Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Lev’s Grossman’s The Magicians was a birthday gift from a friend, and a very pleasant one at that. This may come across as a little inflammatory, but imagine if someone had written Harry Potter/Narnia fan fiction. Voilà! You have The Magicians! I do Grossman a bit of disservice here, he is clearly a very gifted writer and I enjoyed The Magicians a lot more than I did the Harry Potter or Narnia novels, but the influences are inescapable.

None of the characters, the protagonist included, are particularly likeable, but that doesn’t mean that following their journeys, real and metaphorical, isn’t enjoyable. We follow the main character, Quentin, from his arrival at Brakebills, a university of magic (not Hogwarts) in the first half of the book and learn about his new world and the people therein. Small encounters, seemingly throwaway moments, are later found to be relevant to the ongoing story, adding to the overall cohesiveness of the book, and the not-Narnia of Fillory is a recurring element that becomes increasingly relevant in the second half of the book.

Mostly The Magicians acts as a standalone book, perhaps even one that could easily been expanded out to cover more details skimmed over. But by the last pages it is clear that this is meant to be part of a longer series. I’ve already added its sequel, The Magician King, to my wishlist…