The Magicians: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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.
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|Listening Length||17 hours and 24 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 11, 2009|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #3,090 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#39 in Contemporary Fantasy
#47 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#105 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2018
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Top reviews from the United States
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If you don't read much and you're into the angst and self-indulgence of the most obnoxious of teenage pity, this might just be the book for you!
There was a lot packed into this book - to me it could easily have been broken up and expanded into at least two books, if not a full trilogy itself. We start with meeting our protagonist, Quentin Coldwater, an extremely smart high school student in New York. He's not rich and he doesn't have the girl he wants and he's not happy. Unfortunately, the last part of that sentence - he's not happy - will practically be the theme of the book. No matter what twists and turns come up, no matter what Quentin accomplishes, who he is with, how he seeks happiness - he never quite seems to grasp it.
There is a magic school for the gifted - it's not Hogwarts. This magic school is called Brakebills and it's hidden away in upstate New York. There's a game only played at the magic schools (only a few in the world) - called welters (it's not quidditch). I will give the author credit - the comparisons are pretty unavoidable, so the author embraced that by giving a few sideways winks to Harry Potter in the text. The first chunk of the book really revolves around the magic school and training to be a magician.
The second part of the book sees Quentin and his friends traveling through portal and the place they end up seems to be a fictional world called Fillory that Quentin and his friends all read about and loved as kids (somewhat Narnia-esque). Getting to and from Fillory, and finding why they are in Fillory does not go so smoothly.
Quentin is a very realistically drawn character. He's unfulfilled, he's angsty, he's never happy with what he has, he's not particularly heroic or physically gifted. He's smart but not the smartest person out there, not even within his circle of (also mentally gifted) friends. There's addiction issues among Quentin and his friends, not to mention a lot of emotional abuse and sexual promiscuity that ends up causing emotional issues. Although Quentin is an eminently believable character, he's not someone that leaves you feeling inspired or with a warm and fuzzy feeling. He's so wrapped up in his own unhappiness it makes it hard to connect with him.
Quinton, the story's main character is miserable in Brooklyn and in high school. Parents are parents. He goes for an interview for an ivy league college, finds the interviewer dead, is given a note by an EMT at the scene. He reads the note, wind blows it down an alley, he chases it and finds himself in a cloaked part of the city and Brakebills. He under goes a magic entrance exam which he passes and without graduating from high school finds himself studying college. He is so happy. Of course, it's not all rainbows and unicorns there are some dark happenings at Brakebills, secrets and lies. Sex, drugs and drinking just like college.
His journey from beginner to graduate and the students he hooks up with and the learning of magic is very compelling.
This is a good read if you've seen the TV series or not. Helped explain some things to me about the show. It's always nice to have a book.
Top reviews from other countries
Basically, everything my fellow 1 * reviewers said is accurate. For some odd reason that I can't explain, I read all of this and I'd resolved some time ago to go with my gut when I suspect I'm reading dross and stop before wasting any more of my time. The only explanation I can come up with is that the pace does kind of sweep the reader along - the only problem is, it doesn't really sweep you to anywhere. It was like reading a Narnia-set novel for young adults complete with all the unpleasant arrogance, angst and awkward sex, but missing any real action, empathetic characters or dynamic and interesting storyline - a real conundrum, but seriously - leave it - it's dross.
The premise is straightforward but intriguing: a mash-up of Harry Potter (wizard school) and Narnia (portals to other worlds) but with modern, American, adult protagonists. On the whole, it delivers quite well on this, with a nice blend of magic and realism. It definitely kept me engaged.
For me, the main problem was the plotting and pacing. The two homages took up about half the book each and had little to do with each other, which made it feel a bit disjointed and made it harder to suspend disbelief. And then certain plots points seemed to be rushed over – most strikingly, four years of magic school in half a book – while others were lingered on. And for a book with so much going on, there was a surprising lack of plot, though I did enjoy the way that several elements were ultimately wrapped up and brought together.
Overall, I would recommend this, and I plan to read the sequel in due course, but I’m not rushing to pick it up.
Quentin is not a happy man. Nothing in his life makes him happy, even the thing he has wanted since he was a child. When he gets a chance to change everything, he jumps at it. Leave his old life behind and start a brand new adventure with new friends and adversaries.
Will being a Magician make him happy?