Warning: This is going to be a VERY long post, because I am including all three books instead of giving them separate posts…because does anyone REALLY want three different posts about basically the same thing? I think not!
Ooookay so…a year or so ago, SyFy came out with a new series called The Magicians. I was expecting it to be about…ya know…party performers. Card tricks and bunnies in hats and so on. I was very confused about SyFy’s interest in something so puerile, and I Refused to watch. (Refused with a big ole capital R) I grew even MORE confused as an increasing number of friends insisted I watch. But THEN, my cousin Keith, who has suggested the largest number of my (now) favorite shows, told me I should watch. So I began watching and I thoroughly enjoyed it. About halfway through he tells me “Oh hey, you should read the books.” HOW DARE YOU TELL ME TO WATCH THE SHOW WITHOUT TELLING ME IT WAS BASED ON A SERIES OF BOOKS! Annnnd then I started reading the books and Keith was like “yeaaaah see they’re really not all that similar.” The basic concept is the same-ish but it’s not like the TV series ruined the plot of the books in any way.
SO MOVING ON…I finished the first about a week-ish ago and I fell in love. I wasn’t expecting it at all because, though the show entertained and surprised me, I still had a bit of a “ugh…magicians? Really? I’m not 5,” kind of mentality. It’s so much more than that though. “Magician” isn’t really the word I would use to describe the characters. Sorcerer feels more accurate to me. Witch even works. In fact, some of the “magicians” are referred to as “hedge witches,” but you’ll have to read the books to learn why. The setting is pretty awesome and the storyline kept me engaged, which has become harder and harder lately. (Yay for poor attention spans!) My only real complaint is that I don’t really LOVE any of the characters. I like one or two of them, but the majority are pretty insufferable. I know that doesn’t really inspire confidence in the stories, but I think their kind of awful personalities serve the book well. (I prefer the TV characters by FAR and that’s just VERY unusual…but shhhh don’t tell anyone.)
I expected this book to be a lot of things, and it was none of those things. I expected fluff and got darkness. Oh…and if you’re sensitive to obscenities, drinking, drugs, and sex…maaaaaybe don’t start this series. JUST to be safe.
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
The Magician King
I think I probably should have written this review sooner, because already things are growing foggy the further I get into the third Magicians book. WHOOPS! But I’m enjoying the trilogy so much that I started the third immediately after putting down the second and sort of forgot about this whole business of reviewing things. Oh well. HERE WE GO!
I think I liked this book even more than the first. We get to see more of Fillory. We get to see Julia’s weird and pretty tragic background. We meet some interesting characters and go to some fun places. There’s more adventure, per Quentin’s request. It’s just a fun jaunt. I did take SOME issue with the flashbacks, because I like things to be linear (OCD is fun y’all) BUT I think it suited the story to bounce back and forth. Of course, I did find myself speed reading/glancing over bits and pieces because I just REALLY wanted to know what happened to Julia to make her … well … HER. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know what was happening in the “present” bit of the story because I was in such a hurry to figure out what happened in the “past” bit of the story. And I wasn’t disappointed upon finishing her backstory.
I think I have texted my poor cousin more about these damn books than I have about almost anything else. Okay, that’s not true. I’m also entirely too invested in his love life, but that’s neither here nor there! But seriously you guys, I’m more and more interested in these books as I progress. They are definitely books I would recommend (and HAVE recommended), though again, if you don’t like to see profanity or sex…maybe steer clear of these babies. Not that it’s overly graphic, but I know some people’s sensibilities are a BIT more delicate than mine. So….yeah…just keep that in mind. BUT definitely read these books. DO IT!
The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.
Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy.
The Magician’s Land
So the final installment of Grossman’s trilogy kicked off pretty fast and pretty wild. I feel like the other two were more of a slow burn kind of story…but now that I’ve written that, I know that’s not the case, because the second book was full of the back and forth with the “present” and “past” and while it wasn’t ALL ACTION ALL THE TIME (you have to read that in a movie announcer’s voice), it wasn’t slow going either. OR MAYBE I’VE ALREADY FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. It’s possible. My memory is no bueno. ANYWAY. I mean, the story itself wasn’t fast paced in the beginning, but it started basically in the middle of the story Grossman wanted to tell and THEN went back to the beginning….and did the same basic past-present-past (etc) pattern that we saw in The Magician King.
There’s more mystery/intrigue/scandal. Quentin seems to be STEEPED in scandal in all of the books. There’s always SOMETHING going on with him. I think Quentin must be a magnet for all things strange. But I guess the books would be super boring if it was all “Oh hey…Quentin is a genius and he got accepted into Harvard or wherever and now he’s learning things and eventually he’s going to be an investment banker or a mad scientist or whatever it is that happens to geniuses.” Like…that’s not a book I’d read. Honestly, that’s basically what a book I wrote would sound like. This is why I stick to the reviews, guys. (Although, let’s be real…I’m not exactly killing these reviews either. LOTS of rabbit chasing going on here.) Uh so my point…I FEEL like there was a lot more scandal. Maybe because Quentin seems like more of an adult (even though he’s technically been an adult for a while). Maybe I don’t actually know what I’m talking about because I’ve managed to let all three of the books sort of run together and it’s becoming harder and harder to separate the storylines.
ANYWAY…this was by far my favorite of the trilogy…I guess because I was so anxious to see how Grossman wrapped up the story. It was nice to finally get to the end and see how he worked it all out. It didn’t really go the way I thought it would, so I think that means I can give it an A+.
I guess it all just boils down to my recommendation though. This book is another you really should read. Like…really. All three of the books are definitely worth your time. Unless you’re not a fan of magic…in which case, why are you even considering a trilogy called The Magicians? Get outta here!
Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory–but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.