Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

image from LibraryThing
I am still not completely sure how I liked this book.  It was hailed as a great alternative to Harry Potter.  I am not so sure I would agree with that description.  I think it is more a bored teenagers' bored view of magic and the disillusionment that can come when you get what you wished for.  Now - that doesn't sound very Harry Potterish.

Plus I feel truly sorry for any book compared with Harry - it just isn't going to measure up in my reading world.  Harry was for all ages - The Magicians seems mostly for out of sorts teens.

Even though I was not in love with the book I could not stop reading it. I wanted to know what happened in Fillory, what happened at Brakebills, what happened to Quentin.

So the basic story is a hidden magical school in upstate NY.  Quentin, a very anti-social, anti-excitement, anti-everything sort of teen gets in to his shock and hidden awe.

The book chronicles his life in Brakebills, his love for Alice and his ongoing escape into the fictional world of Fillory.  So - Fillory is a book that he loved as a kid and keeps returning to as if that is the seat of all magic. Every magical moment seems to be compared and found lacking to Fillory.

So I thought his schooling would build to a big ah ha moment - but it built to a creepy secret graduation ceremony that included personalized demons and secret codes from the head of the school.  And the book continued.

So - what does a graduated magician do in the real world - absolutely anything they want and you can imagine the problems that causes.

Then there is a quest - sort of  - and a horrible battle - way gruesome - there are deaths and there are survivors.

But - this book lacked the undertone of good vs. evil.  This was just magic for magic sake and the questions that Quentin and his friends bantied around were the meaninglessness of magic in a world where there was no need.  I found it all rather depressing and anti fun.  That is what magic brought in other stories - fun.  I know there is often a down side - but there was joy and positive energy.  That does not exist for the Magicians.

The end was a bit of a shock to my system.  Not what I expected.  But - it did make me want to pick of the next book and start reading.  So even though this was not my favorite - I have hope for Quentin!!