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The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman

The Magicians: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Lev Grossman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,219503652 (3.45)1 / 417
Title:The Magicians: A Novel
Authors:Lev Grossman
Info:Plume (2009), Edition: 1, Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fantasy, modernist, dark

Work details

The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (2009)

  1. 171
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (middled, kraaivrouw, Euryale)
    Euryale: No magic, but I thought the tone and setting were otherwise very similar.
  2. 215
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Jannes)
    Jannes: The Magicians wolud not exist if it wasn't for the Narnia books, and is really a kind of loving deconstruction of Lewis' work. What could be better than giving the books that inspired it a try?
  3. 121
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (catfantastic)
    catfantastic: Read the short story "The Problem of Susan" included in this collection.
  4. 157
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Magic is real in a world we recognize--Napoleonic England and contemporary New York.
  5. 147
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (sonyagreen)
    sonyagreen: It's like HP goes to college, complete with drinking and sex.
  6. 40
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones (Anonymous user)
  7. 20
    Shadowland by Peter Straub (Scottneumann)
  8. 20
    The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (TFleet)
    TFleet: Both novels are centered in the modern real world, but with a set of young adults who have magical powers. The novels are different takes on the question, "What would the modern real world be like if there were magic?"
  9. 31
    The Book of Lost Things: A Novel by John Connolly (rnmcusic)
  10. 20
    Little, Big by John Crowley (rarm)
    rarm: Fairy tale worlds that reveal a hidden darkness.
  11. 20
    The Once and Future King by T. H. White (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: I thought of making this recommendation when reading the magical education section of The Magicians, which reminded me of the first book of The Once and Future King. But the wider idea - that magical powers can't stop us from making stupid human mistakes - is also relevant to both books.… (more)
  12. 75
    Harry Potter Box Set (Books 1-7) by J. K. Rowling (elleeldritch)
    elleeldritch: An adult version of Harry Potter (and Narnia), albeit with a different (but still interesting) magic scheme.
  13. 65
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (kaledrina)
    kaledrina: Older YAs and above. Really for late teens and adults. Potter meets Narnia meet sex drugs and rock n roll.
  14. 21
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (lobotomy42)
    lobotomy42: Similar combination of a genre setting, an unlikeable protagonist, and an inward-looking plot.
  15. 10
    The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby by Palmer Brown (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Both describe the reflections of certain pools of water as windows onto other realities. The Silver Nutmeg, however, is much less dark and aimed at younger readers.
  16. 10
    Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill (Scottneumann)
  17. 10
    Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema (ShelfMonkey)
  18. 10
    The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits (BeckyJG)
  19. 10
    Phantastes by George MacDonald (charlie68)
    charlie68: Similar themes.
  20. 10
    The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish (charlie68)

(see all 31 recommendations)


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English (498)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (501)
Showing 1-5 of 498 (next | show all)
Not a bad read. But the SyFy series is much deeper and better. ( )
  dasam | Jul 25, 2017 |
This is one of those novels that I love despite all it's faults.

Most of the thing people complain about is true: yes, it's a bit on the long side, and the plot never really gets going until the last third or so; yes, its a bit crass and juvenile when it comes to the booze-ing, sex-ing and other purported "adult" subjects; and yes - it is somewhat derivative of that book.

None of this matters much to me.

Because what this book really is, or tries to be at least, is a deconstruction of our realtionship to fanatsy fiction and the escapism it provides. If you, like me, was once one of those kids that wanted to find a magical forrest in the back of the wardrobe so much it actually hurt, chances are this novel will hit you like a slap in the face. I identified with the protagonist in a way that I very rarely do nowadays, and I stayed with him through all the mucking about right until the end. For me, it worked.

I don't know if this is the Catcher in the Rye for the Harry Potter generation, but it comes pretty darn close.

It' seems to be a love it/hate it kind of book, and you'll probably know in which camp You'll belong after fifty pages or so, so you might as well give it a try. ( )
1 vote Jannes | Jul 21, 2017 |
This is just all over the place. Grossman couldn't decide what story he want to tell so he told everything that came to mind as it occurred to him. ( )
1 vote Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
Not a great story... ( )
  KenMcLain | Jul 18, 2017 |
I first read around page 164 and then dropped the book and I just couldn't get quite into it. I guess at the time I was too busy and I didn't have a lot of time to read, so I couldn't afford to read a book that I felt was going slow. Now that I picked it up again in summer, I'm so glad I finished it ! It definitely got much better, and I loved that ending ! I'm kind of reluctant to read the next books in the series, though. But I'm more likely to pick them up than not ! ( )
  Daan-Rook | Jul 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 498 (next | show all)
”Magikerna” marknadsförs som ”Harry Potter för vuxna”, men i själva verket är det en ovanligt vacker sorgesång över hur det är att lämna barndomen. Det var faktiskt bättre förr, när man kunde uppslukas helt av leken.
added by Jannes | editDagens nyheter, Lotta Olsson (Feb 4, 2013)
This isn't just an exercise in exploring what we love about fantasy and the lies we tell ourselves about it -- it's a shit-kicking, gripping, tightly plotted novel that makes you want to take the afternoon off work to finish it.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 20, 2009)
It’s the original magic — storytelling — that occasionally trips Grossman up. Though the plot turns new tricks by the chapter, the characters have a fixed, “Not Another Teen Movie” quality. There’s the punk, the aesthete, the party girl, the fat slacker, the soon-to-be-hot nerd, the shy, angry, yet inexplicably irresistible narrator. Believable characters form the foundation for flights of fantasy. Before Grossman can make us care about, say, the multiverse, we need to intuit more about Quentin’s interior universe.
Somewhat familiar, albeit entertaining... Grossman's writing is intelligent, but don't give this one to the kids—it's a dark tale that suggests our childhood fantasies are no fun after all.
added by Shortride | editPeople, Sue Corbett (Aug 31, 2009)
Grossman has written both an adult coming-of-age tale—rife with vivid scenes of sex, drugs, and heartbreak—and a whimsical yarn about forest creatures. The subjects aren’t mutually exclusive, and yet when stirred together so haphazardly, the effect is jarring. More damaging still is the plot, which takes about 150 pages to gain any steam, surges dramatically in the book’s final third, and then peters out with a couple chapters left to go.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Michael Shaer (Aug 14, 2009)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lev Grossmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

--William Shakespeare, The Tempest
For Lily
First words
Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.
That guy was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and crudely stapled to a ticking fucking time bomb. He was either going to hit somebody or start a blog.
Space was full of angry little particles.
He had no interest in TV anymore - it looked like an electronic puppet show to him, an artificial version of an imitation world that meant nothing to him anyway. Real life - or was it a fantasy life? whichever one Brakebills was - that was what mattered, and that was happening somewhere else.
No one would come right out and say it, but the worldwide magical ecology was suffering from a serious imbalance: too many magicians, not enough monsters.
"Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink," he said. "Though I guess that presupposes that there is a wine I wouldn't drink."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670020559, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: Mixing the magic of beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman's Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know--if the people you want to know are charismatic, brilliant, complex, flawed magicians--and does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: "get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. " Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Haboring secret preoccupations with a magical land he read about in a childhood fantasy series, Quentin Coldwater is unexpectedly admitted into an exclusive college of magic and rigorously educated in modern sorcery. Quentin Coldwater es un chico brillante pero desdichado que vive obsesionado con las novelas de fantasia que leyo en su infancia y que transcurrian en un pais magico llamado Fillory. Cual no sera su sorpresa cuando, inesperadamente, es admitido en una muy secreta y exclusiva Universidad de magia en Nueva York, donde recibira una rigurosa educacion sobre los arcanos de la moderna hechiceria y descubrira la amistad, el amor, el sexo, la bebida... y el aburrimiento. Porque a pesar de los increibles descubrimientos que ha hecho a lo largo de estos anos de universidad, siente que le falta algo. La magia no ha conseguido que Quentin encuentre la felicidad y las aventuras con que habia sonado. Pero tras graduarse, el y sus amigos haran un descubrimiento asombroso: Fillory es real, aunque no exactamente como imaginaron en sus suenos de infancia . . . Psicologicamente penetrante y extraordinariamente absorbente, Los magos transita por territorios inexplorados, imaginando la magia como una actividad practicada por personas de carne y hueso, con sus deseos, sus caprichos y sus volubles emociones. Lev Grossman ha creado un mundo sumamente original en el que el bien y el mal nunca son absolutos, el sexo y el amor no son simples ni inocentes y la ambicion por el poder tiene un precio terrible.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.45)
0.5 14
1 95
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2.5 60
3 549
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