Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Reads: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

One night, hubby and I, the twinners and my MIL all headed to Indigo to do some browsing.  I tend to just take pictures of the books I want to get so I can buy them through Kobo when I get home.  I wasn't having much luck in my quest for new reads and then I suddenly stumbled on this one in the bargain rack.  I only read the first couple of lines on the cover description:

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he 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 craft of modern sorcery.

and then I snapped the picture :) As soon as we got home, I bought and downloaded the book.   After finishing Discovery of Witches, I needed something along the same vein and I thought I had found it.

This book took me a long time to read - not because it was particularly lengthy or because I lacked time - I just found it to be a slow slog.  The story was enough to draw me in, though the writing style seemed to vary between extremely simplistic and an attempt at high brow vocabulary.   Still - I enjoyed the story.

Imagine if Harry Potter went to college, discovered sex, booze and drugs and then travelled to Narnia and you might be getting close.  The authors influences are quite clear in the parallels he draws to both Lewis and Rowling.   There were several times when it felt like he may be copying those influences directly, but he always pulled me back with something original before it could become too entrenched in the familiar.  

I did find many passages to be quite awkward and many of the suspense and "shockers" ended up being rather anti-climactic.  Still - I enjoyed the story for what it was.   I didn't feel as though the magic was quite as thoroughly explored as it could be.  In that sense it was definitely more on the Narnia scale.  Grossman still wove a good story and I do look forward to reading the next book - The Magician King to see where he goes with this.

I'd say it's worth reading, if only to help quell a craving for fantasy.   It's not the best that's out there, but it's still very good.



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