The Magicians

The Magicians

eBook - 2009
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The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.
Publisher: New York : Penguin USA, 2009.
ISBN: 9781101082287
Characteristics: 1 computer file (415 KB) :,digital, EPUB file.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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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.

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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.

a
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.

DBRL_KatieL Apr 28, 2017

I did not enjoy this book. The idea behind it is sound, but the writing and the characters ruined it for me. The main character was constantly seeking something or someone to make him happy, and never seemed to realize if he wanted to be happy he had to do something about it himself, and stop relying on others to make his life worth living.
Part of the writing style I didn't enjoy was the pacing. There are multiple sections in this book, each of which takes place in a different location and is for a different span of time. There would be major events over the course of a chapter or two, that would then left behind, seemingly to have had little impact on the characters beyond that chapter (maybe one more), but no long term significance.
I also had problems with how the world Grossman created operated. Apparently if you learn magic you never have to work for anything ever again, so adults fill their time with meaningless hobbies and lose themselves in fantasy lives-which leads readers to believe they are able to create buildings out of thin air, and somehow pay for everything by creating money. Also at the school the students have to study constantly to learn everything, and be able to preform, however after once the main character is classified into his specialty (which isn't really his specialty but that topics is also left untouched after one chapter) he and his friends have all the time in the world to get drunk, play their wizard games, and lay around in their club house. What happened to the urgency that they wouldn't be able to pass exams?

I grew so frustrated with this book after the halfway point I had to make myself read more than a few pages at a time. I kept thinking "It will get better" but but it never did. It just got more absurd. Finally I didn't want to know what happened next, or how the book ended-I didn't care.

j
jackieparker
Apr 17, 2017

There are elements of this that I truly enjoyed, and the tension and timing in some of the climatic moments were quite well done. However. Pacing throughout was quite uneven, and sections dragged considerably with no advancement of plot or character. The author also seemed to make occasional odd and archaic word choices (surcease? just cease would be adequate) which were more in the vein of "look at my big vocabulary" than in choosing the best word. Obviously, the pitch here was something along the lines of, "What if Hogwarts was college, only more esoteric, and then they discover Narnia is real? And there will be sex and booze and drugs and aimless 20-somethings making bad choices for no real reason except that adulting when you're super-powered is hard?"

I'm not sure I'll read the rest of the trilogy - or even give the tv show a try.

i
isaachar
Mar 01, 2017

The first book in this series can be advertised as a "grown up" version of Harry Potter with a bit of Chronicles of Narnia mixed in. That is mostly accurate regarding the setting, but the story is about a group of young people dealing with the stresses of higher education (albeit a magical higher education), adulthood after college, substance abuse and clinical depression.

The main character is not likable in any way, but if read in the context of his condition he's understandable. The same goes for most of the other characters. Each are flawed in a different, but blatant way. Still, the overall story and the background of "Magic and Magical creatures in the real world and beyond" make the book really enjoyable.

k
kwsmith
Jan 28, 2017

For the first few hundred pages I thought this was going to be one of the best modern fantasy novels that I've ever read. Sadly, Grossman gets a bit lost in his own writing towards the end. Still this novel remains well worth reading, especially if you enjoy dark fantasy.

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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.

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andreareads
Dec 20, 2010

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

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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.

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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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