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OCT 16: the magicians > Hindsight

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message 1: by Devin (new)

Devin Waddell Babcock | 115 comments Mod
I'd like to hear discussions/thoughts/opinions from those who have finished the book. FAIR WARNING: this thread very likely will contain spoilers.


message 2: by Devin (new)

Devin Waddell Babcock | 115 comments Mod
I'm really excited for others to finish this book so we can talk about it in depth with fear of revealing any spoilers. I've heard many times how this tale is the adult version of Harry Potter, but I think it would be accurate to say it's the adult version of Narnia.

I'm just going to say right now that I wasn't a big fan of the book. I was disappointed with the style of writing. The setting was a magical, fantastic place... but the writing is so... sterile and stark that it makes these things lose their magic.

Along with the sound of the author's voice, I really didn't like the book once I got towards the end. I honestly felt like the author had realized at the end of the novel how many loose ends he had to tie up, so he did it all in the last 100 pages of the book. It felt unplanned, helter skelter, and chaotic.

I liked the idea of this book, I just felt like it was poorly executed. It felt like this was a fantasy novel written by an author that disdains the genre.


message 3: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Pio (beerbudgetsocialite) | 24 comments I struggled through this book like a lot of either people I've heard from. It just seems like the whole book was a set up for the rest of the series. Sometimes that's a good thing and the book turns out great, like Ender's Game, but this book just got me very frustrated at the characters especially in part 3. I act all like the very end but again, it all felt like backstory and set up for what's to come. I never really felt as if I was reading a true story but more like a history, if that makes sense?


message 4: by Alaina (last edited Oct 20, 2016 09:02AM) (new)

Alaina Grider | 2 comments The setting was a magical, fantastic place... but the writing is so... sterile and stark that it makes these things lose their magic.

I think that this was done on purpose to foreshadow events in the story and to reflect Quentin's reality. In the beginning to Quentin magic was a brand new experience. Everything was wondrous, exciting and alive; but as he experienced more magic began to lose its purpose. He had no purpose. So when the opportunity to go to Fillory came, Quentin wanted to embrace the new and exciting again. Only to find that it wasn't satisfying and had tremendous consequences. Leading up to Quentin voluntarily giving up his magic. But the magic wasn't really lost. As Quentin states,
Even as they stood there he felt something tingle in his fingertips...some residue left by the thousands of spells that had flowed through them over the years. He could still feel them there, the hot white sparks that had once come streaming so freely from his hands.
Even during his depression Quentin can feel some kind of magic. His magic was lost but could still be found if he searched for it.


message 5: by Heather (new)

Heather | 8 comments I completely agree with so much of Devin's assessment of the book that I couldn't quote and reference just one thing.

The style of writing irked me to no end. I felt like there was a lot of writing, but not a lot of action, especially during Quentin's time at Brakebills. The lack of dialogue between the characters didn't give us a chance to really get to know or get attached to any of them, which left me feeling indifferent about the outcome of the plot. It got to the point where, once the students were at Brakebills South and Mykovsky forced them not to talk, I saw it as an excuse for the author to write even less dialogue.

The writing style was almost erudite, like what you would find in British literature - except this wasn't literature, it was fantasy. There was very little drama, so that large events didn't read as exciting as they could have. Not to mention the characters seemed to downplay a lot of things. 18 year-old kid dropping out of high school to go to some fancy European college that no one has ever heard of? Yeah, tell me what real-life parent would really be ok with that. A student dies at the school, but whatever, no big deal, let's move on and not discuss it again until the very end of the book. Teachers ask students to come to the top of a tower and strip naked in the middle of the night, then turn them into freaking geese?! Oh, this happens every day. Totally normal.

The relationship between Quentin and Alice was horrendous. It basically started with rape and ended with cheating and death. Quentin himself was an annoying character to read as well. While I admire the author for taking a risk in making his main character less-than-chipper, it just made the story a miserable read! You are in a magic land with magic powers and magic friends and you're miserable?? What an ingrate! It also would have been nice if the author had used other characters and dialogue more to help Quentin through these feelings, rather than forcing us to live inside his miserable head for 400+ pages.

There is oh so much more I could write about my disdain for this book, but I will leave it at this for now. Overall, I would say that the author had a great concept and took a lot of risks in his writing, but chose the wrong audience to write for.


message 6: by Devin (new)

Devin Waddell Babcock | 115 comments Mod
Can anyone imagine how differently this novel could have been had Alice been the main character?


message 7: by Heather (new)

Heather | 8 comments Devin wrote: "Can anyone imagine how differently this novel could have been had Alice been the main character?"

At the end of the book, I was thinking the same thing!! I found her character much more interesting and relatable than Quentin. She was strong, determined, capable, had experienced true loss in her life, and was learning to overcome it. Sure, she still had the typical teenage ennui like Quentin did, especially when it came to her parents. But that just meant she had flaws. Quentin's ennui took up his entire character sometimes, which just made him annoying to read. Her character was also much more dynamic, and seemed to have a stronger backstory than Quentin's. Alice constantly made me want to know more about her story. Quentin made me want to to stop reading altogether.


message 8: by Svetlana (last edited Nov 03, 2016 02:05PM) (new)

Svetlana Chyette | 3 comments I honestly hated this book. It had nothing to do with thr book persay, but it reminded me too much of books I read in my childhood. Narnia, time and time again came up as did eliments from His Dark Materials, and obvious homages to Harry Potter (which I did appreciate because it was intentional.)
As for the story, I enjoyed the part at school, specifically the technical aspects of how they used magic. This was lost in Harry Potter, because it was for young adults. I appreciated the school and also their intellectual game. (Wiggler or something I forget the name haha). But when they started traveling after leaving school, and it was an obvious repeat of the Magicians Nephew, I lost interest. Lev Grossman did a good job at making me hate Quentin. By the time he cheated on Alice I had it with him. I pushed through to say I finished it but it was a bore from then on for me. Did anyone else have this reaction?


message 9: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (geekgirl73) | 7 comments I couldn't stand Quentin, I would have enjoyed the book more if Alice had been the main character. I actually liked her. I found Quentin to be a character with very little substance.


message 10: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 7 comments I reeeeaaalllly did not care for this book either. I didn't care about any of the characters. The writing was so...casual. Like a random passerby was vaguely describing 5 years of someone's life. There was no world to immerse myself in. It was bland.
Also, I get that he wanted to give us a world of magic for adults, but reading about young adults sitting around drinking wine all day and having mute orgies....oh my gosh. Seriously? Just throw in sex and alcohol and now it's more suitable for adults?
I actually read this back in August and I'm STILL irked by how dreadful this book was.


message 11: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 1 comments I'm really glad so many people have had the same reaction to this book that I did when I read it several years ago on vacation. I kept waiting for something to happen, for Quentin to finally be satisfied by something but nothing was ever good enough for him. I always feel bad because back when I worked at Borders this was a featured book and I convinced so many people to buy it off the tag line that its like Harry Potter. When I finally read it myself I was so mad and wished I could go back and apologize to every person I pushed it on.


message 12: by Melinda (new)

Melinda | 21 comments Has anyone read the next book in this series? I requested the second book just after I started the first one. I'm about halfway through book one and I don't hate it, but I definitely don't love it. How does the second book compare?


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