Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He's a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he's still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.
Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.
Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.
I had high hopes for this book. I heard many referencing it as the "grown up Harry Potter". I thought I couldn't go wrong as a grown up and huge HP fan. Then, a friend of mine loved it and I knew I had to read it.
I was intrigued in the first 5 pages. Then, it got to page 6 and the explanation of Fillory, an imaginary world brought to life in a series of books, and it's blatantly obvious similarities to Narnia. I mean, Grossman changed very little of the details instead of a wardrobe it's a clock, instead of Aslan it's Ember and Umber, etc. At that point, I was annoyed. I knew of these details before reading the books so I thought I would be okay with them, but I wasn't.
Throughout the first "book" Grossman sucked me in. He laid out this whole alternate reality and helped me understand the workings. There were many interesting characters introduced and things were good, though a little rushed. I enjoyed it for the most part. Then the characters left the magic school and I didn't care anymore. I only cared about one character, and it wasn't the main character. None of them showed any growth at all. Quentin, the main character, was so depressing and negative. I wanted to jump in the book and shake him until he quit his moping. I understand, in the end, it was a big part of the story. It was kind of the moral but I couldn't take it.
Then there was 'Book 3'. This part got me interested again. I wanted to see what would happen next and what they would find. I wasn't really disappointed with this part of the book. I felt it was rushed but there was at least some excitement to it.
Book 4 lost me with it's self-loathing and negativity, again. Plus, scattered throughout the whole thing were random sentences that I found unnecessary. It was like Grossman was really trying to reach out to younger readers with completely juvenile observations.
I did enjoy the humor in the book. The fun references to HP and The Lord of the Rings was fun. When it wasn't ripping off Narnia, it was inventive. It was, most definitely, a grown up magic book. There is sex and swearing. It wasn't a terrible book and I know quite a few people will even enjoy it much more than I did. I didn't hate it. I really, really didn't love it either.
3 out of 5 stars.
BUY IT HERE: The Magicians: A Novel