Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Published 2009 Viking/Penguin Books

Synopsis: "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."

Review: I admit it. I didn't finish this book. I think I made it through about 30 pages before I shook my head, disgruntled, and abandoned trying to read this.

I actually went looking for this book at my local library, was excited to pick it up as I had researched into it. John Green, writer of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska actually commented on this book in a Vlogbrothers video, saying that if we enjoyed Harry Potter then this would be an interesting take on the magic school genre. Not that this book is any of John Green's fault but I had heard that this book has been called the "Harry Potter for adults." Well, everyone, I'm sorry to say, but whoever said that originally is a liar, liar pants on fire.

Harry Potter has this charming, quirky quality to it. From the get-go you're engaged with Harry's character, the strange things that happen to him and how he interacts with the world. I think the important thing is that in that first book, you really like Harry. He's humble and genuine - he has good intent.

The Magicians is meant for an older audience (16+, I would say) and no, it's not Harry Potter. I get that.  But if you're going to compare it to that; don't. Even if it's to make a crude comparison. I would have been happy with it just being categorized in the likes of "magic school kind of story."

I feel like Quentin is a poor protagonist. I feel like the writer was trying too hard to make him out to be a horny teenager. In the pages I did read, he whined about how a girl didn't like him and tried to not look down the blouses of two other female characters. Was it necessary to mention it multiple times? Probably not. I get it. He's a young and filled with hormones and I really don't care. I can barely stand people whine about how they can't get the girl/guy in real life, let alone in the beginning of my novel when I'm trying to just get to know the character.

Also, something I really dislike is when writers make "genius" characters and make them extremely pretentious. I also especially questions the logitics of Quentin's characters when he's writing an exam and claims that the stuff happening on his paper was "hi-tech paper" and that it was "hi-res." Hey, genius, have you... I dunno, questioned your whereabouts and what's happening around you or anything? Oh right, you didn't because you're still pretentious.

Does this book get any better? I don't know, and I don't care to find out. Maybe it does get better, maybe the character develops into something more likeable... maybe this read wasn't for me.

Rating: 1/5 Bookworms 

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