The Magicians

The Magicians

A Novel

Book - 2009
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As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Publisher: New York : Viking, Plume, 2009
ISBN: 9780670020553
0670020559
9780452296299
0452296293
9780399576645
0399576649
Characteristics: 402 p. ; 25 cm
Call Number: GROSSMAN, L

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Opinion

From Library Staff

Quinn is obsessed with a fantasy childhood book series, wishing magic was real. When he finds out it is, he realizes that a world with magic can be as ordinary as a world without it.


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schmegu_at_hcplc
Dec 10, 2018

If you loved the television show "The Magicians" on Syfy, this is the book that inspired it. It is VERY different in many ways, but it is just as amazing of a story as the show. Definitely worth the read, and hands down just as hilarious and dark as the show.

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mebacher
Dec 08, 2018

Highly recommend this book if you like your fantasy worlds dark, gritty, and messy. The characters are flawed and not always likable, but more realistic as a result. There were moments that made me laugh and moments that shocked me. This book will get multiple reads from me.

Parents, this is one to read yourself first before your teen gets a hold of it; there are a lot of dark themes and emotional maturity is a must. That being said, my teen read it, and immediately thereafter the whole series, and he loved it. We have had several deep conversations about the books.

Young college-aged students from New York are selected to attend a magical academy of learning. After graduation, they find themselves in a post-grad rut and somewhat jaded. This all changes when a friend from school discovers a way into a land that was once thought to be fiction, based on the childhood storybooks of their youth. This book is a good read for people who enjoyed the Harry Potter series, as well as the Chronicles of Narnia, but with more edge. The characters are flawed, there is a darker, gritty, more cynical feel to the story, and the characters themselves are put into adult situations, none of which you would find in a kid-friendly story like Harry Potter and Narnia. Recommended for 17+ readers. (submitted by EM)

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laurenn812
Oct 26, 2018

If you can imagine a horny Harry Potter who is absolutely obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia, congratulations, you've just read this entire book

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MustInvolveEggs
Sep 24, 2018

Quentin Coldwater is that guy drinking his fifteen-dollar Icelandic black coffee out of a chipped mason jar while he writes a twelve-page poem about how cheating on his girlfriend made him sad. I give it six months until there's a mass exodus out of Fillory to get away from Quentin stealing everyone's weed and asking them if they've read Kafka yet. Alice deserved better.

WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

The first book in one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, Grossman’s tale is a delightfully dark spin on a world in which magic is real---a mash-up of Narnia and Harry Potter but decidedly for adults. Complex characters, a fast-paced plot, a gritty writing style, and a story both bleak and dazzling all make this an easy book to recommend.

It's also been adapted to the screen as a TV show on SyFy---a fun way to re-experience the books and see a magical world come to life.

d
DPLbrian
May 05, 2018

As my sister bought me this book I had little prior knowledge to the story before jumping in. It started out alright, much the same as other YA novels do with a discontented protagonist pining after a girl he couldn't have. I thought the book would focus on that relationship and Quentin getting over his myriad of other problems. But oh was I wrong. From the moment Quentin stepped foot in Brakebills I was in love.

Hogwarts had never looked so edgy. All the areas of magic JKR had ignored to make her books more appropriate to a younger audience were brought out in full force in The Magicians. After so many years in the muggle world I was brought back into a school of magic. But magic in Brakebills isn't the frivolous wand waving we see in Hogwarts. It's hard work. Every Brakebills student is a veritable genius, which is very much a pre-requisite for learning magic. Harry Potter magic is to Magicians magic as buying a loaf of bread is to making it. In Harry Potter you recite the incantation, wave the wand, focus a bit, and voila. You have your perfectly portioned baguette. In the Magicians you need a nigh encyclopedic knowledge of bread before you even get started. What type of flour will you use? How long do you need to let it rise? What temperature do you bake it at? For how long? Is it dawn or dusk? What stage is the moon in? Every little details matters.

As our main character Quentin soon finds out, magic is work. Hard work. Perhaps much more than he was prepared for. Quentin is depressed. It's in his nature. Much of the story focuses on how Quentin, who seems to be getting everything he ever wanted, is never quite satisfied. He learns that he may not even be the hero of his own story. Having Quentin be so flawed, is one of the main reasons I love the story. It's so refreshing to have a realistic and fallible main character.

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alexisbosse33
Jan 11, 2018

This was quite disappointing. It started interesting, Harry Potter meets Narnia novel for adults. Then the author adds in numerous unnecessary sex scenes, and really dislike-able characters.
Personally, if I hate a character enough it ruins the book/show for me.. and in this book all the characters become awful.

KevinELPL Aug 10, 2017

This is one of my favorite books ever! The Magicians is often called a grown up Harry Potter, and that's partially true - it is literally a mash-up of Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. However, the characters in The Magicians are not the heroes of those other series - they're more like real high school and college students you might now, with all of a real person's flaws and foibles.

That, in essence, is my favorite thing about this series. The characters in this series sometimes choose to do the right thing, and sometimes they choose the wrong thing, but they always face real-world consequences for their actions. This makes the characters more complicated and nuanced than many/most other fantasy series. It also makes the novels more character-driven rather than plot-driven.

Although the world in this series is a mash-up of Harry Potter and Narnia, the author has put his own unique spin on it. I find the setting to be amazingly detailed - and most importantly, full of magic.

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mpot
Jun 12, 2017

I checked this book out after I watched the series on television. So Quentins a cutie on the tube, and I could visualize him in the book. The tv series quickly degenerated into a flee-and-put-out-fires adventure series with sex aplenty. Ewww, a plot, please? I quit watching.
BUT the book fulfilled my desire for a meaty plot. It felt very genuine that after graduating Brakebills, what next? The ennui, hitting bottom, then at the last, perhaps a chance for redemption. I am looking forward to the 2nd book in the series.

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Runner4ever
Jul 21, 2017

Runner4ever thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Yamallamah98
Jun 15, 2017

Yamallamah98 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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michellekwruck
Mar 02, 2017

michellekwruck thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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WeirdCammy
Jan 20, 2016

WeirdCammy thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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beckylunatic
Apr 06, 2011

The truth doesn't always make a good story, does it? But I think I tied up most of the loose threads. I'm sure you can fill in the rest, if you really think about it.

a
andreareads
Dec 20, 2010

Nobody wanted to admit they were frightened, so they took the only other option, which was to be irritable instead.

n
ndp21f
Aug 12, 2010

He wasn’t sure they were friends, exactly, but she was unfolding a little. He felt like a safecracker who—partly by luck—had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.

Summary

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michellekwruck
Mar 02, 2017

The main character is a self-loathing teen who hasn't been able to let go of his childhood obsession with a series of fantasy novels about a magical world called Fillory. What a surprise when he discovers first that magic is real, and then that Fillory is too. Unfortunately, for him, neither prove to be all that he'd dreamed they were as a child. While there is a clear and strong plot throughout the book, the novel seems to be mostly about the main character's struggle with his own unhappiness. Magic doesn't do it. A new girlfriend doesn't do it. Entering Fillory doesn't do it. In many ways it's a psychological journey more than a fantasy journey. Be prepared for a level of self-pity and self-loathing that will have you rolling your eyes and hoping this kid will grow up.

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