Fantasy · Review

The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman: Is It Worth It?

**UPDATE**

As I am reading this trilogy I will update my thoughts on each book here, so be sure to keep on the lookout!

Here’s a short synopsis:

“Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren’t black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.”

The Magicians, Book One: I have to say that with this book, I was at constant war with myself over if I was actually enjoying it or just being dragged along. Our main protagonist, Quentin, is a bit of a depressive whiner. He goes on and on about how nothing ever measures up to being good enough, how unhappy he is with his life, etc. Myself, I’m a sees-the-glass-half-full-type and just could not connect with him, at all. Yes, he is a teenager but he’s 18, not a brooding 15 year old. In fact, all of the characters participated in this self-destructive and mopey manner, never fully growing out of it. Time to man up there, son.

Lev Grossman is a super writer and it is pretty obvious why he’s a book critic for TIME Magazine. He certainly has a way with words which may be one of the main reasons that I was able to push myself through to finish this book. He was able to fully create a completely new world that soars above the crowded fantasy genre. I was truly engaged in Brakebills and Fillory, feeling the same need as Quentin to just lock myself away there. But come on, Lev, couldn’t you have done a bit more with Q?

The Magicians, Page 216

If only they had listened to Fogg…

The story did tend to weave in and out of exciting and boring at a steady pace throughout the book. The lulls seemed to be there to induce us into a pessimistic outlook, much like our friend Quentin had. Perhaps, as most critics and reviewers pointed out, my trouble was that I was constantly seeing the comparisons between Harry Potter and Narnia. It was a jumbled, adult mixture of the two stories.

If this was a satire on the fantasy genre in general, as has been speculated, then Grossman definitely succeed at what he set out to do. He gave us a drunken, sometimes misogynistic, self-deprecating Potter, and let him loose upon the literary world.

Final Verdict: 3/5 stars – Will finish the trilogy to see if our characters ever actually grow up. Fingers crossed.

The Magician King, Book Two: Honestly, this book made for quite engaging read when compared to the first story. It takes a while to really get to the exciting parts, but it does have a much better flow than the previous one.

There was more depth to the characters in this book, especially with Julia. She was hands down my favorite character (though Poppy is great, too!). I loved how we got her back story as well, alternating between that and the present. It really helped flesh out her character which I think was a problem when it came to Quentin, though I have developed a bit of a theory on that one. Everyone talks about the misogynistic tones that seem to be found in this trilogy, myself included. However, after reading this one and comparing it to the first book, I think Grossman is actually arguing the opposite. The male characters only perceive the women as fun sidekicks to help pass the time with (if you know what I mean), but in the end, the women end up being the actual heroes and I think that is what Grossman wants us to realize. Yay for heroines!!

Final Verdict: 4/5 stars – I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the one ends!

%22Wishes are for children,%22 Jane CHaTwIN said. %22I grew up.%22-2

The Magician’s Land, Book Three: Alright guys, I take back everything I said – this book was GREAT! Seriously, if you can make it through the first two then you are in for a treat.

You know how I have been complaining nonstop about how everyone is depressive and selfish and whiney? Well that’s the thing about book series I guess, characters actually get to develop. However, you have to wait to wait for Quentin to do it until book three. He finally loses that nobody-really-loves-or-understands-me emo nonsense and actually develops into a character that you can enjoy. I loved Q in this book. Adulthood looks good on him. I appreciated Janet’s POV in this book too. You got to see a different side to her which made me like her just a tiny bit more (though she will never be my favorite).

The plot was much more fast paced in this book than the previous two, as well. It starts out strong and never really slows down any, which I definitely appreciated. I enjoyed how all of the moving parts finally came together, with all of the characters and storylines seamlessly blended. THAT FINALE! Loved it. As the final book in this trilogy, it was definitely a winner for me. All good series should just keep getting better with each book and I am so glad that was the case here.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone if you’re looking for something a little different and/or love you some urban fantasy. If the first book doesn’t excite you, don’t worry and try to stick it out because the third book will (hopefully)!

Final Verdict: 5/5 – YAY!!!

7 thoughts on “The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman: Is It Worth It?

  1. I was wondering about these books. I read some reviews right before the show came out, making the comparisons to Harry Potter and Narnia and thought I should pass. But if you recommend them, then I have to check them out. Did you see the TV show? I watched the first two episodes, but Quentin was such a depressing character and so moody, I couldn’t hang.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s a lot like that… Haha if you couldn’t handle the first couple of episodes because of depressing Quentin, then you’ll hate the first book. They’re all such awfully selfish and depressed teens in the beginning. Luckily they grow out of it by the 3rd book.

      Like

      1. I think part of the issue with the show was that I felt like I was watching a college version of Harry Potter without the allure of HP and the cool wizarding world. It just seemed too much like the other series. Three books is a long time to hang if he’s that moody. Once I’m fully out of my slump maybe I’ll re-visit the show and books. Nice review!

        Liked by 1 person

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