The Magicians by Lev Grossman is the story of Quentin Coldwater and his group of ragtag friends who complete five rather uneventful years at Brakebill’s Academy only to find themselves in the magician’s equivalent of a muggle discovering Hogwarts…Fillory. Fillory is the magical setting of the (what they thought was)-fictitious Fillory and Further children’s book series about the Chatwick siblings and their explorations of Fillory and their quests to become the kings and queens of the land. Quentin had always dreamed of visiting Fillory, and one day he and his magician friends were given just that opportunity. But it is not as beautiful or lovely as suspected. Dark secrets and evil monsters hide behind corners, and the magicians must use everything they have to reign victorious.
“I got my heart’s desire, he thought, and there my troubles began.”
But most of the book isn’t about that. No, only the last third is about Fillory and the (not so pleasant) dventures that take place there. The first 2/3 of the book is about Quentin, Brakebill’s, and his growing relationships with the other characters. I actually quite enjoyed those parts. It was when they traversed into Fillory that I got bored. I know, I know…right when the action began. I just did not find it fun or exciting. In fact, I found myself not caring at all if they survived. I just wanted the book to end!
There were too many overt references to the Harry Potter books. And those that were not obviously written in homage to Rowling’s masterfully created world seemed to me to be rip-offs. I wanted to scream, “You copied that! Make up your own stuff, Grossman!” Perhaps I should watch an interview where he discusses the similarities to HP, because otherwise I’m just going to continue to see him as an uncreative fraud.
But every book has redeeming qualities (yes, even Twilight. Can you say “Emmett”?) And some of those lines are here:
“it’s like he’s opening the covers of a book, but a book that did what books always promised to do and never actually quite did: get you out, really out, of where you were and into something better.”
“to live out childhood fantasies as a grown-up was to court and wed and bed disaster.”