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The Magicians

by Lev Grossman


Is the book The Magicians a copycat of Harry Potter and other novels of that ilk?  My definitive answer is both "yes" and "no".  Think Harry Potter but throw into the mix sex and drugs.  Think The Chronicles of Narnia but with the children all grown into college age young adults.  Shocking? Yes, sort of.  Interesting to read? Definitely!

The real world of Quentin Coldwater is so boring and uninspiring that he spends all the time he can reading fantasy novels about a magical place called Fillory.  As much as Quentin enjoys reading about magic, he is levelheaded enough to know it isn't real.  At least this is what he believes until his life changes drastically and he finds himself at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy.  Quentin is delighted with the magic spells he learns, but even more delighted with the thrills of sex, drugs and alcohol.

The Magicians takes the reader through Quentin's school life, his friendships and his plans—or lack of plans—for life after college.  The young and all too human graduates find that they struggle with many of the same questions about existence as do non-magic-practicing people of their age.

Yet suddenly everything takes an unexpected twist and Quentin and his friends discover the all too real Fillory, and it is nothing like Quentin's childhood fantasy escape.

This novel is darker than Harry Potter, wittier than it seems at first, and although it does hearken back to The Chronicles of Narnia also, the Potter influence seems stronger.  There is a lot going on in this book and it is well worth the time, and, yes, effort to read it.  I recommend it to fans of Harry Potter because they already love the genre, and I recommend it to non-Potter fans as well because this is the more grown up version of the darker world of magic, but I do not think youngsters should read it.  Grown-ups only.  Enjoy!

The Book

Viking / Penguin Group
August 11, 2009
Psychological Fiction / Magic
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The Reviewer

Laura Hinds
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Laura Hinds is an experienced freelance writer whose first novel, "Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?", just came out in 2009.
© 2009