I read this book back when I first started my blog, and I’ve been considering doing a review ever since then. This book is so… dense (?) that I was not sure if I could, even remotely, objectively review it. The Magicians focuses on Quentin, a brilliant high schooler who is pretty dissatisfied with life — he likes his best friend, Julia, who happens to be dating his other best friend… and school is less than desirable or challenging. Quentin is obsessed with a book he read in his youth, much like my obsession with Harry Potter, which is what led me to read this book. It was suggested as filler read after the crushing emptiness that existed after the HP series was gone. Unfortunately, Quentin didn’t have that with his series, which takes place in Fillory, a land with many similarities to Narnia.
I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that Quentin manages to escape his drab life to attend Brakebills, a magic university. While there, he meets a bunch of other messed up, depressed people, like Alice and Penny. They learn some magic, which is nowhere near as easy as you think it might be. Brakebills is a very interesting place, and the students are broken up into disciplines of magic to study. I’m not really going to go into a big summary, because it’s so long that I don’t want to give anything away, also I don’t think a short summary can really do it justice.
This book is soooo long… Once you think the story is over, there is almost another (short) book’s worth of stuff that happens. It is bitter and disappointed and angry. That is part of why I wasn’t sure I wanted to review it… I really enjoyed this novel, including the bitter parts. At some points, it was hard to get through, but I think that was due to every characters’ evident flaws and issues. Again, that’s one reason I liked The Magicians so much… it was real and raw and got straight to the point of things.
I would hesitantly recommend this book. It was quite good, but isn’t for fans of lighthearted fantasy. If you like your fantasy a bit darker, and a bit more complex, then you should most definitely read The Magicians. I hope to read its sequel, The Magician King, sometime this year, so maybe you can look forward to that review in the distant future.