Saturday, April 3, 2010

Book Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

When I saw The Magicians on the shelf at Borders a few months ago, I was drawn to the mysterious gray, gold, and green tones on the cover. We've all heard about judging books by their covers, but after reading the reviews on the back cover that indicated that this story pays homage to the works of J.K. Rowling, and C.S. Lewis my initial attraction was justified. Imagine Harry Potter's mental state in book 5, lost, alone, and persecuted. Imagine that that Harry goes to a magical university in upstate New York, meets equally misguided young magicians, and grapples with his place in the world, both magical and not. Harry Potter this book is not--the tone is much darker and the author's voice mirrors that of the young pro(ant?)agonists.
Grossman explores the value of relationships, growth, and forgiveness by following the development of Quentin, our main character, and his fellow magical prodigy Eve. However, Quentin's personal quest for happiness and self-fulfillment overcomes their relationship. I could see the archetypal highly intelligent yet selfish 20-something who doesn't know what he wants in Quentin.
In a nutshell, this story is Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia meets Reality Bites. Although my omnipresent desire for a picture perfect ending wasn't fulfilled, I would still highly recommend The Magicians to anyone who has ever gotten lost in a fantasy story or felt lost in the real world.

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