By Lev Grossman
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670020553, 416pp.)
Publication Date: August 11, 2009
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A thrilling and original coming-of- age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
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.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren't black and white, love and sex aren't simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
LEV GROSSMAN is a senior writer and book critic for Time magazine and author of the international bestselling novel Codex. He is also the creator of the Time blog Nerd World. Grossman holds degrees in comparative literature from Harvard and Yale. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
At first glance, Lev Grossman's new novel looks very much like a Harry Potter story — with older characters and an American setting. But a heap of moral ambiguity surrounds the use of magic and there is no villain, giving the tale many shades of gray. More at NPR.org
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"Fantasy fans can't afford to miss the darkly comic and unforgettably queasy experience of reading this book-and be glad for reality."
-Booklist (Starred Review)
"This is a book for grown-up fans of children's fantasy and would appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided-fantasy for grown- ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed."
"... provocative, unput-downable ... one of the best fantasies I've read in ages."
-Fantasy & Science Fiction
"The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea."
-George R.R. Martin, bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
"Stirring, complex, adventurous ... from the life of Quentin Coldwater, his slacker Park Slope Harry Potter, Lev Grossman delivers superb coming of age fantasy."
-Junot Diaz, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
"The Magicians ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a fantasy series, or wished they went to a school for wizards."
-Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen
"The Magicians is a spellbinding, fast-moving, dark fantasy book for grownups that feels like an instant classic."
-Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award winning author of The Great Man and The Epicure's Lament
"The Magicians is fantastic. It's strange, fanciful, extravagant, eccentric, and truly remarkable-a great story, masterfully told."
-Scott Smith, bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan
"Remember the last time you ran home to finish a book? This is it, folks. The Magicians is the most dazzling, erudite and thoughtful fantasy novel to date."
-Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook
"The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic ... It's like seeing the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter through a 3-D magnifying glass."
-Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty's Dragon
"Grossman clearly has read his POtter and much more. While this story invariably echoes a whole body of romantic coming-of-age tales, Grossman's American variation is fresh and compelling. Like a jazz musician, he riffs on Potter and Narnia, but makes it his own."
"Grossman skillfully moves us through four years of school and a postgraduate adventure, never letting the pace slacken...beguiling."
"An irresistible storytelling momentum makes The Magicians a great summer book, both thoughtful and enchanting."
"Sly and lyrical, [The Magicians] captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond."
"...no doubt that this book is inventive storytelling and Grossman is at the height of his powers."
"The Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. [It] breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know...and does what [some] claim books never really manage to do: 'get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better."