The Magicians by Lev Grossman | Book Review

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Have you ever started a book expecting to love it and then the worse it gets the more you try to convince yourself you don’t actually hate it? This goes on until one day you look to your left and your right and see pyramids. Why do you see pyramids? Because you’re in Da Nile. In fact your denial was so bad when you finished and voiced your hatred of the book, your partner was surprised because you were talking about liking it.
That’s how I felt about The Magicians by Lev Grossman. A more adult Harry Potter? Come on! That shit is right up my alley! That has Bookgasm written all over it. The book would look like I got whiteout on the pages! But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Here’s my review:

So let’s get the premise out of the way, shall we? Quentin Coldwater is a bitch young man who hates everything. Life is just one big bore. He’s also really smart. One day he stumbles upon a magic school that just so happens to be taking applicants so get takes the test and yay! He passes. He can use magic and he’s now going to go to the US’s only magic school. But what he finds out about the world of magic isn’t everything books made it out to be.
Can you see where the comparisons to Harry Potter come from? Well, that’s about all they have in common except for one or two small things. Harry Potter is a true joy to read. I’ve even begun rereading these books as an adult and I still love them. But The Magicians lacked any real magic.
The plot of the book was almost non-existant. Half of this tale takes place and Brakebills University and the major plot for that arch of the story is, well, just go to school and pass your classes. With Harry Potter we spent seven books going to school with the Hogwarts students but in The Magicians we spend half the book (about 200 pages or 8 hours of audio) covering five years of school the Quentin and Alice (a friend he makes at school) are sent off into the real world and that’s when the fun starts!…. No. Not really. The next quarter of the book an attempt at slice of life for Quentin, Alice, and their other friends from school, but each and every character is such a piece of human shit that it’s more boring than Billie Eilish singing an hymn (Which is to say, mind numblingly boring).
Oh God. Should we talk about the characters? Fine. Quentin is a horrible main character. He has no real personality and the choices he makes are so frustratingly bad that if he died halfway through, the book would have been better for it. All of his friends except Alice are just as bad and the worst of it all is, they take time away from Alice who’s the Hermionie character but more adult.
When the big part of the story finally gets going, the book is almost over and its rushed so fast that I felt that Lev Grossman had run out of time and his project for beginners creative writing wasn’t finished yet. I’m sorry, that’s not a fair comparison. When I was taking beginners creative writing years ago I read a lot of much better work than The Magicians.
I’m not sure if I can fully express in words how bad the story is. Grossman spends half the book building up shitty characters and then gives them very little time to do anything interesting.
And another thing. This books is told from Quentin’s point of view and when you’re writing a book in first person, and your main character is a piece of shit, then you better have one hell of a story to tell to make your insufferable character worth it. But Lev Grossman dropped the ball so much you’d think he was bowling with greased up his hands.
The Magicians is a horrible book that’s not worth anyone’s time. I thought I’d give the TV show a try but just looking at the actor who plays Quentin makes me want to track him down and punch him in the face. If you actually like this book I’m really curious to see what you like about it. Do stories about wastes of space doing nothing for four hundred pages interest you?
I don’t recommend this book to anyone. Ever.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman gets a 1 out of 11
I mean, come on. Look at this bitch.

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