As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes 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 for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
The Magicians is the coming-of-age story of Quentin Coldwater, a self-described nerd who, as a high school senior, is still obsessed with the magical world described in his favorite childhood books. Quentin unexpectedly finds himself at a mysterious college where he discovers that magic is real and there is more to the world than meets the eye.
The Magicians, published in 2009, was followed in 2011 by The Magician King, which continues Quentin’s story and is another good read. A third book is underway, according to Grossman’s blog.
Since its release, I’ve been recommending The Magicians to anyone who will listen, describing it as “Harry Potter for grown-ups.” Really, though, it’s more complex than that. The story is appealing on many different levels, whether you are hooked by the fascinating plotline, the multi-dimensional characters, or the imaginative settings. There are obvious parallels to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories and hints of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, L. Frank Baum’s Oz and even Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, but I found Grossman’s voice to stand apart as smart and very funny. While the influence of those earlier authors was clearly apparent, I often felt that Grossman was not giving a nod to those authors so much as he was giving the reader a cheeky (and sometimes snarky) wink. I highly recommend The Magicians, even if you don’t usually read in the fantasy genre.
-- by Malia B.