Rereading the Magicians



I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians when it came out in hardback a few years ago. I enjoyed it and discussed it with my critique group. Unfortunately, when the next book came out, The Magician King, I didn't remember anything about the first one. So I set to reading The Magicians a second time so I could jump into the sequel fresh.

Rereading books is something I do often, but I'll save that topic for another post. Regarding The Magicians, I had a vague memory of what actually happened in the book. I mean, I knew it was about a guy who found a hidden college for magicians, and his trip to a magical realm with some of his classmates, but aside from that, I couldn't remember much of the details. So reading it a second time was really refreshing.

It's a great read: literary, imaginative, dark and depressing at points. I looked at some of the reviews on Amazon and quite a few people had a problem with it. Maybe these were readers who were more familiar with plot-driven stories and less so with literary novels. I think it blended the two styles effortlessly. I don't think I've read anything quite like it before. I think it fits on the same shelf as a few of my other favorite books: The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I love this kind of adult literary fantasy. I'll even suggest Donna Tartt's The Secret History on this list, although it is not fantasy, but I believe it has the same themes and ideals as most fantasy novels.

As I finished it last night, I used The Google Machine and searched for Brakebills, the invisible school of magic that our protagonist, Quintin Coldwater attends. There's a website (or at least a landing page) for the imaginary school that is quite funny. I particularly liked this note under ADMISSIONS:

Do not bother applying to Brakebills. If there is even a remote chance that you are qualified, you will receive an invitation to take the entrance examination.

I also found a place where you can buy Brakebills College t-shirts. I just have to get one of these.


Anyway, I'm looking forward to The Magician King. Has anyone else read The Magicians?


Breaking News: Just found a link to an article that gives more information on the idea of blurring reality and fantasy, re: the Brakebills College shirt

2 comments:

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

I have not read the Magicians. I may have to rectify the situation as it sounds rather interesting.

Ron Smith said...

It's fantastic. I think you'd like it if you enjoy literate, sophisticated fantasy fiction.

Thanks for stopping by!