hards have ever itched quite so much to box a characters ears! I found it easy to see why Penny..."

I do agree Margo and Lel - Quentin pulls the story down like a sack of rocks.

Just a few things that irritated me in the Physical Kids' attitudes (and Quentin's in particular):

- the treatment of the new 3rd years .. so dismissive, they can't even put themselves in the new students' place .. so rude and standoffish .. zero empathy!
- his attitude towards his parents (who at least to this point seem to have done nothing in particular to deserve his utter scorn) .. appalling!!
- Alice's and Quentin's appalling discussion about needing to find new friends and how they would be "selective" (dismissal of candidates for bad teeth, etc) .. so arrogant and self absorbed a conversation!!

Alice is just as bad as the rest in most of these scenes.

It's a testament to Grossman's writing that I'm still engaged in the book with Quentin's perspective constantly dragging it down, not as engaged as I would be with a better protagonist but engaged enough to keep reading.


message 41: by Robin P (new)

Robin P I didn't find Quentin unlikeable, just young! Especially in the book as opposed to the TV series (which I watched and enjoyed, though it was different) Many readers think he complains too much, he gets to go to a wonderful magical place and he still isn't happy. But this is the way most of us are, especially when we are teenagers.

The TV series made the characters college-age to start with which allowed for more sex. I read the book a while ago but I thought Penny was a super nerd and in the TV series he was super cool.


message 42: by Greg (last edited Jul 09, 2016 06:18PM) (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Robin wrote: "I didn't find Quentin unlikeable, just young! Especially in the book as opposed to the TV series (which I watched and enjoyed, though it was different) Many readers think he complains too much, he ..."

I find Quentin in the TV show very likeable, awkward but charming in his goodheartedness, completely sincere and uncynical in a very loveable way. Practically the opposite of the callous, self absorbed fellow depicted in the book! I find Alice in the TV show extremely likeable too .. studious, awkward, and shy but also very caring. Only Eliot in the TV show has that obnoxious don't-care attitude whereas in the book, all the Physical kids have it (often even Alice).

Oh wow Robin, I really disliked Quentin in the book! - not just young for me, completely self absorbed. I would say as 4th years any decent younger person would at least try to make the new 3rd years in their house feel comfortable, rather than feeling too "cool" for the effort. That's not asking too much. When I was in high school, there were kind empathetic kids and there were Quentins. The complaining is fine - that seems normal; it doesn't bother me. The griping unhappiness is fine too .. and very realistic! It's not that - it's his complete lack of empathy that bothers me - every once in a while he feels briefly guilty about something he's done, but then he shrugs it off very quickly and falls back into his cynical default behavior. I find him and the Physical kids quite obnoxious. Perhaps he'll grow into a perfectly kind adult though - I do believe people can change. Regardless he's an unpleasant fellow at the moment, at least for me.


message 43: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
I just finished the first book and like many people didn't like any of the characters. I couldn't tell you why but I actually do like the book so far. I'm not sucked in where I can't put it down but I really liked the final part of Brakebills South. Was a very cool depiction of magic.


message 44: by Margo (new)

Margo It appealed to me too Roger. Will you be reading the next book?


message 45: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Margo wrote: "It appealed to me too Roger. Will you be reading the next book?"

I do plan on continuing, hopefully I can find time to read it between watching the baby and catching pokemon...


message 46: by LittleBookDruid (new)

LittleBookDruid | 89 comments Just read the first scene, this month I am too behind. But I am already getting angry over this protag -_-
I always have trouble connecting with these sorts of people, "have money, intelligence, privileges, but sorry, I refuse to be happy." :/


message 47: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments LittleBookDruid wrote: "Just read the first scene, this month I am too behind. But I am already getting angry over this protag -_-
I always have trouble connecting with these sorts of people, "have money, intelligence, pr..."


It gets better LittleBookDruid, but it takes quite a while!


message 48: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Personally, I want my audible credit back...and the hours of my life. :-)


message 49: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Veronica wrote: "Personally, I want my audible credit back...and the hours of my life. :-)"

You can ask for a refund of the credit Veronica! Audible is really good about it as long as you don't do it too often - you just have to tell them you didn't like it, and you get the credit back. A friend of mine does it all the time. The hours of your life though ... I think that's a bit tougher! :)


message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1148 comments I'm about 30% through the book and although the writing is very good it's a very slow book with very little happening except the main character whining a lot. I'm not sure what the plot thread is yet but so far it's managed to make attending a school of magic seem really boring. My interest perked up when the Beast appeared then turned to horror when Quentin had absolutely no reaction to having a part in another students death. In fact his main reaction seems to have been another whining session over how much worse his life became and how relieved he was when the death was forgotten and college life returned to normal. And I'm supposed to like this character?
My last gripe is about the drinking. I seem to get the impression that being mortally drunk is acceptable in this college or am I just being really old fashioned.


« previous 1
back to top