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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

A young man finds himself at a school hidden from all those who are not intended to see it.  The school is a place to learn about subjects he thought was only imagination.  Once he was accepted in this school, this young man embraced the truth about his magic ability. Then he and his new found friends find themselves in the middle of a mystery and an adventure.  Nope, this isn't Harry and company, this is the premise for the book The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

While in the broad scope the two books have similarities, there are significant differences in the details.  First of all, there is way more drinking and sex in this book. The setting is a college in modern day upper New York.  The main character, Quinton Coldwater, is a seventeen year old high school student who gets an accelerated acceptance into Brakebill's University.  I find it amazing that even though we are with Quinton at the beginning of his magical career, he never seems to have a sense of wonder at his discovering magic is real.  We do see his transition to a more experienced  and how his new found talents change him.  His friends, Penny, Elliot, Janet and Alice go through many of the same changes on their road to magical knowledge.  Here's where I feel like a broken record: even though these characters have a progression of sorts throughout the story, I cannot honestly say I like most of them. Most of them seem to evolve rather than actually grow.  I'd rather see a clever "bad guy" become an even cleverer "bad guy" rather than just be come a slightly different "bad guy".

The story starts off well.  We learn much about the school and some the characters through exposition.  The part I have difficulties with is how long it takes to get payoff for some things established early on.  There is also a bit of a pacing problem.  Space between really exciting events often seem to drag and add little to the story itself. It also seemed to me to be enough story for two books with the right changes.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman is an adult version of Harry Potter only without the grand sense of discovery. Due to the level of violence and sexual content, I have to put this deep in the PG13 rating bordering on R.

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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