The Magicians by Lev Grossman
I am really glad that I found this book. I stumbled on it in Books-A Million the other day and I got sick right after so it kept me company while I recovered. I really enjoyed the book, even though Lev Grossman did something that made me really sad: he brought magic into the world of reality. All through The Magicians all I could think was, “This is how it would be if magic really existed.” It wouldn’t really be magical, just mundane. And the people who wield the magic, not really heroes, just normal, screwed up people.
Our hero, Quentin, is a lonely 17 year-old boy, whose parents ignore him. He feels like nothing more than his best friend’s sidekick and is hopelessly in love with that same friends girl. But then, he is accepted to Brakebills, a college of magic! He believes that everything is going to change, that all his dreams are going to come true, that he will finally be happy. Well, not necessarily!
The Magicians is definitely a more grown-up fantasy book, what with the cursing, sex, drugs and drinking that you won’t find in books like Harry Potter or Narnia, both of which have obviously influenced this story. The characters are hopelessly flawed, but likable just the same. You want to see them get their act together, and live up to their potential. Unlike Hogwarts, Brakebills doesn’t really prepare it’s students for life after school. Quentin and his friends just wander aimlessly through life. They have all this power and money, but no purpose, so they spend all their time high and drunk.
Finally, they are drawn into a mystery that takes them to another world; the world of Fillory, that Quentin has been obsessed with since childhood. Now, Quentin thinks he will finally find happiness! His old life couldn’t give it to him. Brakebills couldn’t. Even his girlfriend Alice couldn’t. But surely, Fillory will!
What Quentin really wants is an escape from reality. And what Lev Grossman wants us to see is that you can’t escape it. Reality will always be there waiting for you, and eventually you will have to face it. It reminds me of this quote by Ayn Rand, “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” Quentin finds that out the hard way.
I highly recommend this book, even it you don’t like fantasy, but especially if you do. This book is a healthy reminder for all us fantasy lovers, that the fantasy could never live up to our expectations. Doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming, just realize that reality isn’t as bad as we want to make it out to be.
Check it out at Amazon!