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No title (2009)

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5,650469755 (3.45)1 / 399

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The Magicians 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. 195
    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. 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.
  5. 147
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Magic is real in a world we recognize--Napoleonic England and contemporary New York.
  6. 40
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume I by Diana Wynne Jones (Anonymous user)
  7. 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.
  8. 20
    Shadowland by Peter Straub (Scottneumann)
  9. 20
    Little, Big by John Crowley (rarm)
    rarm: Fairy tale worlds that reveal a hidden darkness.
  10. 31
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (rnmcusic)
  11. 10
    Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema (ShelfMonkey)
  12. 10
    The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits (BeckyJG)
  13. 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.
  14. 65
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) 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.
  15. 10
    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?"
  16. 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.
  17. 10
    The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (Jess1106)
  18. 10
    Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill (Scottneumann)
  19. 00
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both books deal with a fictional fantasy series that holds a lot of significance to the story.
  20. 00
    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)

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English (462)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (464)
Showing 1-5 of 462 (next | show all)
I remember reading some essays of Lev Grossman's online and being a little enchanted with his writing. I've been meaning to pick up this series for about forever, but somehow never got around to it. Then daughter and I watched the Syfy series of The Magicians and rather liked it - sulky nerdy Quentin, shy stuck-up Alice, damaged and wild-eyed Julia, belligerent Penny and the fabulous pair of Margo and Elliot. So I thought I'd finally read the book, although I was aware the plot was wildly different.

So, I read the book. And I'm non-plussed, because I really liked the TV series much, much better.

Quentin here is not just sulky and nerdy, he's flat out whiny and self-absorbed to a ridiculous degree, and so so jaded. Alice is cripplingly shy, but has no edge to her. Penny practically isn't in the book (boo! TV Penny is great) and Julia even less so, and really only Elliot and Margo I mean Janet approach the same level of characterisation. And this is absolutely not me complaining about the fact they're different--I'm one of those weirdos who loves the LOTR books and the LOTR movies, but rather complaining about the fact they are all mostly as unlikeable as hell and when someone dies in the book, I simply don't care.

On the bright side, Grossman is a very engaging writer as always, and that is really the only thing that kept me reading. And I get it, I've read his explanations, that they're unlikeable, to a point, on purpose. It just didn't work for me. I didn't hate the book, and I'll read the other two, I'm certainly not regretting the time spent (and in fact, I found this a fast and easy read, because again, as mentioned, Grossman is a good writer.)

So pros: Excellent writing, great worldbuilding.
Cons: I just didn't give a flying fig what happened to the characters. ( )
  krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
Needs more magic / fake Narnia and less Holden Caulfield lite.

Warning for too much casual objectification of women a weird amount of describing other people as acting autistically.

I'll probably read book two though as I'm told it's more about Julia, but I'm only invested in her because of the tv version. Maybe just watch this on tv. ( )
  youkosiren | Aug 22, 2016 |
Two stars only because the writing in itself was decent, if not mind-blowing.

What. A. Fucking. Mess.

Really, that was pretty awful. Quentin is horrendous. Alice is a non-character and has a complete personality reversal about midway through the book. Eliot is... what the fuck is Eliot supposed to be? This author vacillates between ripping off plot ideas from other books (for the first 200 pages I could buy that it was more of a pastiche or a sort of loving nod, but it quickly veered into total running-out-of-ideas-so-I'll-borrow-some territory) and just skipping large periods of time because he's not sure what to do. The plot was just plain ridiculous, boring, and non-existent and I'm not even sure how that's possible. And don't even get me STARTED on the characterisation. These people seem to exist for the purposes of the (non-)plot and have no real qualities inherent to themselves. Apart from Alice, until the Fillory incident. SIGH. The first 200 pages were easily worth 3.5 stars, maybe even four and then it all falls apart so spectacularly that I almost ended up hating it completely. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
This is like a Harry Potter Novel. Except the plot is boring. And the characters are not interesting. Got over halfway through, but finally couldn't waste my time any longer. ( )
  JGoto | Jul 31, 2016 |
Ok, I never write reviews. NEVER. Ok, I shouldn't say never. I rarely write reviews but this one, due to the insistence of a fellow just-as-disgruntled reader, I am writing a review.

WHAT THE EFF? There are very few books I've found painful to read ever since I learned to read at the tender age of I can't remember. One that comes to mind that I attempted to read was some translation of a Swedish best seller. I could not get past the second chapter.

But I digress.

I trudged through this book. I trudged and trudged and trudged. The never ending trudging to get to GD Fillory. Well, we got there. Didn't we? And it only took 7/8ths of the book to get there. The most interesting part of the book was the last 8th of the book. And the rest of the book?

Broody Quentin. Moody Quentin. Booby Quentin. Too bad he wasn't Foodie Quentin because that would have added a little more depth to his character. And the rest of the characters? I like Eliot. The end. The rest were annoying and stereotyped.

And normally with series books, I read the whole series. I will willingly trudge through an entire series even when with each book, the series is dying a slow death - the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon comes to mind. I WILL FINISH THE ENTIRE SERIES UNTIL DIANA IS DONE. But no Lev Grossman, I will not finish your series. I was disappointed by your main character, I was disappointed by your ability to get NO point fast enough, and I was disappointed with the Fillory quest and Fillory in general after QUENTIN and PENNY hyped it up so much. THANKS A LOT QUENTIN AND PENNY AND JANET AND ALICE AND not JOSH. Eliot is ok.

Sorry for the rant, Lev Grossman. I will read another book by you but not this series. ( )
1 vote Prashna | Jul 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 462 (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 editionsconfirmed
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)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.45)
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1 83
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