When I first learnt about this book, I wasn’t sure what to think about it. From what I hear about other sites I’ve been to it’s more of an adult Harry Potter mixed with Narnia. So why not give it a try. Be advised though, try NOT TO compare this book with any of the series like Harry Potter and Narnia because although there are some similarities, it would honestly skew your vision and outlook on this book. So, just keep an open mind should you choose to read this.
The Magicians focuses on young man named Quentin who’s a big fan of The Fillory novels by a Christopher Plover. Following a piece of paper which flew away from his hand one day, he finds somehow he walked into a magical enchanted area where it belongs to Brakebills Magical College for Magical Pedagogy. Think of it as Hogwarts but a college not a “high school”. From there, Quentin learns how to use magic, and studies it. He makes new friends, has the usual drama with them, and eventually after graduating from the college he throws himself into “real life” but with magic used to his advantage. Living with a bunch of friends, it seems like the great idyllic life. By a sudden discovery, they find the land of Fillory, the magical land Quentin and his friends have been reading about since they were young, does actually exist. They decide to go, but find the journey not what they expect.
It pays homage to the Harry Potter and Narnia novels, and it has similarities but that’s where it stops. It’s a coming of age novel which features Quentin and his friends he meets at Brakebills. It’s definitely a more serious novel and delves deeper into emotions and it’s more dark and definitely not a kid’s book! there’s action and drama, romance too, but there’s some twists and turns that make the book more darker and includes more “dangerous” themes which makes the book catered towards adults.
I liked the book. It certainly did grab my curiosity when I first heard about it and as I read further into it, I had to try and not put Harry Potter and Narnia comparisons, or it’ll ruin my enjoyment of this book – which I’m glad I managed to fight off. I thought it was pretty well executed and very well thought out especially with trying to juggle the Fillory part into this story and having to put it as once a fictional world that Quentin had been reading since he was a boy into a full fledged real-life fantasy world and also adding a fantasy epic plot into it as well, while also juggling the plot happening on real Earth. However, it went smooth and it did not leave me, as a reader, confused. There’s even a helpful map on the inside of the book which is an added bonus. The plot was great, as it followed Quentin from his beginning years in the college, to his graduation, to his real life entrance into the world, and to his adventures in Fillory and afterwards. It’s a great chronological way of running the story.
I have to admit, this is one of the few books I liked, but where I also had an intense dislike for the main character. I actually did not like Quentin at all. He’s such a whiner! and he’s made out to be such an “emo” I had to roll his eyes while he whined about how unhappy he was, and it was as if NOTHING could absolutely make him content not even for a full fledged chapter. Even as I finished the book, I still found that I did not like him. He just wasn’t that great, he was the main character, yes, and you saw the story through his eyes but he wasn’t really what you might think as a main character would be (not your stereotypical character in fantasy novels I suppose). I found myself drawn to Eliot more, only because of his charm and although at first I wasn’t that impressed with Alice, she earned a lot of respect from me towards the end of the novel. She certainly was a realist and was the main anchor and stability to the group of friends. Character development was great. They were all well rounded and developed as they grew older (except Quentin, who eventually matures much much later in the book).
So the only thing I disliked about the novel was Quentin and his whiny personality. Even the part with his rocky romance with Alice aggravated me. He is definitely not boyfriend material to me. (More like sledgehammer bashing material). As to the ending, I am now curious and intrigued. Is there going to be a sequel, because if there is, count me in. I’m definitely going to read it! there were some questions I found myself asking. Especially when I reached the ending.
Overall, it’s a great book when you’re in the mood for something serious, but something with fantasy as well. Be forewarned, it’s not a happy go lucky epic quest, it’s quite dark and serious. Nevertheless it was a great dramatic coming of age read that will leave you asking for more.
I give it an 8 out of 10.